Copy and Paste is the workhorse of any add-on, and Tinker Tools is no exception. Indeed, a ton of functionality has been added to this area, to make it even more flexible to whatever you might want to do within your dimension. This is by far the longest guide of all of them, so I’m going to break things down into sections, starting with the basics, then distance offsets, then rotational offsets, then scaling offsets. Along the way, we’ll cover copying and pasting multiple items, as it applies to each section. Custom Pivot is its own separate guide, as you may have seen from the contents page, so that this one section isn’t extremely long (it’s already going to be pretty long as it is).
At it’s most basic level, with Copy and Paste, I can take an item and put a second, identical item (or a different one), in exactly the same position. With Tinker Tools, when I’m using like items, I don’t have to place the item I’m going to paste first, but if it’s an unlike item, as in the example below, I will have to manually place the item I intend to paste.
Now, say I want a second pillar identical to the first. I have a couple of options, I can either save the first pillar as a set, then load it and move it that way, or I can select all three building blocks:
What is the flicker reduction box? In the Offset Calculator guide, I talked about what causes flicker, and how you can use a Relative move to fix it. You can also check this box. What it does is automatically offset the second item .0003 in all axes from the first–not enough to be visible to the naked eye, but enough that it should enable your PC to be able to tell the two block apart. For this most part, this is effective. However, the textures of certain blocks mean that the Flicker Reduction offset isn’t enough to get rid of the flicker, so you can manually offset by .001 in all axes, or just do a Relative Move as needed.
For some kinds of builds, symmetry is important, or precision measurements. Many times, you also may want to try to eliminate as many wasted items as possible by reducing overlap–which has the added bonus of eliminating flicker.
Once I have the first wall segment in place, I can copy and paste those 6 planks to make the matching wall on the other side of the facade.
Now, say I want to offset multiple items so that they’re evenly spaced.
I can use the Offset Calculator and the widget to input values into the Move window, but that’s a lot of steps. If you want to be exact without doing math, this is a good way to do it. Another way is to use Copy and Paste, and select Offset Multiple Items, to paste all items at once.
If I decide I want to add another tile centered on the Greystone to provide a bit of contrast, all I have to do is copy and paste another tile of a different skin on top of the Greystone, size it manually and shift it until the skin shows, then repeat the process:
And of course, you can offset in more than axis, such as when making stairs. The theory behind it is always the same.
This is where things start to get really fun. Do you want to make an easy spiral stair? How about a conical dome? A gently arched bridge, or an arched window for a cathedral? Any and all of these things are possible using a rotational offset.
To copy and paste with rotational offsets, you still do not need to be a genius at math, because the largest number to deal with is 360–degrees. How big the offset is will depend a lot on what it is you’re trying to make, and what item you’re trying to use to make it with.
I used more than just building blocks in the examples above because it’s fun to experiment with what I like to call spinning. How much and in what axis to spin something to make a circular object will vary by where the selection point of a particular item is, so the experimentation is actually key.
When using rotational offsets to make a full circle, it’s often easier to offset all the items to make the circle, and pull up the piece you’re copying. That way, in case something needs to be moved, you don’t have to worry about going through the item list to find that original item, all the items to make the circle are already selected. In the case of stairs and other partial rotations, however, you’ll want to leave the starting block in position.
Making some circular pieces can take a bit more work, such as in the case of planks, because the selection point is in the center of the plank running lengthwise, and along one face. To make a conical dome similar to the example using the wood corner posts (where the selection point is on one end), you’d follow steps like those below–and remember, there’s always more than one way to do things!
Another way to do that same thing would be to save the original rib as a set, then load and do a Relative rotation with each successive placement of the set, or load the set and rotate by hand.
I hope that the explanations of rotational offsets aren’t confusing, but they’re definitely an area where practice makes perfect, and experimentation is a key to success. Always remember that you can make things as simple or complex as you like, and to do what’s comfortable for you in your builds.
Using a scale offset is a great way to make decorative items–I actually don’t use this feature a lot, but I do like to use it to quickly make things like canister sets, by copying and pasting some random vase, with a scale offset. It’s definitely easy to use, simply type into the text box in what increment you wish to increase or decrease the size of a block you’ll paste, and it works when you copy and paste multiple items as well as it does when you just use one.
Just keep in mind when you’re using a scale offset the minimum and maximum scale of whatever item you’re using for the copy and paste–remembering that the smallest scale of anything is .25 and the largest scale of items does vary.
Whew, this was a long section, but I hope it’s useful. Copy and Paste is definitely the workhorse of Tinker Tools, and there’s still more to come. Remember that you can make things as complex or simple as you wish, and I highly encourage experimenting with all the different features until you’re comfortable with what each thing does in a way that makes sense for you.