Revive Your Old Black and White Photos!

very good
key review info
application features
  • Grayscale converter and resizer
  • (2 more, see all...)

I’ve always wondered how were colorized some of the movies filmed in black and white in the first half on the past century, and I still wonder about that now. Colorizing black and white photos is a lot easier, I can tell you that for sure, because I can do it with a little bit of work.

The tools I use usually for turning sad and monotone greyscale images into vivid colored ones are Photoshop, GIMP or other image editors strong enough to help me with this task, but you don't have to be an image editing expert to do that!

As always, the shortest path to the end of our problem is the program that I target in my review today. Its name is Recolored and the purpose is to help you put some life into greyscale pictures easily, without any advanced knowledge.

The application can be downloaded as a 6.3MB ZIP archive or a smaller installation kit that weights 5.5MB. I had the archive file version, so all I had to do was unpack the files to a folder and fire up Recolored.exe. Let's check it out!

First of all, the interface of this program is a standard Windows interface, maybe a bit outdated, but I don't have any complaints about it. The main elements available are the menu bar, the toolbars and the work area. You can move the toolbars around as you like, and even dock them to the work area, in order to get the best out of this program.

Since these have been said, let's see what can be done to colorize an image.

First of all, you have to open a black and white picture. If you don't have one, no problem! Instead of looking on the Internet for a nice picture that you'd like to colorize, import one of your favorite color photos, using the File menu's Open command or by pressing Ctrl+O on your keyboard.

Now you have one color image loaded into Recolored. What next? Well, as I said, the idea is to make it black and white. In order to do that, you have to use the Image menu's Grayscale command. If needed, you can also resize it, using the second item available in this menu.

Now the hardest part of the colorizing process begins – drawing brush strokes inside the different areas of the image to indicate the desired colors. Most pictures require zooming in for accurate results, and Recolored allowed me to zoom up to 3000% ratio, which should be enough for everyone.

The Brush Tool is used to define the area that will be colored with the current foreground color. You don't have to be extremely accurate, since the program detects pretty well the different shapes in the image, but that also depends on the accuracy setting selected.

While drawing the brush strokes, you can also use the Eraser or the Color Replacer tools to achieve greater accuracy, accompanied by their other team mates that I'll leave for you to discover.

Once you think the job is finished, hit the C key or use the Colorize item from the Tools menu, if you like the long roads. The first result may be disappointing, but there's always room for improvement.

Recolored allows you to display the greyscale source image and the colorized result cascaded and tiled horizontally or vertically, so you can better enjoy it. The tutorials offered in the Help menu are a great way to get you started, so don't hesitate to check them out!

Let the colorization begin!

The Good

Recolored is very easy to use once you understand its basics, and that won't take long at all. This program is very good at its job, and this is the best thing about it. Oh! It seems I forgot the color presets library so far, but you can't miss it. Just look around!

The Bad

When using the very high quality setting, the colorization of a small picture took over one minute, but the result worth the wait. Recolored doesn't support PSD or TIFF files, and that would be a great addition for the future, as well as some basic image adjustment features, such as hue/saturation and brightness/contrast controls. Also the price seems a bit high for what it offers at this time.

The Truth

I know that my ratings can be considered low, this is a great program rocketing for a five star position, but not quite there yet. It can be yours for free during three weeks, and my only advice is to get it as soon as possible, it's going to be a lot of fun!

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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user interface 3
features 4
ease of use 4
pricing / value 3

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good