What's New in Rebelle 2

What's New in Rebelle 2
In the previous article, we discussed the new brush engine in the Rebelle software by Escape Motions. Now, we will take a look at some of the other new features that make this digital painting software so much like using traditional watercolor and other media.

What's New in Rebelle 2

Tablet Support

If you are lucky to have a pen tablet, you will be glad to know that Rebelle 2 has tablet support, especially the slider controls for adjusting the touchpad and pen pressure sensitivity (see screenshot).


One of my favorite features is Stencils (see screenshots). You can use them just like traditional stencils. If you don't have a graphics tablet, you can only do so much with a mouse. But, the stencils can help you to paint the basic shape or shapes of your design. Stencils, along with the Pastel tool, are especially great for adding realistic handwritten text to your design. The result is a less-than-perfect text, instead of the sharp edged text created with a text tool. You can create your own custom stencils from a selected area, from a layer or from an imported image (see screenshots).

Masking Fluid

When working with traditional watercolors, masking fluid is important for protecting an area of the canvas from the paint. Just as in traditional watercolor painting, Rebelle's masking fluid feature turns any brush into a masking brush, allowing you to paint the digital masking fluid on to the canvas.


Another way to mask an area of the canvas in Rebelle is with any of the new Rectangular, Elliptical, Polygonal and Freehand Selection tools (see screenshot). Of course, these Selection tools can also be used for the usual purposes, such as to select a section of a layer to copy, edit or delete.

Layered PSD

When you save your Rebelle creation as a .psd file, the file maintains all the layers, even the textured canvas bottom layer, when opened in Photoshop or other software. When you turn off the visibility of the bottom canvas layer, you will see that all the other layers have been imported with the texture and opacity/transparency of the paint maintained. You would expect to loose the texture in the painted areas when removing the textured canvas layer, but this is not the case. Each paint layer maintains the texture in the paint. This gives you the option to change or remove the background canvas layer and still have the textured paint layers. You can also open layered .psd files into Rebelle and the layer settings, blending modes and opacity are maintained. Other supported file formats include .png, .jpg, .bmp, .tif and the native .reb Rebelle format.

Wet and Dry Controls

When working in traditional watercolors, you add water to the canvas to create certain effects. Rebelle has several great layer features that you will quickly learn to love. In the Layers panel (see screenshot), use the Show/Hide Wet Areas button to quickly see the wet areas of the canvas. Use the Pause Diffusion button to temporarily stop the paint diffusion just at the best moment. Finally, use the Wet and Dry buttons to control the wetness of the active layer.

Traditional watercolor artists need control of both water and paint. It's the same in Rebelle. You can use the Water tool to wet the canvas before painting and to add more water to the paint on the canvas. Use the Dry tool to do the opposite. There's even a Blow tool for moving the paint and controlling the flow of the color.

Layers Panel

It's easy to forget that Rebelle is a digital painting program but there are several digital features in Rebelle that you don't have with traditional paints. If you are familiar with Photoshop's blending modes, you will be glad to know that Rebelle's Layers panel has 23 blending modes (see screenshot). Also, Rebelle has the familiar Eye icon for toggling the visibility of a layer and an Opacity slider for controlling the opacity of each layer. There is even a Canvas icon, which will open the Select Canvas dialog (see screenshot). You can then change the characteristics if the canvas while working on the painting. You have many canvas choices from Aquarelle to handmade paper.

Canvas Tilt

If you are a traditional watercolor artist, you know how important it is to be able to control the tilt of your canvas during the paint diffusion. Without this control, it would be difficult to create many beautiful watercolor effects. So, the Rebelle team included a Tile panel with a 360 degree rotation control (see screenshot), for controlling the direction and angle of the canvas. This feature works in real time. When you change the direction or angle of the Tile control, you will see the flow of the watercolor paints change accordingly.

Color Sets and Mix Color Tool

When I'm creating wedding stationary designs, I usually use the same color scheme for each card, from the invitation to the thank you card. I really like saving these custom colors in the Color Sets panel (see screenshot), which works much like the swatches panel in Photoshop. You can also create a custom color set from an imported image.

Rebelle is available for Windows and Mac. The Welcome tutorial will quickly get you familiar with the workspace and watercolor techniques. With the realistic watercolor simulation and the affordable price, Rebelle is great for both professional artists and hobbyists (see example).


Rebelle 2 Website

Online Demo

Online Gallery

Escape Motions Blog

Disclosure: Escape Motions provided a copy of Rebelle 2 to me for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Screenshots used by permission of Escape Motions, s.r.o.

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