Creating Symmetrical Patterns using Clones in Inkscape

  • Art: designs using symmetry
  • Programming: creating clones of objects 
  • Math: symmetry, translation of geometric shapes

Clones change when the original object is changed. There are many ways to use Clones to create symmetrical patterns. 

Here are 2 examples.

1. Creating symmetrical patterns using clones and P6 transformation

  1. Create any object – circle, rectangle, star etc.
  2. Select the object and open the Fill-Stroke window by clicking on the paintbrush icon on the top.
  3. Click on RGB – Fill and slide the Alpha value from 255 to any number below 100 to make it transparent.
  4. Select object and click on Edit- Clone-Create Tiled Clones. See figure below.
  5. Set the parameters as shown, P6, 1 row and 6 columns.  Click Create.
  6. Use arrow keys to move the original object out of the pattern.
  7. Select original object and click on Path – Object to Path.
  8. Click on node selector and edit nodes to change pattern.

2. Creating symmetrical patterns using other Clone transformations. Modifying color per clone.

  1. Create the original shape to be cloned.
  2. Select the shape and click on the paintbrush (RGB window).
  3. Click on Fill and click on ? – make the color undefined.

4. Select original shape and click on Edit, Create Tiled Clones.
5. Set Symmetry as below : select P4, Rows 8 Columns 8

6. Click on Color : change Hue – row 20% column 20%. Do not change anything else. Make sure the initial color is NOT black.

7. Click on Create.

8. Clones are created and the original is under the first cloned shape. See the selected square.

9. Find original shape (under first cloned shape) and edit it  (use Path-Object to Path to make object editable) and see all clones change