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Cloning and Tile Clones
Ryan Lerch, ryanlerch at gmail dot com
Clones provide a way dupicating an object, yet keeping the object's style and shape linked so that any changes to the original are reflected in all the clones.
For example, take the following two stars: the one on the left is the original, the one on the right is the clone. Try selecting the original, and changing the amount of corners on the star or the fill color.
Now both the original and the clone would have changed instantly when you altered the original. Here is the result of adding 5 more corners and changing the fill color to the original:
If attempts are made to change the clone, it will not work, as the clone is still linked to the original.
Creating a Clone
Creating a new clone is easy. Simply select the object that you wish to clone, and choose Edit > Clone > Create Clone (or Alt + D). A new clone will appear above the original in the same position.
If it is required to sever the link between a clone and an original, the clone can be Unlinked. Simply, select the clone and choose Edit > Clone > Unlink Clone (or Alt + Shift + D) The is now just a normal object with no link to the original.
Tips for working with clones
When using clones, it can get a little confusing knowing which clones are linked to which original object, or knowing if an object is a clone or not. The first piece of advice for working with clones is that the Messages section of the Statusbar is your best friend. If you choose an object that is a clone, the message section will read something like:
Clone of: Star in Layer 1...
If you want to find the original that this clone is linked to, go to Edit > Clone > Select Original (or Shift + D). The original will be automatically selected.
Changing the Fill and Stroke of a Clone
It is possible to change the fill and stroke of a clone, so that it differs from the original. This is done by setting the fill or the stroke of the original to "undefined". Setting the fill or stroke to undefined is done in the Fill/Stroke dialog box. The undefined fill/stroke type choice is highlighted below:
If the fill/stroke of an original is set to anything other than undefined, then any clones of that object cannot have their fills/strokes altered.
See an example of this below, where the original is the text at the top, and the clones are the colored text and the shadow. Try changing the contents of the text in the original to see the changes of the clones below it:
Tile Clones Basics
Tile clones provide a way of generating multiple clones in a single operation. Basic operation of the tile clones feature is acheieved by selecting the object(s) that you wish to tile clone, and going to Edit > Clone > Create Tile Clones. This will present you with a dialog box, with a multitude of different options that all effect what the result of the tile clones operation will be.
The simplest example of using the tile cloner is to generate a checkerboard pattern. In this example, a 4X4 checkerboard pattern will be generated.
Draw a square, select it and open the tile clone dialog. In this example, we will only use the "Symmetry" tab. Make sure the symmetry type is "P1 - Simple Symmetry" Next, set the rows and columns values to 4. Now, generate your tiled clones by pressing the "Create" button. The result should be like this (the original has been moved to the side, and the colors of the clones have been changed so you can see the result clearer):