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
Rebelle, from Escape Motions ( http://ifxm.ag/rebelle-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.