Colorising photos for dramatic effect is an idea that's been around a while, even before the computer age, so there's nothing dramatically new in ColorizIt, created in Qt for all Symbian touchscreen smartphones. However, it's available, it's very cheap and it's just about perfectly implemented - what more could you want? Perfect for whiling away a boring train journey, jazzing up your favourite photos...
The idea, if it's not immediately obvious from the screenshots here, is to take a colour photo from your phone's gallery, convert it to monochrome and then manually 'paint' in the original colour for a specific subject that you want to highlight. It's an arty effect, fun to do and the results can be stunning.
I loved the way ColorizIt starts up with an infographic that explains all this succinctly - a lovely touch. You're then into a neutral grey background and the first order of the day is pick a photo. I had one of our guinea pig that should work rather well...
The main interface of ColorizIt comparises a top toolbar, with brush style/shape, a colorize/revert toggle (so that you can paint bits of grey back again round the edges later, if needed), a 'vivid' red colour (which can't be changed, at present) should you want something dramatic rather than the original subject colour, and an 'Undo' control (with multiple levels of undo, thankfully, one for each brushstroke); and a bottom toolbar, with Exit, Load/Save/Share, and touch mode.
This last mode is important, as it toggles between painting, zooming and panning around. You'll need to do a fair amount of zooming and panning if you want to be reasonably accurate with your finger repainting - my rough and ready example here took about five minutes to do, but expect to take twice this in order to end up with something more polished.
As you'll see from these screenshots, you literally paint the original colour back on, with the software supplying the colour information as your finger (and thus virtual brush) passes over each spot or section. Zooming and panning are both smooth and you'll have no problems getting to all parts of your photo in as much detail as you need. Single tapping the photo at any point toddles the UI toolbars on and off, so that you can see more of the image.
There's something rather magical about seeing colour appear 'out of nowhere', even though this is a relatively simple trick with digital images and their colour palettes.
When done, you can save the photo to your phone's gallery (as a new image - the original isn't touched, thankfully), for viewing or using later. There's also built-in Facebook integration to post directly for your 'Friends' to see, with the image put into a new ColorizIt album. No title or description is provided though, so you'd have to go into Facebook on your desktop to add these.
Although the screens here are shown in Portrait mode, ColorizIt also works in landscape, if that's how you prefer to work on your smartphone.
The use of Qt won't be an issue to most people, though there may still be S60 5th Edition phone owners who have been holding out on installing the Qt runtimes because of low system disk (C:) space.
It's certainly not a problem on the Symbian^3 phones, which already have Qt embedded in their firmware. We've seen a fair few Qt-based applications appear over the last month and most have been pretty slick - none more so than ColorizIt, with an (almost) perfect interface (all that's really missing are ways to change the vivid colour and Facebook photo descriptions), slick and fast performance, and delivering a genuinely fun and useful photo-enhancement function. Yes, it's £1 rather than free, but that's a trivial price for something that will make you (and your children or grandchildren) smile.
Steve Litchfield, All About Symbian, 17 March 2011
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at