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I want to create an object with a background composed of many paths.

I have a single black path that I use as a clipping mask overtop of a bed of many many small paths.

Applying the mask works exactly as I expected, and everything looks good, however a lot of the paths that were clipped out are still present, and the document is fairly large because it it, and dragging the new object around is extremely slow. Is there any way to maybe apply the mask in a more destructive manner so that the resulting object is less complicated?

in the image, all of the small flowers that I am using as a background are paths, and the single black silhouette is as well. I apply the clip with Object > Clip > Set and then I get the black flower with the small flowers as a fill, which is what I want, however the ones that should be clipped away entirely are still present, and slowing things down. The second photo shows this with one of the non-visible paths selected.

enter image description here enter image description here

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I assume you already realize that setting a clip doesn't delete paths outside of it. It merely clips the image to the clipping path.

However, there is another way to simplify such designs without having to do destructive cutting of paths, and luckily this will also help keep the file size smaller, and stop inkscape from lagging so much into the bargain.

You can use clones instead of duplicating all those flowers in the background. In fact you can even construct the flowers themselves from clones of single petals, and one centre clone. When you've made a complete flower from clones, you can group and clone the flower itself too. You can also create a bunch of cloned flowers to make a background element, and clone that too, and duplicate those background element clones. Basically, constructing everything from clones within clones within clones, etc.

Here's an example of an optimised SVG made in Inkscape, which looks like it has hundreds of paths. Careful use of cloning has allowed me to do this with only four paths (actually ellipses and circles in this case) for the flower background, and one clipping path. Even the second daffodil is a clone. The file size is ridiculously small at only 7.9kb

enter image description here

Here's the SVG if you want to examine its construction further.

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</clipPath>
</defs>
<g transform="translate(-52.6 -47.5)">
<g id="h" transform="translate(3.4 -1.89)">
<circle cx="-43.5" cy="62.9" r="6.61" fill="#f95" stop-color="#000000" stroke-dasharray="0.382, 1.528" stroke-linecap="round" stroke-linejoin="round" stroke-width=".382" style="paint-order:markers stroke fill"/>
<circle cx="-43.5" cy="62.9" r="3.54" fill="#800000" stop-color="#000000" stroke-dasharray="0.204505, 0.81802" stroke-linecap="round" stroke-linejoin="round" stroke-width=".205" style="paint-order:markers stroke fill"/>
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<g id="i" transform="translate(-14.7 19.7)" clip-path="url(#j)">
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  • Thanks so much! That got me down from ~10Mb to <1Mb. I have one question though: If I make a clone of a flower, can I then also make a clone of the clone, or do I always have to use the original? Also, if I group clones together and then clone the group, does it still have the same positive effects?
    – Tyler
    Mar 31 at 21:24
  • 1
    @Tyler You can just duplicate or copy and paste any clone and it'll still be a clone. Once you've cloned it once no need clone it again. Yes you can make new clones from groups of clones, that's how I achieved what I posted here. Basically the clones are nested about three-deep. Don't go too crazy nesting however or you could confuse Inkscape.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 31 at 22:02

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