Tiling tool

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Revision as of 17:23, 3 February 2012 by Valerievk (talk | contribs) (Proposal for on-canvas symmetry and tiles interface and tool)
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Symmetry and Tile tool

The current tile interface is hard to use. The current proposal for Symmetry and Tiles tool seeks to expand upon its uses while proposing an interface that is easy to use. This proposal proposes 4 modes or sub-tools:

Tool Description
Symmetry This tool is destined for users who just want some basic symmetries. Use cases include pattern design and technical drawing.
Tiling This tool allows users to use the 17 wallpaper types.
Radial clones This is for radial designs, and uses polar coordinates.
Clone along path Clones are created along a path. This can be used to create a string of decorations, for repeating frill designs etc.

General behaviour

Applying any Symmetry or Tile results in the following behaviour:

  • If the object isn't a group, a group is made out of the selected object. This allows the user to enter the group and add extra elements.
  • A corresponding guide is generated. This guide can be edited with the Tile and Symmetry tool. All guides can be resized or rotated, but further transformations depend on the guide type.
  • Copies are generated from the original object.
  • The original and its copies can be selected and grouped, and a new transformation can be applied to the group. This allows, for example, for a user to create a symmetrical pattern then use it as a tile.

Common options


Mode specifies the ties of the duplicates to the original. The first three correspond more or less to the same three modes as the Spray tool:

  • Copy selection
  • Clone selection
  • Combine all
  • Fuse paths

The last option takes all open nodes located on the guide and combine it with the corresponding node of the clone. As a result, if the symmetry is removed, two combined lines will appear as a single line. This option is intended for technical drawing and lineart patterns.

Symmetry or tiling type

The table's caption
Tool Available options Guides Notes
  • X Symmetry
  • Y Symmetry
  • Point Symmetry

All three can be chosen at the same time.

Inkscape internally keeps track of an X-axis and a Y-axis, using their intersection for point symmetry. The X/Y axis group can be rotated. * If only the object is selected when symmetries are added, Inkscape generates an X and Y axis, aligned by default to the bottom-right of the object's bounding box.
  • If both the object and an axis is selected, Inkscape internally generates the second axis passing through the bottom-right corner of the object's bounding box, and 90% to the selected axis.
  • If the object and a random node is selected, Inkscape generates the X and Y axis to run through this node.
Tiling All 17 tiling options are available. Inkscape generates a guide specific to the transformation type upon application of the tiling. This guide remains editable on-canvas with the Symmetry and Tiling tool. Because the 17 tiling options use different guide shapes, tiling does not give an option to select existing guides on-canvas.
Radial Clones
  • Simple symmetry
  • Symmetry + rotate
Inkscape generates an angle guide that by defaut is centered on the object's center of rotation. The user can control both the center and the angle of the guide. Two default orientations are available. All advanced transformations are according to polar coordinates.
Clones Along Path
  • Fixed distance
  • Clone at each node along the path
A path must be selected when "Clones Along Path" is applied By default, the point at which the clones snap to the selected path is its rotation center.

For guides: See also Transformation anchor.

However, although the guide gets aligned after a command, it can still be freely moved.

Guide lock

  • Guide locked to object: the guide moves and scales with the object. For example, if a vase is made by applying a symmetry to half a vase, moving the original will also move the other half, so the whole vase is moved. In the same way, scaling a tile scales its guide. If an on-canvas axis or node was chosen to apply a transformation, a copy of the resulting two axis are created and move with the object.
  • Unlocked guide: the guide is absolute, so if the original gets moved, the copy will also be repositioned.