Copy objects in-place a specific number of times.

Normally, when duplicating groups of objects in Illustrator, the created duplicate group or set of objects is created above the original objects in the layer stack.

Using the In-Place Duplication Mode, users can instead create a specific number of duplicates for each object that is selected in Illustrator, while retaining the overall layer stack structure. The resulting duplicates for each object in the selection will be placed above or below their original object in the layer stack, but retain their layer stack position relative to the other objects in the selection.

When would In-Place Duplication be useful?

In-Place duplication is all about retaining the overall layer stack structure of selected objects during duplication. This can be useful if you’re working with multiple overlapping objects and need to create duplicates of those objects that retain the same overlapping pattern.

For example, let’s say you have a pattern of overlapping diamonds, but you want to create a pattern within them while retaining the overall layer stacking:

With native duplication, all created duplicates would be stacked above all of the original objects, but Randomill’s in-place duplication let’s you retain the original layer order and weave duplicates within it.

Using Randomill’s duplication functions with other functions enabled.

When using Randomill’s duplication functions, any other enabled functions in Randomill will be executed on the newly created duplicates. Duplication is executed first, and then any other functions are run on the original objects and the newly created duplicates.

For example, let’s say you have a single square selected and duplication enabled set to copy that square into a grid. If Fill Color is also enabled and set to the random mode, that square will be copied into a grid, and then each one of those copies in the grid will have its fill color randomized.

A note on the ‘Include initial objects in result’ function.

When using in-place duplication, you have the option for the final selection of objects to either include the original objects that the duplicates were created from, or not. When the ‘include initial objects in result’ checkbox is unchecked, only the created duplicates will be selected (and processed by other enabled Randomill functions at the time of duplication).

However, in order for just the duplicates to be selected, the original objects must be deselected, and this can take a long time if the number of original objects is large.

To work around this problem, an optional, experimental selection method has been implemented into Randomill called ‘Experimental Fast Select’. This option only appears when using In-Place duplication, and when the ‘include initial objects in result’ checkbox is turned off.

What is “Experimental Fast Select”?

This option is an alternate way for Randomill to create selections of objects. The way it works is by creating a temporary action (the same type of action that you would record in the actions panel) and then execute that newly created action to select the objects.

The way the dynamically created action works is that for every object that has to be selected, Randomill will set the ‘note’ of that object (an obscure feature accessible through Illustrator’s attribute panel) to be contain some text. The action that Randomill creates works by selecting all objects that have that text within the note of the object.

This works much faster (by orders of magnitude) than the standard selection method, but may be less reliable, and is therefore an optional experimental feature. However, everyone should use it if it works for them since it’s so much faster.

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