PART 1 take a tour of the pro­gram

Martin Han­schild starts his se­ries on Re­belle by edit­ing the workspace and in­tro­duc­ing the main tools of the nat­u­ral me­dia paint­ing pro­gram

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Re­belle, from Escape Mo­tions (­belle-em) mim­ics the be­hav­iour of wa­ter­colour, acrylic and dry me­dia dig­i­tally, us­ing real-world colour blend­ing, wet dif­fu­sion and dry­ing times. You can paint on wet or dry sur­face, con­trol the bleed­ing of colours, make your colours flow by tilt­ing the can­vas, and even blow on wet washes to change the di­rec­tion of the spread­ing colours. You can also use a dry­ing tool to re­move water and stop the flow, and al­ter the look of your art by choos­ing dif­fer­ent pa­pers.

Rather than be­ing packed with fea­tures that are rarely used, Re­belle fo­cuses on the paint­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. What I love about the pro­gram is how it en­cour­ages ex­per­i­men­ta­tion on the can­vas, re­sult­ing in nu­mer­ous happy ac­ci­dents.

Paint­ing in Re­belle is a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence com­pared to other art pro­grams, be­cause of how it sim­u­lates tra­di­tional me­dia. In this se­ries I’ll show you all as­pects of the pro­gram, and how to use its tools. Let’s start by con­fig­ur­ing the workspace and the key tools…

1 Pre­pare for paint­ing

This menu pops up when you launch the pro­gram. Choose from com­mon pa­per sizes or de­fine your own. You can se­lect the can­vas back­ground, too – you can change this any time dur­ing your work. Then press Ctrl+N or click File>New to cre­ate a new doc­u­ment.

2 Set­ting up your workspace

This is the de­fault workspace (left). The GUI is sim­ple, read­able, and you have all the nec­es­sary tools to hand. Pan­els are dock­able, you can change their po­si­tion and size, and at­tach them or let them float freely. Here I’ve docked all pan­els on the left, ex­cept for Color and Nav­i­ga­tor.

3 Ex­plor­ing the pan­els

There are seven pan­els in Re­belle: Tools, which con­tains sev­eral types of brushes; Prop­er­ties, fea­tur­ing brush and tools set­tings that may dif­fer in their prop­er­ties; the Color and the Color Set pan­els; Tilt, which de­ter­mines the di­rec­tion and speed of run­ning colours; Nav­i­ga­tor; and Lay­ers, which en­ables you to man­age your lay­ers.

4 The Nav­i­ga­tor panel

I use the Nav­i­ga­tor panel a lot, mainly to pre­view my work-in-progress image on a sec­ond mon­i­tor. Within the Nav­i­ga­tor panel are op­tions for View­port zoom, Ro­ta­tion and Flip, but I rec­om­mend set­ting up key­board short­cuts for these op­er­a­tions.

5 The Tilt panel

Tilt af­fects the move­ment of wet paint and is rep­re­sented by a cir­cle with a pointer. Click and drag this pointer to set the an­gle of the can­vas, while the length of the line de­ter­mines the an­gle and speed of the run­ning colours. Click the mid­dle cir­cle to turn Tilt on and off.

6 Set your Pref­er­ences

Un­der File> Pref­er­ences there are sev­eral set­tings that I rec­om­mend con­fig­ur­ing when you first launch the pro­gram. Go to the Gen­eral tab and in the In­ter­face you can re­size the whole in­ter­face. You can also set cus­tom key­boards short­cuts un­der the Key­board tab. Not all of Re­belle’s tools have short­cuts, so it’s good to set your own.

Give your de­fined can­vas size a name and click + to add it to a list of pre­set can­vases. De­pend­ing on the DPI value you set, pic­ture size in­for­ma­tion will be au­to­mat­i­cally cal­cu­lated both in cen­time­tres and inches.

Flip the can­vas ori­en­ta­tion here. Paint­ing tools. Nav­i­ga­tor win­dow. Color and Color set op­tions. Lay­ers are shown here. Drag and drop im­ages on to the can­vas from the File Man­ager.

Click the edge and drag to re­size a panel. If you want to re­turn to the de­fault workspace, se­lect Menu>Win­dow>Re­set to de­fault.

Click the panel name and drag to move it around.

If you’re work­ing on a tablet that has an ac­celerom­e­ter, your can­vas tilt can be con­trolled by your tablet’s ori­en­ta­tion. Smooth your paint­ing strokes more by in­creas­ing this pa­ram­e­ter.

Re­set your view here. The black box in the Nav­i­ga­tor cor­re­sponds to the cur­rently view­able area in the win­dow. Click the Nav­i­ga­tor Menu and switch to greyscale (G) to check your image’s val­ues.

Tools, from left to right: Blend, Smudge, Water, Dry Undo/Redo, Blow, Color Picker and Trans­form. This menu con­tains dif­fer­ent op­tions for each panel. You can hide all Pan­els by press­ing Tab. Brushes, from left to right: Wa­ter­color, Acrylic, Pas­tel, Pen­cil, Inkpen, Marker, Air­brush and Erase.

Drag the lit­tle cir­cle on the outer ring to ad­just a colour’s Hue, and the cir­cle in­side a square to al­ter Sat­u­ra­tion and Light­ness. Un­der the Color Palette menu you can switch be­tween a cir­cle (the clas­sic colour wheel) and a square colour palette, show or hide slid­ers, and choose ei­ther an RGB or HSL colour model.

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