Photo App Review: Color Thief – A Spiffy Color Transfer Tool
Version reviewed: 1.0
Bottom Line: I like it a lot! An often amazing tool to transfer colors and tonal qualities from image to image.
New photo utility Color Thief transfers colors and tones from one photo to the next. This is going to be a fairly short review. Color Thief is an app with a singular purpose and it does that task very, very well.
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Color Thief transfers the tonal and color qualities of one image to another selected image. For instance, if I have a bright image full of warm colors and I want it to look and feel more like an image I have full of dark tones and deep blue hues, Color Thief will intelligently transfer the tones of the source image to the destination image. The filters and algorithms it uses are very impressive. In my tests, most of the time, my test images ended up looking like they were shot with the same app and filters.
The app works great and does what it advertises 100% of the time. Most of the time, my results were amazing and often looked a lot better than I expected.
Any glitches I encountered were the result of two really incompatible images. I tried blending an image with a lot of hot pink saturation over the image of my dad and I in the car which is a very cool, flat image. The app worked great; the results were… interesting.
The interface is very simple. Just import two images into the app and toggle the arrow to set the source and destination images. There are no adjustments, but the app does a great job on its own in mapping tones and colors. You can save each image independently and the app saves images at their original resolution. Color Thief had no problems with my 8MP images. It also preserved any embedded EXIF data including location data. Image size didn’t really matter. You can transfer colors from a 1MP image to an 8MP image with no loss in image quality or resolution.
Color Thief has a ton of uses. It can be used to balance out images used in a multi-pic collage. It can be used to replicate many photo app filters by applying the color and tonal values of the original filtered image. Life In LoFi reader Miki Ballard also suggested “maybe a cheat sheet for photos that you see online but whose filter recipe is a secret.” I’ll be using this app in my graphic design studio to quickly and easily color balance groups of customer-supplied images for ads and other projects. The moves that Color Thief does in seconds would take hundreds of times as long to try and replicate in Photoshop.
I’m excited about Color Thief. It’s an easy to use app that does some powerful color manipulations under the hood. The color moves that it makes are nearly always impressive and amazing. Highly recommended!
Color Thief is $1.99. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.