ColorSplash is one of two simple and powerful photo editing apps from Pocket Pixels, Inc. Like its companion, Juxtaposer, it’s a one-trick pony. ColorSplash converts any graphic to a gray scale overlay that can be swiped away to selectively paint your photo with color. Although it comes with four detailed tutorial movies, using it is nearly intuitive. Choose a color photograph from your library. The photograph is imported into the app, where a grayscale copy is made and overlaid on the original. Then you get to the fun part: pick an area to colorize, tap it, and the gray vanishes to let the true color come shining through. ColorSplash seems to read your mind, stopping the color at the edges of the selection. For details, spread your fingers to enlarge your work and pinch them to contract. An infinite undo tool erases mistakes. Use the accelerometer to instantly change the view to portrait or landscape. Controls at the bottom edge make it easy to switch from colorizing to graying with a tap. A zoom-pan tool turns off the editing functions, but once you get the hang of working in the app it’s easier to just use the two-finger move to pan, and spread or pinch movements to zoom. Both color and grayscale functions can use fader brushes that allow just a touch of color to show through. For areas that show very little contrast with the background layer, tap the red dot and your colorizing brush spreads a red fog that helps you define boundaries. The fog is gone when the finished work is saved. Sessions can be saved to continue later, and finished work can be posted to Flickr, Facebook or Twitter.

To test the app I chose two cultural icons, one American and the other Russian. The ’57 Chevy was almost too easy. I tapped the car in two places and about 80% of it appeared in color with very little over-spray on the background. I zoomed the photo, wiped color onto the rest of the Chevy, cleaned up a few background areas and it was ready to save. Not bad at all for a total n00b! St. Basil’s was a little more of a challenge with its ornate onion domes topped with gleaming gold spheres. Here, the mega-zoom function came in handy. With a few swipes, I was able to greatly enlarge the image, trace the curves and turn the bright blue Moscow sky a somber Soviet gray while exposing the brilliant colors of the domes.

ColorSplash is a testament to the rebirth of tightly-written code inspired by the App Store and the iPod touch. A wish list might include sepia-tone and blue filters for the backgrounds and gamma adjustment for the color, but ColorSplash is superb the way it is.


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