If you are a beginner in the use of Photoshop, you can do this tutorial, but be patient with yourself. You should be able to follow it if you go slowly and step-by-step. As you work through it, you will learn some valuable lessons about the use of layers.
There are many great resources on the creation of Celtic Knots. This tutorial presents methods that are good to use if you have a pretty good idea what your finished knot will look like, and if your knot can be done with straight line crossings, as mine does.
information on creation of Celtic Knots, see the links listing at the bottom
of this page.
This tutorial was written with version 5.5
and so that is where the screen shots came from. I have included
directions for version 6 in plum-colored text where they are different
from those for 5.5.
LINES. Open a new file and then click the new layer icon (right beside the trash can in the layers palette). In this layer, make some lines that all go the same direction. For these 45 degree lines I used the line tool with a width of 20. *
Holding the shift key while you
drag makes the line go
at exactly 45 degrees. You can either eyeball the distances (I did) or
you can use guidelines if you want to to make it very precise.
Note: if you want to use a patterned line
or shade it or something, dress it up in this step. Just make ONE line
and then copy it.
|*In version 6, the line tool is under the rectangle tool. In options, choose the thickness that you want your line, and then click on the Create a new shape layer box which is highlighted here in orange:
The "create a filled
layer" option is useful if you want to be able to manipulate your
line's shape after you have made it. (You do that with the pen tools
using methods that I go through in my heart and raindrop
If you use the
"create a filled layer" option, you will need to rasterize
your layer before proceeding. You do this with Layer -> Rasterize
MORE ON THIS:
In the "create a filled layer" option, Version 6 makes
lines (and rectangles and all the shapes under that tool) in VECTOR
format. This means that they are defined as manipulable mathematical objects. (A
line that starts at a certain percentage of the distance from the center
of the canvas and goes at a 45 degree angle, etc.) In order to do the
next steps, the layer containing this mathematical
object must be a pixel-based layer. Converting mathematical objects to
pixels is called RASTERIZING the layer. It
is the same operation basically that you do to render a text layer. (You
did that in 5.5 with text.)
LINES. Open a NEW layer
and make lines on it that go the other direction. (Important to use a
|3. LAY OUT
PATH. Make a new
layer and in an obnoxious color, trace out where you want your knot to
go and cross, etc. There are endless variations to this. Trial and error
will get you to one that you like. It is my opinion that if it is symmetrical
it will look better.
|4. WEAVING. This only SOUNDS
hard; you have set this up so that you will get a nice effect quite easily.
Make a rectangular marquis that is just a wee bit wider than your original
lines. Choose Select -> transform selection and then hold shift key
while you rotate the selection marquis to a 45 degree angle. With the
marquee tool still selected, click inside the selected area and move the
selection so that it is over one of your diagonal lines as shown.
5. Now in the layers palette,
click on the layer for the lines that go in the OPPOSITE direction from
the marquis that you just made. You are going to erase the parts of these
lines that go UNDER the selected line. (The line that appears to be selected,
that is. You are on the other layer, though.) Erase with the eraser
tool. You don't have to be overly careful because of the nifty selection
you made and because the lines are on separate layers!
If you have version 6 and
this erasing is not working and it tells you you have to rasterize the
layer, do it! :) Click on one of the
line layers in the layers palette and then at the top of the program
window, click on Layer -> Rasterize -> Shape. Then
repeat with the other line layer. Then proceed.
|6. CURVES. Next, on a
new layer, do the curves around the outside. If these are parts of circles,
as I decided mine were, you can put a circle at one joint where you want
one and then cut out the center of it before copying it around to the
Here is how i did the circles in PS v.
- Choose the Elliptical Marquee and hold
shift down as you drag out a circle to the appropriate size.
- With the appropriate color chosen in
your color picker, click on Edit -> Fill -> Foreground color.
- Drag out another circular selection.
Click somewhere inside the selection (with any selection tool in
use) and you can move the selection ants to exactly the center of
the previous circle. Click the Delete key to remove the center of
v. 6 you can do it as above, or you can use the new vector shape
capabilities of v. 6. If you have v. 6, do this because it is a good
- With the appropriate
color chosen in the color picker, choose the ellipse tool (under the
rectangle tool). Tick the "Create a new shape layer" box
in the options bar (highlighted at the right) and hold shift as you
drag your circle.
- To hollow out the
circle as i have done here, you want to subtract a smaller circle
from this bigger circle. Here is one way to do this: Make another
ellipse. Then choose the Path Component Selection tool, the black
arrow, in the toolbox. Click on the new ellipse and drag to move it
to exactly where you want it. Now you need to tell PS what to
DO with this new selection. You want to subtract it, so click the
"Subtract from shape area" button in the options bar. That
is the second button from the left in this diagram to the right.
Notice that, in v.
6, you can move the ellipse around and even reshape it after you
have subtracted it from the center circle. That is because you are
defining the ellipse as a mathematical object. This is one of the powers
of vectors! (For more on reshaping paths, see my tutorial Raindrops.)
In v. 6, once you are
done with your circle, click on layer -> rasterize -> shape so
that you can erase parts of the circles and combine the circles with the
rest of your knot in the next step. Rasterizing converts the
mathematical object you made (the path) into pixels. After you
rasterize, you will not be able to adjust the paths anymore.
UP. Adjust the curves
by erasing on appropriate layers. Once you are satisfied with this, flatten
the image. One note at this point: Since this is a geometrical design,
the benefits of precision could be argued. I like to even things up under
magnification and use guidelines to make sure things are pretty symmetrical.
|8. FINISHING. Now you can color
it or texturize it or use layer effects, whatever.
I got the cool
shiny gold texture here by following these steps:
a. I highlighted the tan part (contiguous
option off ;)) and then went to the channels palette. I opened a new
channel by clicking the new layer icon at the bottom and filled the
highlighted area with white.
b. Then I dragged the channel from
the list to the new channel icon, duplicating this channel. I deselected,
then Gaussian blurred the 2nd alpha channel. I Ctrl-clicked the original
alpha channel and then select -> inverse -> delete.
c. I returned to layers, selecting
the layer where my knot is. I went to Filter -> Render ->
Lighting effects and then under texture, chose Alpha 2. I found an effect
that I liked and then hit ok.
d. Finally I returned to channels and ctrl-clicked
the first alpha channel, select inverse, and delete.
e. I liked the layer effect "pillow
emboss" for this.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!
Links for more information
on Celtic Knots
Knot Construction -- Good directions on how to design
a Celtic Knot from scratch.
Celtic Knotwork Tutorial by Christian Mercat, shows how to design these knots.
How to Draw Celtic Knots -- Deeper into the theory and terminology of Celtic Knots.
Web Art -- Celtic art graphics and a good link list.
Applet a nifty little java applet with which you can make your own knots.
Celtic Doodler -- I really like this! Another applet with which you can design your own Celtic knots!
Christian Mercat's Celtic Knot maker -- Java applet which makes celtic knots.
Steve Abbott's Computer Drawn Celtic Knotwork -- Links to Knot-making software, some in 3D, screensavers, etc.
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