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is it possible to split a graphic image into multiple elements?

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This may have been covered previously but honestly I'm not even sure how to word my search.


Greenhorn here; I can use software & follow instructions but I'm definitely not a graphic designer.


I have a b&w image of a spiral.  One relatively wide line which starts in the center of the page & simply spirals out (I've tried to attach it but it only lives on my hard drive so I can't point to a url).  


My challenge is that I want to divide the wide black line into segments along its length, so that I can colour each segment differently.  e.g. the first couple of inches of the black line might be red, the next couple of inches may be yellow, etc.


Is splitting the graphic in this way do-able?  


Thanks in advance for any techniques or clues.  Would like to post the image for you to see but it's on my hard drive so I don't have a url to point to.


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Good thinking @ardneh :star:


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Thanks, ardneh.  Apologies for the delay in responding; it's turned into a crazy week.


I see by your response that there's a detail I wasn't sufficiently clear about.  My need is not to split and colour the spiral in equal segments, but rather I intend to measure out segments of differing lengths, and colour each of those segments.  So the first segment might be 3 inches long, the next one 5 inches long, and the 3rd might be 1/2 inch long.  


My naive hope had been to find if there's a way to simply mark out these segments manually.  For instance, click on one side of the wide spiral line, then drag the cursor to the same spot on the other side of the line, and indicate that that's now a boundary between the 2 sections of the line.  If such exists, I haven't found it yet, but I'm very aware that could simply be a matter of my not knowing the right terminology to search for.

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Actually, another way for me to ask the question might be:  "Can I select only a portion of my graphic?"  That is, still keeping the spiral as one graphic image, is there a way for me to select just a segment of it so that I can fill that segment with my colour choice?

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Try the Lasso Select tool :LassoSelectTool:

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What am I doing wrong with the lasso tool?  I can draw a shape with it but as soon as I release the cursor the shape disappears & I'm unable to do anything (like change the colour).  I recognize there must be something very basic I'm missing, but after messing with it for some time I simply can't figure out what I'm doing wrong.

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1 hour ago, Red ochre said:

Perhaps you have the selection mode set to 'Subtract' ?


Yes, either Intersect or Subtract mode will cause this.
The standard default mode is Replace.

I made a short video showing another way to do this where you can make color segments of whatever length you wish.
Video Download


However if you are determined to use only one layer the video can be safely ignored.


Remember, regardless of how many layers are used to create an image

it can easily be saved as a single layer final product.

Ctrl Shift C         Copy Image
Ctrl Alt V        Paste into New Image
Ctrl S            Save

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Thank you, ardneh -- this is amazing!  I really appreciate your time & effort in making the video as it helps me follow the technique you're using.


I am however having one difficulty getting started -- likely also a newbie issue, but I'm trying to follow you step by step & my system isn't operating the way you show.


It looks like you started by placing a red dot in the center of the spiral.  I've selected the paintbrush tool & set the width to 12.  But when i click in the center of the spiral nothing happens -- I don't get that red dot.  I then try your next stop, selecting the hand tool & displaying Effects, but my list is different than yours, and doesn't include Objects. (I can't get the Windows Snipping Tool to capture what it does show me, unfortunately)


I am in Layer 2, and can't find other differences from your setup.


What am I missing here?

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Align Object is a plugin, available here.

Plugin installation instructions

The red dot should be placed on a new transparent layer above the spiral layer.

Be sure that the dot layer is above the spiral, and is the active layer when placing the dot.

Also make sure that there is no selection active.
Press Ctrl D first to kill any active selection.


The plugin is used simply to be sure that the dot is centered in the layer.

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A final update and note of gratitude for everyone who responded to my plea with suggestions & feedback.  And especially to ardneh for patiently explaining (and creating a video to demonstrate!) the technique that was in the end the key to accomplishing what I needed to do.


It's been an interesting journey, and I feel like I had a bit of a crash course in learning the basics (and a couple not so basics) about Paint.net.  Now I'll be looking for other opportunities to use it & expand my skill set.


Thanks again!

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