Clipping and masking are methods for restricting what part of an object (or Group of objects) is visible. For clipping, a clipping path defines the visible part of the object, while for masking, the transparency or lightness of one object determines the opacity of a second object. In both cases, the target object is not changed and can be unclipped or unmasked if needed.
A clipped or masked object can be edited (transformed, style changed, nodes edited, etc.) while clipped or masked. Objects within a clipped or masked Group can also be moved relative to the clipping path or masking object if the Group is entered.
The clipping or masking path can be edited without unclipping or unmasking. With the clipped or masked object selected and the Node Tool active, click on either the (clipping) or (masking) icons in the Tool Controls. New in v0.48: The clip or mask path and the object can be edited at the same time. (This only works if the mask path is an actual path and not a shape.)
New in v0.48: By default, Inkscape will clip or mask each object separately if several objects are selected. In the Clippaths and masks section of the Inkscape Preferences dialog you can change this to have Inkscape first group the objects before applying a single clip or mask.
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