I'm not sure I get what you're saying. Did you import an Illustrator file? If so, you can add a gradient and adjust the opacity in Illustrator.
Did you copy and paste a path from Illustrator to a solid in AE? If so, you can adjust the opacity of the solid and you can apply a gradient using Effect>Generate>Ramp.
You can also copy a path in Illustrator and paste it into a Photoshop document, then apply effects, strokes, and all kinds of things there.
Hope this helps.
Thank you very, very much, Rick. I actually tried copying and pasting a illustrator shape to a Solid in AE and also tried importing. I tried Ramp and it seemed to work pretty well though I need to play with it for a while. Boy those names sure aren't that descriptive in my opinion as I never even thought to try Ramp. You also gave me a few other ideas to try like creating the gradient in either Illustrator or Photoshop itself and then importing and I'll try that too.
It sounds like you're a real novice in Illustrator. I'd create the entire artwork in Illustrator and import the .ai file as a composition. Put each element on a separate layer.
Take your shape and full with a gradient. Check the Appearance and adjust the opacity. Duplicate the shape and stroke the top copy and remove the gradient. Adjust the opacity of the stroke (if you want one) using Appearance.
If you don't know how to do any of this go a Google search for Editing Illustrator Gradients. You might want to take a look at this Basic Intro to Illustrator Gradients from Layers Magazine.
I've used Illustrator for quite a while both at home and at work but I really havn't had to do anything that complex yet. Same goes for Photoshop. I bought DVD tutorials for most of the productivity software I use and when you gave your first explanation, I watched the DVD tutorial on Importing into AE so I know what you're referring to when you say to import as composition. So far, I've only tried to import into AE by copying and pasting. I think that's why I just got the path and not the background. I'll try importing a composition shortly and see if I get the fill too. I actually found a tutorial on making the type of shape I need to in Photoshop so maybe I'll try that instead of Illustrator and then import that into AE.
Btw - It may not actually be a gradient fill I need to use but instead a solid fill with the top half lighter and buttom half darker.
In case you're interested, here's actually what I'm trying to create for a video project. I could actually buy the animation for $8 but I figured that this can't be that difficult and I need to learn this stuff anyway ... http://videohive.net/item/lower-third-15-different-colour-schemes/145337?WT.ac=category_th umb&WT.seg_1=category_thumb&WT.z_author=berol