There are a few things in the world as precious as old pictures with large sentimental value. They help us relive joyful moments over and over again, regardless of their age. Unfortunately, the restrictive shades of black and white can often prevent us from fully appreciating them.
In order to nullify the negative effects of aging, image colorization was introduced. This method essentially breathes new life into the pictures, helping us visualize and refresh the memory of that particular event. While this was significantly harder to execute in its early stages of development, it has since become virtually automatic. With a large number of available tools to colorize black and white photos, it can be hard to pick just one. The following ten are some of the best of the bunch – read on to find out why.
If you’re a fan of hands-free methods, Image Colorizer is as automated as they get. This AI-based utility does all the hard work directly from its website without any sketchy downloads. Even though the machine learning algorithms analyze the image pixel by pixel, the whole process lasts no more than a few seconds. The self-explanatory interface means that anyone can use it with ease, regardless of their technological literacy. Image Colorizer is a FREE online tool, so you don’t need to worry about being charged. In addition, there is a downloadable app for both Android and iOS to maximize your time savings. Thus, this is a perfect tool to colorize black and white photos.
- Drag & drop/upload the image(s).
- Click on the “Start” button.
- Press the “Download” button and save the resulting image.
+ Algorithm improves over time
+ Quick & easy to use
+ Supports images of large size and resolution
+ Proper security measurements in place
+ Batch processing feature
+ Mobile apps
– Supports only three image formats
Algorithmia uses its own cloud-hosted deep learning models to automatically colorize photos. The computer vision algorithms are allegedly trained on millions of image samples to provide the highest quality results. The program is used from the browser, with a free version for personal use and paid alternatives for teams and enterprises.
- Paste a URL or upload a local image.
- Download either the comparison or the colorized version by itself.
+ Very easy to use
+ Has an API for developers
– Certain images end up oversaturated
– Takes a long time to process
– The quality is not as good as others
Unlike most of the other tools on the list, Lunapic is more than just a colorizer – it’s a full-fledged photo editor. It features over 200 different effects, drawing tools, borders, etc. The colorizing option itself is automatic, although users have the ability to modify the potency of colors.
- Upload image(s) through one of the six options.
- Select the colorizer option.
- Adjust the colorizing percentage if you wish.
- Click on the File->Save Image button.
+ Many customization options for further processing
+ Completely free
– The interface is very subpar
– Some of the options are difficult to find
– Takes a long time to process
– The color is weird
Simple but aesthetically pleasing, ColouriseSG uses deep learning models in order to colorize the pictures. Although it’s primarily made for old Singaporean photos, ColouriseSG is quite efficient with any image as long as it’s of a somewhat high resolution and has prominent human subjects/landscapes.
+ Very attractive and simple interface
+ High-quality results
– Targets very specific images
Pinetools is a mix of fully manual and fully automated tools. However, this tool is more like adding a filter to the image instead of colorizing it. The user selects a color from the color palette, as well as its potency in the final image. Pinetools supports three image formats -.PNG, .JPG and WebP. After you choose a color, the tool does the rest automatically.
+ A good combination for those who like to have some control
– Only one color can be selected per picture
– No option to upload multiple images at once
Yet another tool that relies on deep learning technology, Colorize Photos uses neural networks to teach its algorithm-specific image patterns in order to improve the coloring quality. The whole process takes only a few seconds, after which you get a temporary URL where you can download the final result.
+ Fast results
+ Quick and easy to use
– Generated URL’s only work for 10 minutes
– No batch processing feature
This program is actually an image colorizing API. It uses a deep-learning model that has been trained on color images and their black and white copies. After a long time of training, the program learns how to add colors back to black and white photos.
+ Fast and easy to use
+ Free online tool, don’t need to download
– Only allowed to upload an image of no more than 1200px
Even though it’s another AI-powered tool, Pixbim is fairly different from the previous entry. The largest dissimilarity is its variable efficiency which heavily depends on your PC’s processing power. Also, larger images can take a very long time to process in most cases. Pixbim has a fairly limited free version, while the paid one costs a whopping $39.99.
- Select a single or bulk of images from the menu.
- Choose between low and high color factor.
- Click on the “Start Process Full Image and Save” button.
+ Powered by AI
– Free version watermarks images
– Very expensive
– Requires a good PC to be efficient
– Do not have an online version
As with pretty much all image modifications, colorization was first practiced in Photoshop. While it’s one of the most professional approaches that you can resort to, Photoshop by itself is very feature-packed and complex to use. For an amateur user who simply wants to improve an old image or two easily and efficiently, this process can be quite challenging. Still, it’s not a bad choice if you’re someone who likes to have control over the entire procedure.
+ A lot of options
+ Full control to the user
– Very complex for beginners
– Manual colorization can take a long time
If you’re looking to use Photoshop’s approach without its complexity, Colorize Photo is the tool for the job. This browser-based utility relies on both the black & white image as well as a reference photo and leaves the full coloring process to the user. The brush has a lot of customization options – specifically for its size, hardness, opacity, and brightness. However, it can be hard for beginners to choose the right color.
- Upload the reference and black & white image.
- Select color and paint the appropriate area.
- Save the final result.
+ Feature packed
+ Useful for experienced users
– Beginners can find it difficult to color properly
If you want to colorize black and white photos – especially those which have large sentimental value – you shouldn’t settle for anything less than perfect. Image Colorizer is a jack of all trades with proper algorithms, techniques, and security measurements in place. After testing 10 image colorizer tools, here is a table to give a clear version to compare different elements of each tool.
|Easy to use||Running Speed||Professional||Price||Max upload limits|
This makes Image Colorizer a clear winner on the list while paving the road for its future improvements. Here is an article to give a detailed introduction of optimizing old photos, check it if you need it.