Pop-culture buzzword of the moment: Artificial Intelligence, or AI. You’ll usually find it near the phrase, “Sometime in the future…”. VIVID_PIX software, however, brings AI to a task for which people typically spend hours getting hit-or-miss results: restoring old photos, slides, and documents. With the AI in Vivid-Pix RESTORE, you can get high-quality, consistent, and fast results. The AI also makes RESTORE easy to use.
Typically, if you wanted to restore a photo, you scan it and open it up in a photo editing software product. Then you stare at it thinking, “Now what?” Experts on other software have created scripts and various kinds of automated tasks to restore photos. If you have found and installed those, you might try one. If it doesn’t work out, you go back to square one.
The difference with RESTORE is that it is focused on restoration not general photo editing, so you won’t find yourself staring at a screen wondering what to do.
I tested on a Windows computer, but the software also comes in a Mac version. The installation was easy and much faster than I anticipated. For a test photo, I retrieved a picture from one of my Mom’s albums, a photo of one of my aunts taken in 1929. For a document, I found a newspaper with a story about my school’s football team from 1996.
The software opened in easy-edit, two-up mode, with frames for an original and an altered image. I selected both of my test images. On the basis of how they were named, it chose the newspaper. The AI created a nine-up grid with various improved versions of the newspaper. By default, it treats everything as a “Faded Print or Slide,” but gives you four other options. I chose “Faded Document or Text.” This re-populated the nine-up grid with much better options. I chose the one that looked best to me.
This brought the program back to the two-up screen with the original on the left and my choice on the right. My scan was slightly askew, so I tried the rotation option to straighten it. Dragging the slider was way too sensitive for the small correction I needed, but there are arrows for small corrections, and these worked.
The two-up screen starts in “Easy Edit” mode. I switched to “Detail Edit.” From here I was able to crank up the blue in the football player’s shirt. I also turned off sharpening. This made the text slightly fuzzy, but the photo in the middle of the page was improved. This page also allows you to adjust the amount of sharpness.
I clicked the “Save/Next” button, saving the document to the default folder and bringing up the picture of my aunt. I went with the AI’s recommendation this time. The default correction hinted at colors I didn’t realize were there. The detail edit allowed me to increase the colors even more.
I also liked the fact that the program does not overwrite your original, but by default makes a copy. And, if you have a group of photos which are going to need the same enhancements, you can save those as a preset. These features make the workflow much easier.
Besides making images look great, the software provides a metadata editor. When a graphic exists on a computer, the file contains informational text. At a minimum you see dates such as when the file was created or modified. The metadata editor in RESTORE lets you add notes such as “Grandma and Grandpa Smith in Tacoma in 1921.” If you enjoy recording and sharing family history RESTORE will give you genealogical superpowers.
I noticed some specks and a tear on the picture of my aunt and looked through the menus for a tool to fix these. No luck. I contacted support and they confirmed my suspicion that the software had no tool to do what is called “healing.” They did say that creating such a tool was high on their list of planned enhancements, but they had no idea when that improvement would be ready. Until that tool arrives in RESTORE, you’d need to supplement it with free or low-cost programs such as Windows Photo or Adobe Lightroom to achieve a perfect photo.
Is there anything that you can do with Vivid-Pix RESTORE that you cannot do with other software? No, but with Vivid-Pix RESTORE you can do it easier, faster, and without devoting years to learning the ins-and-outs of programs like Photoshop. It’s also inexpensive at $49.99 and comes with a 10-picture trial, so you can be sure you like it before you commit. If you have a pile of old pictures, slides or documents you want to rejuvenate, you should definitely check out this software. Their website contains tutorials and samples.