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How do change the behaviour of a mask in Inkscape such that it either moves with the objects it is masking, or not.

It seems to switch between the two at random at the moment. Also, how can I select the mask itself?

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To move or modify a mask or masked object without releasing the mask, you could try one of the following methods. (It works the same for clipped objects)

To move the MASKED OBJECT without moving the mask itself:

Method 1:

  • Make sure the object is a path, not a shape (rectangle/ellipse) before you mask it with another object. (Convert a shape into a path with Path > Object to path or Ctrl-Shift-C)
  • Apply the mask
  • Double click on the masked object (or use the Node tool). Select all nodes of the object, then move them all at once. The mask should not move.

Method 2:

  • Before applying the mask, group the object (making it a group of one object) using Ctrl-G
  • Apply the mask
  • Now just double click on the masked object which makes you enter the group, then move the object. The mask should not move.

To edit or move THE MASK without moving the masked object:

Method 1 (similar to method 1 above):

  • Make sure the mask itself is a path, not a shape, before applying it as a mask.
  • Apply the mask
  • Select the masked object, then select the Node tool. In the node tool options, be sure to activate the button Show Masks of selected regions (see screenshot below).
  • Now that you see the nodes of the mask, you can edit them, or select them all and move them.

masked object with node tool

Method 2:

  • Before applying the mask, make a clone of the mask.
  • Use that clone to mask your object, and keep the original one.
  • Now you just have to edit/change the original path (or shape), and the clone/mask will update too.
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Aha, my mask wasn't a path. –  Lucas Jun 11 at 18:32

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