Core skills: Rebelle
Martin Hanschild reveals the new tools in version 2 of Rebelle that will keep areas of the canvas clean, and help you create ‘controlled accidents’
Discover ways to keep your edges clean in Rebelle, with Martin Hanschild.
There’s no transparent white colour in traditional watercolour painting, and so the white elements of the painting are the unpainted areas of the paper. To keep these areas free of paint you’d use masking tape, clear wax, liquid frisket and so on.
The first version of Rebelle lacked any kind of masking tool, so it was sometimes tricky to protect some parts from running colours. The Eraser tool came in very handy!
So it’s with some degree of pleasure that I can reveal that version 2 of Rebelle features Selections and Stencils. These tools solve the problem of masking and can significantly help with your painting process. And even though both are designed to protect the canvas, in use they’re quite different. In the first part of this month’s article, I’ll explain how these new tools work and their key features.
The second part will be about some useful tools called Blow, Dry, Blend and Smear. I’ll show you how to use them for creating artwork based on controlled accidents. You’ll find a review of Rebelle’s newest version in next issue of ImagineFX.
1 Choose the right Selection tool
Working with the Selection tool is similar to either the Lasso or Marquee tools in other painting programs. Confirm your shape by pressing Enter (except those created with the Freehand tool). Press Ctrl+T to transform a selected part of the layer and, after confirming, Rebelle will automatically create a new layer with a transformed part.
2 Creating stencil maps
There are three ways to generate a stencil map into Rebelle. It can be produced from a selection, from the layer or imported from a file. When a stencil is created from a selection and layer, it’s based on the layer’s transparency/alpha values. But when a stencil is created from a file, it’s based on the black and white values of the picture, except when the imported file features an alpha/transparency element.
3 Manipulating stencils on the canvas
On a new layer, paint an area that you want to protect and then in the Stencils menu, choose the Create Stencil from Layer option. A new stencil will be added to the Stencil palette, and it will appear on the canvas when you select it. A light orange colour represents the protected areas. Rebelle enables you to place more than one stencil on the canvas. If you need to amend or manipulate one of them, select it with the right mouse button.
4 Rebelle’s Blow and Dry tools
Here I’ve placed a simple stencil on the canvas and start to paint with a Watercolour brush. Then, with Caps Lock Key pressed, I activate a Blow tool and “blow” on the running colours to change their direction. To slow down or to stop flowing colours use the Dry tool (press D). It’s a brush with an absorbency feature, which dries up specific parts of the canvas.
5 Blend and Smudge tools
Sometimes you can produce unwanted, edgy brush marks in a painting. You can blend them together with the Blend tool. You can also blend colours together, which works especially well with the Pastel and Pencil tools. The Smudge tool smudges the wet and dry parts of the painting. Note that you can choose various brush structures for creating different effects with both of these tools.
Here are the Selection tool panel options. You can use the Freehand, Polygonal, Elliptical or Rectangular tool for creating selections. The Selection tool can be used to create a quick mask, define clean shapes, or transform or erase part of the picture. Erase a selected part of the image with Ctrl+X. High-contrast images work best for imported stencils. You can create interesting abstract structures, geometric patterns, ornaments, or import images with text. Here you can choose how to create your stencil. Stack of stencils Show/hide stencil Add stencil from file This is the Stencil panel. If it’s not visible, go to Window and check the Stencil option. Simply click the canvas to remove selection mask.
I removed these edges with the Blend tool on a low Pressure setting, which gave me more control. The Smudge tool worked well when I wanted to paint this creature’s fur. I created this using a Tilt tool to change the watercolour flow’s direction and the Blow tool, to make this part wavy. The arrow shows the direction of the Blow tool strokes. Here, the Dry tool affects the amount of colour bleeding. Wet Preview shows how the tool dries the amount of wetness, while Colour Preview shows how it controls colour.
Drag these symbols to move, scale and rotate stencil. If you work on a tablet, you can use two fingers for rotation and scale. You can invert the stencil by selecting the option that’s bottom-right in the menu.