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Repeating Patterns Made Easy in Inkscape

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In this quick tip, we're going to go over a tool called Create Tiled Clones. It's a very useful menu with tons of options for creating large amounts of identical, yet dynamic objects, such as patterns. It can be used for so many things, but let's just dive right in!

1. Create Tiled Clones

Step 1

So where is this beautiful tool? Head up to Edit > Clone > Create Tiled Clones to open it up. You'll get something like this:

Step 2

The most simple use of this is to simply select an object, assign values for Rows and Columns, then click Create. Below, I did 4 Rows and 2 Columns.

Step 3

Alternatively, you could go ahead and specify a width and height. Below, since my object is 100px by 100px, I set my values to 100px by 700px to create a rectangle of clones 200px wide and 800px tall (because it accounts for the original object's 100px).

2. Playing With Basic Settings

Step 1

Make sure you have your Symmetry set to P1: simple translation for these. Then, go to the Shift tab. This is a neat and simple way to adjust positioning with your clones. Below, I have a -50% Shift Y set on the per row so that each row of newly cloned objects covers 50% of the previous. Of course, this behaves the same for Shift X. Simple enough, right?

Step 2

Below, I have some Scaling action. I've created clones with 3 rows, 4 columns, and a Scale X and Scale Y of -20% on the rows only. Wow, that's a mouthful. Have a look below to see the results.


Step 3

Here's what you'll get when you go to the Blur & opacity tab and apply a 10% Fade out on rows and columns.

3. Neat Design Ideas

Step 1

A simple yet effective use of creating tiled clones is to do simply just that. Select any repeating pattern, and create tiled clones without any fancy effects. To avoid any sort of pixel perfect issues, make sure your position and sizes contain no decimals.

In the below example I've used the end result to my Aztec pattern in Inkscape tutorial.

Step 2

And then you're all set to create as large of an area as you need! This is great for wallpapers, by the way.

Step 3

Here's an awesome use of Create Tiled Clones. First, draw an ellipse and set to Fill to undefined.

Step 4

Now listen closely, because here comes a bunch of settings. Select your ellipse and set these options in Create Tiled Clones:

Shift Tab

  • Shift X: Randomize 40%
  • Shift Y: Per row -40%

Scale Tab

  • Scale X: Per row 5%
  • Scale Y: Per row 5%

Blur & Opacity Tab

  • Blur: Per row 5%

Color Tab

  • Initial color: R: 255, G: 141, B: 0.
  • S: Per row -5%

Finally, go ahead and set Rows to 20 and Columns to 1, then click that Create button! You see we ended up with a neat flame to smoke effect.

Step 5

Then, just grab a spare rocket ship thrust nozzle vector and slap it on! Pretty cool, huh?

That's It!

Create Tiled Clones is such a great tool to work with. I've played with it for hours on end, just coming up with neat design ideas. As you can see, there's infinite possibilities. So keep Inkscape open and see what you can come up with!

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