Jump to content

[Help] How to create a spring/helix?

Recommended Posts

I'm looking for a way to create something like the following picture. Specifically, the spring part of it.


I tried to use the helix plugin, or the lines plugin -> shape 3d plugin.

Although I can get a similar shape, it never feels like the spring in the picture.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

This tutorial has some excellent tips for helical threads - 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Red ochre - thanks for the response! I couldn't quite follow that though. 

I managed to follow the first few steps I believe, and got this:



But I couldn't quite figure how to use the motion blur to imitate shading. 

I tried to use the bevel object, and got this:




Seems like I'm missing something, but not sure what?



".. but I expect it will be disallowed soon anyway" - what do you mean by that? what will be disallowed, by whom, and why?


Edited by TomFaj
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@welshblue yeah that's very close, I would love to know the steps!


2 comments though:

(1) There's a noticeable tear/seam/texture. Attached a picture of what I'm talking about

(2) I'm looking for a more cartoon style than realistic


Either way I can try and play with the above issues my self, but just getting to where you are now would be amazing if you can share?




Link to comment
Share on other sites



Tom - You did well to get the base shape!
Here are some ideas on ways to shade it. Do practice using layers, objects and selections... and do experiment with what plugin settings do.
Pressing'F1' whilst in paint.net leads to the documentation if you are unsure.
Good luck.😉


Red ochre Plugin pack.............. Diabolical Drawings ................Real Paintings



Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Red ochre - Thanks for the guided pictures! However, I have to admit I'm having trouble following you. You seem to have too much confidence in my ability :P


1. What is image size? I'm asking because I tried to use the  same amount of motion blur, and it doesn't even look close to your image

2. You said I did well the base shape, but:

  2.a. In the first image, you have black background and transparent pixels for the shape. I tried to do the same with my shape, but it's not as smooth as yours. I tried recreating my helix, and even though it got better, it still wasn't smooth enough; you can clearly see the non-smooth edges, specially around the "edges" (where it turns from right to left)

  2.b. Even the colors in your images doesn't match mine. I tried to use different color options in the helix plugin or even using the black and white adjustment, but it still doesn't look like yours, in any of the pictures.

3. What exactly are you doing with each layer? you specified some notes in the last picture, but I'm not sure in all the other ones. Even the one with the motion blur - is is that multiply? overlay? I could obviously play with it, but since it didn't look like yours in (1) to begin with, and no value made it look good, I'm not sure where is even the problem

4. In your last picture you have a box selection, but rotated. Yours seems very accurate though; Did you use a plugin or simply used a box selection and then rotated it?


Edited by TomFaj
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The image is 800 by 600 - standard new canvas then 'Image/rotate 90degs'.
2a. - Two ways to cure the tiny gaps which are noticeable on the outside curves:-
Either run Gaussian blur followed by my 'Alpha threshold' plugin with the sliders to the left to make pixels more opaque.
Or... install MJW's 'Object expander'* plugin and use at minimum settings to get a solid shape.
Probably best to run the 'AA assistant'* plugin to smooth the edges after too.
2b. Once I had the base shape (in rainbow colours) I changed it to grey using 'Object2colour'
3. I just showed the effect of motion blurring the surrounding area without the base layer intending to make it clearer what I was doing. (Since it is black, multiply & normal blend modes will have the same effect on lower layers).
Do experiment with shading layers on top of the base shape layer especially the transparency.
4. Simply used box selection and rotated it - very easy when you get the hang of it. Use the white arrow:MoveSelectionTool: to change the selection. Learning how to use selections is very useful.


Hope that helps.


* The plugin index should help you find these plugins, 'Alpha-threshold'& 'Object2colour' are in my pack so you've probably already got them.


Red ochre Plugin pack.............. Diabolical Drawings ................Real Paintings



Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Red ochre thanks for the reply!


2a. I actually already used Gaussian blur with your Alpha Threshold, it still wasn't smooth. I just tried to use AA assistant* plugin to smooth it. While it made it look smooth, and probably good enough, your still somehow looks better. Might be due to resolution though, since I'm using 256x256 (That's the target resolution I need). It might not be noticeable at the end anyway though, so good enough for me :)




I'm not really sure why it looks like white pixels, but it's completely transparent. I guess I don't really know how to copy/paste an image with transparency




2b. I downloaded the plugin now that you mentioned it and tried to play with the plugin, but it doesn't seem like any option would matter. I keep getting a solid color.







3. Generally I know I can use motion blur to create sort of a shadow, or at least I get the idea, but I'm still a bit confused due to the values. When I tried to use almost any values, it didn't look that good. But then again the layers I have before the motion blur isn't like yours too, so it might be that. I'll wait until it will like yours to try again, and hopefully I'll understand it better.


5. Looking again at your first picture, I can see that even that has some sort of gradient to it. It looks like some of your transparent pixels are grey while others white. The way I did it was simply paint the background black, use magic wand to select it, inverse selection, then delete.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2a. - Work at say 4 * 256 = 1024px by 1024px and resize when finished (round numbers are better for resizing). Most effects are designed to be used at around the standard canvas size.

!!! - You're possibly not deselecting before running motion blur? - After you have filled the selected negative space around the object,(on it's own layer), deselect before running motion blur.
(Effects cannot render to parts deemed as not selected. If nothing is selected everything is selected! - in some cases only - weird, I know.)
2b. Kind of irrelevant - I used that to produce a grey object before the recent screenshots but in the image I posted first I kept the rainbow Helix output.


Red ochre Plugin pack.............. Diabolical Drawings ................Real Paintings



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...