Review: Rebelle 3 feels like a real studio in your digital hands

Jun 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm by Barbara Din

Rebelle 3 Review

Last year, I reviewed Rebelle 2 and I loved it. It's a great piece of software focused on wet media with a nice and intuitive UI.

This year, Escape Motions released Rebelle 3, with more tools and lots of enhancements, including their stellar watercolor simulation and a new DropEngine for better watercolor drips. Let’s take a look!

So What’s New?

• State-of-the-art watercolor simulation

• New DropEngine for watercolor drips
• Powerful Brush Creator
• Support for pen pressure and rotation
• ‘Masking Fluid’ layers and Influenced layers
• Ultra-realistic paper presets
• Canvas and Image resize
• Selection tools & Magic wand
• Color Filters
• Straight line, Ruler & Perspective tools
• ‘Reference Image’ and ‘Preview’ panel
• Layered PSD support

As you can see, this is a big update! So here are some of my favorite additions:

The new Visual Settings panel allows changes to the parameters of media and canvas behavior, such as absorbency, edge darkening, drip size and length or even if you want drips at all. Also, you can now set how much of the canvas you see.

There’s the new DropEngine that makes drips better and, as mentioned before, now with user-controlled parameters, and it reacts more realistically with the canvas or paper textures. The improved blow tool now allows for better control of the water chaos.

Being a traditional artist that loves to play with fluid paints, this is one of the coolest things to have in your digital arsenal!

New DropEngine and improved Blow Tool

A great addition to Rebelle 3 is the Masking Fluid and Influenced Layers. With the Masking Fluid ability, now you can turn a layer you paint on into a masking fluid one and use it as the real thing. You can achieve beautiful complex effects that behave pretty much like the real thing. Here you have a brief explanation so you can have an idea of what I’m talking about:

Stencils have been improved, with the options to extend the border of the stencil to the whole canvas, so you don’t accidentally paint over the edge of the border (something that you might have experienced if you used stencils in real life), or the wonderful ability to tile the stencil across the canvas.

In this new version there are also new types of canvas with the addition of optional deckled edges, which gives you a more realistic look should you want to choose them.

The most exciting new features I found are the Ruler and Perspective tools. The Perspective tool lets you choose from one-, two- and three-point perspectives. They are not only very much welcomed by urban sketchers and other types of artists, but they’re also very well executed when it comes to usability.

That’s not all, they added a yummy cherry on top: the Free Hand effect, which you can turn on and off to your liking. See what I mean in this video:

The new Preview and Reference panels are great!

I use the Reference panel in my main monitor, while I paint on the Cintiq. But even if you only work one monitor, the Reference panel lets you zoom in and pan, so you focus on the part of the image you’re painting at the moment when you need to.

One thing we artists need to really take into account when we’re using reference is the values. Many use squinting to do this en plein air or with live models to better figure out the contrast in values.

In Rebelle’s Reference panel you can now simply turn the image into greyscale, so you can focus only on the values when you need to, no squinting needed! Of course, you can also do this with the document, so you can match what you’re seeing with what you’re doing whenever you want (useful also for the Preview panel).

One of the under the hood improvements that I have to mention is the ability to drag and drop images onto the canvas, something I always use and miss terribly when a program does not support it. But it works with all kinds of stuff in Rebelle 3! Drag & drop files, brushes, papers, color sets or stencils to appropriate panels.

Drag & drop .zip assets to the main window with canvas - Rebelle will unzip and sort the assets internally. That means if you drop any image into a panel with brushes in Rebelle 3, it will create a new brush. If you drop the image into Color Set panel, it will create a new color palette.

Drag and Drop

The last one I’ll mention is the White (or Black) to Alpha filters. Incredibly useful when you sketch and want to take a scan of it into the program, it will turn the white pixels of your scan (usually, the paper part of your sketch) into transparency, so you’re left with only your pen or pencil strokes.

These are just some of the new features that impressed me the most, as I can’t go over them all without turning this article into a book. Suffice to say: there’s a lot to investigate and play around with.


This huge update does not disappoint and gets you even more excited to work inside Rebelle. I love the fact that the guys at Escape Motions keep the focus on traditional media and the best way to represent it in the digital realm, not just in the amazingly similar way the elements behave and interact with each other, but also in the way they name the tools and features. So, when you work in Rebelle, you always feel like you have a real studio in your digital hands.

I encourage you to take a better look at all new and improved features of Rebelle 3 by watching this video playlist.


Rebelle 3

Barbara Din is a visual artist, graphic designer, painter, interior designer, crafter, musician and writer living in Argentina. Learn more about Barbara and her work at the following links:
Barbara Din Patreon page
Barbara Din YouTube Channel

Sections: Reviews

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