Escape Motions’ budget program is the latest evolution in digital art software, which attempts the recreation of traditional media
We find out what’s changed in the latest version of the low-cost program that recreates the look of traditional media.
You can achieve very interesting effects if you choose to mix mediums. All without any mess, too!
After launching the program for the first time, Rebelle feels like a low-calorie version of Photoshop. There are noticeably fewer tools and menus. The list of brush tips is a lot smaller (at least in the program’s default installation package) and there appear to be fewer options.
But this program is a different beast from Photoshop. In the top left corner is a small set of realistic-looking paint brushes with different shapes. Yet clicking them doesn’t give you a variety of shapes, but rather different painting media.
Furthest on the left is watercolour, then acrylic, pastel, coloured pencil, ink, marker and spray paint. Within each of these is a submenu of brush tips, each with a clutch of options.
Rebelle’s developers have rebuilt the program’s brush engine from version one. There’s now a range of industrystandard settings such as Jitter, Opacity, Pressure and Shape for customising your brushes. Simple sliders enable you to adjust a brush’s options,and we loved the look of the resulting paint splatters, strokes and ink lines. You can achieve very interesting effects if you choose to mix mediums. All without any mess, too!
Indeed, while there are painting programs that can simulate real-life tools, such as Painter and Fresh Paint, Rebelle takes it a step further with features like the ability to speed up or slow down drying time. It’s not a perfect recreation, but it’s the best we’ve seen to date.
As you’d expect, Escape Motions has been listening to the Rebelle community since the program’s launch in 2014, and version two incorporates a range of new features.
Traditional watercolour artists use masking fluid to help them create clean shapes and edges. Rebelle enables you to do the same, and better still, any tool can be used to paint a mask. The introduction of stencils also helps you to achieve strong shapes on the canvas – and as well as using the default selection, you can also import or quickly create your own stencils. Other new highlights include selection tools (missing from version one, perhaps unbelievably), import and export options for PSD files, and the ability to Lock Transparency.
You could argue that Rebelle almost recreates the behaviour of paint too much. For artists unfamiliar or out of practice with traditional media, it can be jarring when colours dry differently to when you put them down. But that’s also its appeal. Download the trial version and see for yourself!
By tilting the canvas you can make paint drip and move from simulated gravity, as Rana Dias has done in this piece.
Once you choose your media – in this instance, pastels – you can vary the brush shape to suit.
Jay Hardy used Rebelle’s acrylics to paint this striking portrait piece. Martin Hanschild was inspired by the bridal headdresses of the Vel’ký Lom region in Slovakia for this digital watercolour study. Peter Blaškovicˇ has made full use of Rebelle’s updated brush customisation tools and options.