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Eleven and a half apps to easily colorize your black and white photos

22 mayo, 2021

Some time ago, our colleagues at Engadget addressed a question that every lover of photography will have noticed: the difficult art of restoring color to old images in black and white. A real challenge and an arduous task that we can carry out in multiple ways –even with digitizing tablets- and in which, inevitably, the necessary photographic retouching applications intervene and, above all, a lot of patience.

However, we currently have a kind of tools -Alternatives to traditional Photoshop, Gimp and the like- that give us the possibility of achieving more than worthy results in a very short time, regardless of the complications. We opted for these five that we have decided to explain in depth.


Recolored, among others, is one of them. A utility that will give you the ability to color your photographs In a few minutes and achieve a fairly realistic result. Thus, the application has a simple and intuitive interface, at the top of which we come across the menu and the toolbox that we are going to use.

As in many others of this type, in the central part is where the capture that we are about to edit is located. On the right is the color palette and a series of categories that correspond to different parts and that will help us to choose the tone with which to “paint” the image. Among them, for example, we find: skin, hair, lips, eyes, water, sky, clouds, stones, jeans, metals, etc. Be careful because no, they do not serve to select parts of the photo.

A task, the latter, that we must carry out with the help of the aforementioned tools, with which we will delimit those areas they will have the same color. The final result will depend on the precision and detail, which will be shown after pressing the Colorize button, at which point Recolored will begin to process the changes.

Photo Art. Color Effects


Photo Art is a mobile application that will allow you to carry out coloring through your smartphone. A utility in which, although you will find other editing options, is of great help when carrying out the process that concerns us.

The app, in particular, has 12 types of brushes and the possibility of enlarging the image everything you need to operate with precision. Keep in mind that the selection is made with your fingers, although we recommend that you opt for a specific pointer. At the end and among others, it leaves you share the result on social networks.

Color Touch Effects

Color effects

Also for Android devices we highlight Color Touch Effects or Color Effects (by its name in Spanish); an application in which it is also easy to color certain areas –among other features-. Zoom with two fingers, apply different effects, move selected parts, import photos from your camera, Facebook, gallery and more; and share the result on social networks with your contacts.

Another of its virtues of this tool is that it allows you to select the type of brush and its opacity, as well as its size, something that is appreciated in the finest details, above all. As in the previous one and other photo editing tools on the mobile, our prescription is that you use a pointer.

Black magic


As for Black Magic and as its name suggests, it is other specific software only compatible with Windows computers. The system incorporates Time Brush RLC ”, a technology Originally created to color motion pictures of Hollywood artists. It works by identifying the type of object to be colored and provides it with an integrated, coherent hue, with optimal brightness, saturation, and opacity.

Despite its advantages, we cannot fail to indicate that it is a paid program, the price of which fluctuates between 50 and 200 dollars depending on the type of edition –home, business or professional-, as each one of them provides some benefits. In any case, it is worth it and offers a free trial of one month of use.

Cad-Kas Photo Colorizer


To use Cad-Kas Photo Colorizer you will also have to download it to your PC (it only works with Windows). In this tool it is enough to choose the colors of the different objects in the photo. A task for which we have at our disposal a list of predefined settings in which common elements such as the sky, sand, etc. appear.

Another of its possibilities is that it allows you to modify the tones of the color images. To see how it works, you can download the video-tutorial that you will find on their website. The application also has a free trial version.



With the motto “transform the black and white of your photographs into color images”, Codijy is nominated as one of our favorites. Thus, this tool payment (It costs about 60 euros, although you can try it for free) it is capable of applying colors to black and white photos almost automatically, and much more.

To start using it, its developers put at our disposal a complete tutorial that covers aspects such as the protection of objects in black and white, the selection of certain objects, the drawing of basic lines, and so on. Click here to learn to use it.


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We cannot stop talking about Snapseed as well, which, although it has multiple editing options –as the analysis of our colleagues at Engadget Foto shows–, constitutes an interesting alternative when it comes to providing a touch of color to our captures .

The reason? That the black and white setting comes with some very automatic features interesting and that, in addition, allows us to work with color filters, in a very similar way to Photoshop.

Color Me-Color Splash Effect

Color Splash Effect is another perfect Android app for those who love the contrast who manages to introduce a piece of color into a black and white image, but who doesn’t want to spend too much time getting the effect. In this case, all you have to do is select a black and white photo, slide your finger over the areas where you want to recover the color.

Specifically, it has several buttons, located at the bottom of the screen, which allow us to give color, draw with a brush (and repaint that area in black and white, retouch, etc.), move the image, focus on the image. part that interests us and the like. In addition, it includes other characteristics that go beyond mere coloring, which we will focus on on subsequent occasions.

Dash of color


Dash of color is a free app compatible with Android and iOS that also lets us color selectively. He does it hand in hand interface without too many complications, in which we can start finger painting immediately.

Also, it is not necessary that worry about mistakes, since the utility carries out a history of each step, as well as an eraser brush that will allow you to retouch. It also integrates the possibility of publishing your photos on social networks, sending them by email to your acquaintances and more. Color Splurge is another app that acts in a very similar way and that you will find in the Apple and Google stores. The same thing happens with Color Effects, and Autocolorize Pro, only for devices from the firm of the apple, yes.

AKVIS Coloriage

Akvis Coloriage, for its part, also offers us the option of manipulating the colors of the image, giving it new tones, changing the originals, painting old photographs, and so on. Like most of those that precede it in this list, it does not require advanced knowledge but is based on the selection of objects.

Indicates with the brush which ones you want to modify and set the new color that will immediately adapt to the shadows and other characteristics of the photograph, creating a highly integrated result. It also allows selectively desaturating, although the functionality of the program depends on the type of license we choose.

Colorize Photo

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Colorize Photo, to finish, it is a web photo editor (That is, you can use it without having to download any software). The service starts with a sample photo, but we can upload ours in the “open” section, located at the top of the screen.

In the right area we have a color picker which is based on other photographs. What we will have to do is, with the brush, paint those places of the capture that we want to alter. It is possible to alter the opacity, size, brightness and other characteristics.

Other initiatives


Apart from the commented applications, we cannot fail to comment that, at the beginning of April, a new study entitled Colorful Image Colorization raised the use of convolutional neural networks so that the coloring process was carried out automatically.

Specifically, it is a system that has been based on more than 1 million color photographs, information that it uses to achieve results that, although not perfect, are correct in a 20% of the time. A mechanism developed by scientists at the University of Berkeley (California) that still has a long way to go, but it is an excellent starting point.

Likewise, those responsible affirm that, given their nature (based on learning), the system is capable of improving as the number of catches analyzed increases. For more information and technical details, you can go to GitHub, where you will also find the code that will allow you to run it.

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The image that precedes this paragraph corresponds to the collection of landscapes by photographer Ansel Adams, which gives us the opportunity to appreciate first-hand where the algorithm is. You can also try the tool through this website, in which it will be enough to enter the url of a photo to color it. Another option is to opt for one of the sample images, including animals, scenes of daily life, seascapes and others, and cars (so you can make a composition of the place).

In Engadget Photo | How to colorize black and white photos in Photoshop