Vivid-Pix Restore Review by Mike Lewis for Transmedia World Wide
Every family has photos from the past which aren’t in the best shape. I had a grandmother who had a number of photos from weddings which, after sitting in the same spot for decades, were exposed to sunlight to such a degree that they became faded and sun-bleached. The modern age has presented us with the opportunity that not only does virtually everyone have access to a camera of some degree, we have the means to preserving the photos by backing them up in some fashion. But as for those older photos, some might see that as being a lost cause. Even if you happen to have the negatives, the real issues is trying to find a means to develop them and these days that’s become more and more of a lost art.
While there are websites which cater to photo repair, most these are rather expensive. I ran across one site charging $35 per photo. This can be a rather large sum of money if you happen to have a number of photos that you’d like to restore. You could purchase something like Photoshop or even Lightroom but there’s a rather high learning curve with these, Lightroom in particular although as a photographer, it’s a rather important tool but not necessarily for photo restoration.
Vivid-Pix Restore is designed to help even novice graphic artists and photographers restore some of those precious or long-lost memories. The program is simple enough that I’m fairly convinced that even my eight-year-old daughter could use it without a problem, something that I will probably do a video for at another time. You really don’t need to know much about photography or graphic arts in order to use the program. Of course, one of the first things that you’ll need however would be those old photos. This is where scanning them is going to help and most printers allow this option. For things such as slides and even negatives, there are a number of different methods to do this with the Wolverine Titan being one option.
Once you have your scans set up, you can simply open the folder and bring them into Vivid-Pix. Right from the start the program will show you the photos and then give you nine different options of how you’d like the photo to look. You also have the option of selecting what you’re are fixing. There is faded, badly faded, a cell phone or digital photo, a faded document, or you can simply add in metadata. I did find that while it’s not listed, you can even import a RAW photo into the program. While I did try this with a number of concert photos I’ve taken over the years, this is one area where I have to state that I wasn’t impressed with the results and I will stick with Lightroom when it comes to this type of file. You can also just drag a photo into the program instead of selecting a batch of them.
The program starts in Easy Mode. This is simply a number of presets, those nine options I mentioned early. If you decide that you don’t like what you’d selected with the photo you can easily change by using the Reset Corrections option. Vivid-Pix will also sharpen images although I would recommend checking photos using the Zoom tool. There are times when sharpening an image can make it too grainy and not suitable for printing. But what if the photo still doesn’t look good? That’s where you can opt to use the Detail Edit feature. Here you can adjust various settings. These include the lightness, contrast, vividness and sharpening as well as the colors.
One of the reasons that Vivid-Pix sounded appealing is that a number of years ago after my grandmother passed, I found a box full of old photographs that she had been setting aside. These were things that were important to her although with her now being gone, there are definitely some family members that we really have no idea who they are. While I scanned most of what was in the box, I really didn’t have the time to go through everything and try and do what I could to repair them or attempt to get them back to close to their original appearance. I needed something that was quick, something that I didn’t need to invest countless hours to like I would with Photoshop of Lightroom. Vivid-Pix has managed to salvage a number of these as you’ll see in the samples below.
However, the program isn’t a miracle worker. There are some images that it simply can’t fix. Things such as dust on photos or slides can’t be repaired with the program and this is something I’d certainly like to see possibly included in a future update. I also have a number of slides that I had bought randomly at an estate sale a few years ago. Many of them are faded or discolored to such a degree that no matter what I attempted; I couldn’t restore them. Blurred photos are also something of a lost cause. Even with my efforts to sharpen them, the reality quickly set in that not everyone in my family understood the fundamentals of photography.
It may not be able to fix every photo, but for the low retail price and the simplicity of it, Vivid-Pix is going to be just the thing to help out a number of people trying to get those old photos looking better for digital collections or reprinting. Again, as someone who knows a thing or two about the high-end graphic arts and photography applications on the market, this has been incredibly easy to use. Although there are a few bells and whistles I wish were a part of it, what you do get is going to prove to be more than helpful to restore that old collection of slides and photos that has been tucked away for decades.