What does it do ? It is a tool from Astute Graphics (check out their site for the demo set) and it randomizes things such as colors and opacity and distance and rotation and live effects etc and most of the panels work in the same way so if you are familiar with the approach on one then the same works in all of the other panels that are reached via the top drop down. You can use a range or a list, the range gives a great selection of colors, opacity but if you want the tool to limit to a narrow set of colors or weights then use the list.
The key button is at the bottom, click it repeatedly to change things (or not)
In some of the options such as live effects, you need to set up the live effect before you work with the tool so if you are using drop shadow then you need to set that up. Likewise if you are wanting to manipulate the stroke and there is no stroke then it will be ignored.
You can set up a range via a slider (in some) or by editing the minimum and maximum to use so in the case of color you can set hue and saturation and brightness and the sliders vary but you can make the range darker or lighter or have it spread across all brightnesses or have the reds used or the greens used etc or have it desaturated etc. You can also set up a step so it will only use 5, 10, 15 etc. You can also set up different distributions so all the colors will be more at the center or all the colors will be more toward the red or the minimum if you have changed that position. With colors you get a preview of some of the colors being used but the others have no previews. Some of the function such as live effects also offers multiple options such as drop shadow but then breaks down even further with position, blur etc so you have a lot of functionality with the live effect feature.
All of the same can be used with the list such as live effects etc but list means you can limit it to the items in the list box so if you set 5pt, 10pt etc for the stroke width then they are the only ones that will be used when you click the button, all the others are ignored. Same with colors, only works with the colors in the list and you can add colors etc by clicking the + button and changing the colors next to it. You can also add from the current selected colors. There is also a swatch open but that occasionally does something, other times not. You can also remove items from the list as well.
Super useful as the list functionality and duplicates means that you can sway (like the distribution feature in the range) the distribution to the more repeated item and less to the single ones so in opacity you can sway it to 50% by using 50% 5 or 6 times and 100% only once.
Also allows for it to work on different types of objects such as gradients etc
Color, live effects (shadow etc), move distance / angle, move x and y, opacity, rotation, scaling, stacking order and stroke weight. As they are all different, there are additional entries relating to distance such as vertical and horizontal that you won't see in the stroke weight. All of the step / list / range etc is very similar throughout
There is also an interactive tool and you can change the scaling, distance, color etc even if it has an odd icon. Still work checking out but it doesn't work with live type
Type (live) as well as shapes and a whole lot more and also works well with other features of the application so it is a truly powerful live feature that can be used for amazing rotation / scaling / color artwork. Check it out their website
If you want it to be live then you have to select the characters you want to manipulate, one word or letter or all of it and then you will be able to use the tool with it. Otherwise, you can also just break it up via the expand command and ungroup and use it as normal curves / paths. You can use it as one complete word or paragraph but some features will just be applied to the entire things such as the rotation and scale.
If you want to create gradients with a range of different colors then this tool makes it super easy. Go to the gradient panel and then click along the bottom bar to add multiple stops, say 10 or 20 stops and it will be filled with white and black etc (if using a default) but go to the panel and click on the button and the colors will be changed to reds, greens, blues etc all based on the slider minimum and maximum settings and for the hue / saturation and brightness. You can then go to the swatches panel and create a new swatch based on the colors.
Create a rectangle, say 30pt and fill with a basic gradient such as green / yellow / red / blue gradient and then go to the effects menu and distort and transform and transform with a move of 30 and also set the copies to 20 or 30 etc and also use the flip vertical. Click OK. Once you have your lovely gradient design, go to the object menu and expand appearance and then object menu and ungroup and then apply the color effect to the artwork perhaps with the full range of hue / saturation etc but you can always limit it to the reds or greens only or keep it black and white etc. You can also select the rectangles individually and then goto the swatches panel and right side menu and click new swatch