Rebelle 4: New Watercolors & Crucial Optimizations

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The last blog announced the upcoming release of Rebelle 4, the most realistic painting software you can create your digital magic with. We are so excited to share this news with you! You already know that this major upgrade is going to feature the new amazing, true-to-life oils and acrylics with features never seen before. Today's blog will center around the improved watercolors and the very important performance optimizations that bring faster painting and larger brushes.

Authentic Watercolors

Did you think that watercolors in Rebelle could not get any more realistic? Rebelle 4 is here to prove you otherwise. The new version comes with a completely revised watercolors to achieve the best traditional look. They have become more controllable and most of the brushes are pre-set to the new glazing option which will add more realism to your paintings. Moreover, we created new brushes without glazing (which is closer to Rebelle 3 brushes) and they serve great for gouache paintings.

New color mixing modes

Rebelle 4 takes a step further towards the realism of paint mixing. The upcoming version will feature new exciting ways of mixing colors when it comes to watercolors:

Transparent - very practical while glazing, the light passes through the color (partially similar to multiply mode).

Semi-opaque - a mixture of transparent and opaque. Painting with lower opacity is transparent and with higher opacity, it becomes more opaque.

Opaque - great for painting gouache, color mixing as we know from Rebelle 3.

Improved paint modes

Just like oils and acrylics, Rebelle 4's watercolors will allow you to choose from five paint modes: PaintPaint & MixPaint & BlendBlend, and Erase. The new modes will improve the way you blend watercolors and other wet mediums depending on the pressure or erase the painting with any brush. Each paint mode can now be assigned to a shortcut according to your liking. The default ones are "1", "2", "3", "4" and "5" and work both for toggling between the tools (when you hold the shortcut for a longer time) as well as for switching to the tool with one click.

The Red-Yellow-Blue (RYB) Color Mixing

The RYB color mixing was another frequently suggested feature and one of the biggest challenges for development. It is not a piece of cake to code this natural color mixing mode, as the red, yellow, and blue color model is based on subtractive colors, namely mixing paints, which is far more complicated for calculations than the standard additive RGB mixing. Challenge was accepted and Peter has come up with a fast and accurate way of implementing RYB color mixing for Rebelle 4. It is called "Natural Colors" and it works so fast, that by default it is turned on. At this moment it works for all paint tools except Oils and Acrylics. Of course, you can change it to standard RGB mixing mode anytime.

Gamma Correction

We have brought Gamma Correction to Rebelle 4 to lighten the dark margins on the overlay of colors. This feature is active by default, but you can change it directly from the menu.

New Visual Settings for Watercolor

There are a couple of new settings you can play within the Visual settings of Rebelle 4. Besides the Gloss slider for Acrylics and Oils, we have also included the Paper Texture and Paint Texture visibility options. With these settings, you can influence the strength of the canvas texture on the canvas and the paint separately. This opens a huge range of opportunities for your works as you can create heavily textured strokes on a plain canvas as well as have neat, clean strokes on a heavily textured canvas.

Moreover, we have implemented a fantastic feature called Re-wet. It‘s very handy for layering of washes as it enables you to influence how the primary wash reacts to the newly laid strokes. If the Re-wet is set low, new paint blends softer and beautifully mixes with the paint below and if it is set high, the new paint rewets the paint below faster and creates strong watercolor edges.

"To be able to use that feature to control whether or not we have hard edges between the previous area of wash and the current one, or beautifully soft diffusion and edge break when we apply a subsequent wash, is just wonderful! Now, with the addition of that single function, the watercolor is working as it should! Fantastic. It’s also great to see that a high Re-Wet even works when we are simply dropping water into a previous area of wash. Genius!" ~ Tim Shelbourne, Rebelle Featured Artist

Crucial Speed Optimizations

Rebelle 4 will feature crucial performance optimizations that will accelerate your workflow. Our focus was to reduce the lag as much as possible to give artists the possibility to paint with larger brushes and allow for faster, more fluid painting. Now you can stay in your creative flow a lot easier! Rebelle 4 optimizations include:

- Less lag and sluggishness of the cursor
- Improved speed of rendering in canvas
- Better responsiveness between stylus and cursor while painting
- Faster and smoother painting experience
- Larger brushes

More than 4x Faster Painting

Rebelle's painting algorithms are very compute-intensive. We addressed this issue by deep optimization work of Rebelle's code. Previous versions of Rebelle were able to utilize multiple cores of your CPU. Rebelle 4 pushed it further, utilizing vector instructions to perform a single mathematical operation on multiple numbers, providing another level of parallelism for each CPU core.

Your CPU can support various vector instruction sets. Rebelle 4 performs a check at startup and selects the code built for the highest vector instruction set supported by your CPU. For the most performance-critical algorithms, Rebelle 4 contains specialized code built for SSE2, SSE41, and AVX2 instruction sets.

Thanks to these and several other optimizations, painting in Rebelle 4 is significantly faster on computers with modern instruction sets and supports larger and more complex brushes than in previous versions.

Larger Brushes

Once the code was optimized we could start creating larger brushes. There is always a boundary for this set by Rebelle's performance and we would not be able to allow unlimited brush sizes even if we would like to. The maximum brush size is now per-brush. Brushes can now have up to 4x larger brush size covering 16x larger area compared to Rebelle 3:

Cursor Responsiveness

The optimizations have been done to the rendering of the painting cursor as well. The cursor is swifter, the lag between your stylus and cursor is minimal - you feel like painting on the real paper canvas. It feels great when sketching with a pencil or ink tool - the cursor precisely follows your hand and you don’t feel any sluggishness.

Are you ready for Rebelle 4? What is your favorite feature so far? What do you think is coming next? :) Drop us a comment with your tip below and we will choose one winner who gets a free Rebelle 4 upgrade!

Important notice: Rebelle 4 will be a paid upgrade. All users who purchased Rebelle 3 from October 15th, 2020 until the release of Rebelle 4 will have a free upgrade. That means if you want to give Rebelle a try, you should! Buying Rebelle 3 now will secure you a free upgrade to Rebelle 4.

Keep it creative!

Your Escape Motions Team


Image Courtesy: Rebelle Featured Artist Martin Hanschild

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