Create Tiled Clones
This is the second in a series of articles covering Inkscape’s Create Tiled Clones window. It’s a mighty window with a ton of options built into it. Last time, we learned how to step and repeat objects with the Shift tab. We also briefly covered what clones are in Inkscape. Today we’ll focus on the Scale tab.
An Overview of the Scale Tab
Let’s go over what’s inside the Scale tab:
- Scale X and Scale Y: There are actually six number fields that are under these two options, but we’ll focus on the ones under the Per row and Per columns headers. These number fields manipulate the scale of your clones by percentage. (We’ll go further into these in a little while.) The number fields under the Randomize header literally scales your clones randomly by a specific percentage.
- Rows, columns: These two text fields allow us to create how many clones per row and/or per column. I personally prefer using this set of options due to the direct control you can have over the number of clones you can generate. (You can also use the Width, height option for duplicating your clones, but this option is base on the literal width and height of the area you plan to give your clones.)
- Alternate: I mistakenly believed this didn’t actually do anything. But either check box alternates back and forth the transformation of your clones per row or per column.
- Cumulate: These check boxes cumulate the transformation per row or column. When the Cumulate box is checked you’ll see visually extreme transformations that sometimes end up piling on top of each other.
- Create: Click this button to create your new set of clones. If you still have your original object selected, you can still make tweaks to your Scale settings, and click the Create button to apply them.
- Remove: The Remove basically removes or deletes the clones you’ve generated.
- Reset: I didn’t circle this button, but it does serve some purpose. The Reset button basically resets the settings within the any tab back to their defaults. It doesn’t affect your Rows, columns settings.
I want to visually show you the results that come from tweaking each number field.
Scale X Settings
These number fields manipulate the horizontal scale of your duplicates.
Eeeeehh, what the hell. I’ll throw in a demonstration of one of the Randomized options.
Scale Y Settings
These number fields manipulate the vertical scale of your duplicates.
What the Heck Does Exponent Do?
That’s what I’ve wondered too. The description you see when you roll over one of the Exponent number fields doesn’t tell you much. The best way to describe the Exponent number fields is to think of them as a means to fine tune your scaling uniformly. If you enter a number between 0 and 1, your scaling will seem more gradual. Entering a number somewhere between 1 and 10, your scaling will look more exaggerated and extreme. Here’s a visual demonstration:
In the above example, I generated a bunch of clones and had them scaled vertically by 50% for each row. I used the default Exponent settings of 1.
When I brought the Exponent setting down to 0.50, the scaling visually looks more uniformed.
When I enter a number of 0, none of my clones are scaled. They’re all the same size.
In this next one, I bumped the Exponent to 1.50 to demonstrate how exaggerated the scaling can get. Similar to when one of the Cumulate boxes are checked.
What Does Base Do?
This has been another mystery of the great Scale tab. Unfortunately there isn’t any information that I could find to help explain the Base feature. But I’ll try. A number of 0 will produce no effect. Any number between 0 and 1 will reverse the scaling. The lower the number, the more extreme the reversal. The higher the number, the more even the scaling. A number of 1 will produce clones of the same size. Any number greater than 1 will allow you to tweak the scaling. The higher the number, the more extreme the transformation.
In the above image, I used a Scale Y, Per row setting of 50%. I used the default Base setting of 0.0. The vertical scaling is not affected.
In the above image, I used a Scale Y, Per row setting of 50%. I used a Base setting of 0.5. The vertical scaling is reversed. The clones shrink in size despite the fact that I’m using a positive percentage.
In the next image, I used the Base setting of 1.0. None of the clones are scaled.
In this next image, I used a Base setting of 2.0. The result is slightly bigger than when using the default setting of 0.0.
This last image uses a Base setting of 4.0. The effect is similar to when you check the Cumulate box. You can make the effect as extreme as you want.
And now you know…
“And knowing is half the battle!” (G.I.JOE reference.) That’s right gang! Even though this article was a bit more exhaustive than I intended, you should now have the knowledge necessary to leverage the power of the Scale tab. I highly encourage you to play with this tab and see what effects you can come up with.
Next time, we’ll cover the Rotation tab within the Create Tiled Clones window. We covered a little of this tab in the Inkscape Experiment on spinning paths.
For those of you interested, I stumbled a cross a sample chapter on Tiling (using the Create Tiled Clones window). I wish I knew who to credit because it’s a good over view of the Create Tiled Clones window with lots of examples. If you happen to know, please send me (You can easily contact me with one of the many methods via the “Contact me on…” panel in the sidebar.) the title and the name of the author so I can give the proper credit. Thanks!