COLORIZATION PLUG-IN FOR ADOBE PHOTOSHOP
Colorizing old photographs has come a long way, and AKVIS has six versions of this software to prove it. Coloriage V.6.0 is another step in the right direction for image professionals who want great results in Photoshop (or from a standalone application), as it brings a little more performance and slightly better results than previous editions. It also adds support for EXIF and IPTC data as well as a new manual correction brush (Recolor Brush). I would, however, like to see the addition of more automated functions, such as a “magic wand” type selection tool with feather adjustment control.
Starting with an old Kodak T-MAX 400 35mm portrait image for this test, the idea was to start with the skin tones, but I found that starting with the eyes was more effective in order to see the contrast to the skin tone and to avoid oversaturation. Categories that include People, Glass, and Wood help make selections more appropriate to the subject. The AKVIS standard interface layout is clean and easy to navigate. Once you outline each portion to identify what elements receive color, hand correction is simple. Manual lines and erasing tools are there, along with multiple undos. Clicking on each tool also allows diameter adjustments, so accuracy is excellent. Your output appears (when applied in Photoshop) on its own layer as well.
Coloriage is a very good colorization tool that has a lot of features for its price. (It’s a bit steep for what can be done manually in Photoshop but it can save you time.) If you need to bring color to your memories, or you want to recolor current ones, AKVIS has a fine solution.—Daniel M. East
Company: AKVIS Software Inc.
Price: $97 (Home); $246 (Business)
Hot: Good colorizing; simple interface; EXIF data support
Not: No auto-color or “magic wand” selection tool