What’s all the buzz about Vivid-Pix Restore? Watching the steady stream of traffic lined up at Vivid-Pix’s RootsTech 2020 booth and hearing the endorsements of genealogists I respect, I decided to explore their restoration software for myself.
Full disclosure, Vivid-Pix has extended affiliate links and discounts (denoted in red) to interested readers. Nevertheless, this is an honest review.
Another disclosure: I’m an amateur photographer and user of Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Photoshop Elements software. I’m also a control freak. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Restore is a software (not a subscription) designed to help users “restore scanned prints, slides, documents, and images in seconds. It is available for both Mac and Windows.
Unlike most imaging software, it works on documents as well as photographs.
Restore retails for an affordable $49.99 and offers a free trial. (Use this link for a free-trial and 20% discount).
Note: Results are subjective
Since the user chooses which of the nine suggested results to pursue, the results of auto fixes of the same photo can vary by the user, or users’ device, room conditions, etc. My “restoration” of a document might be for legibility, not aesthetics.
Restore’s ease of use tops the list of pros.
You can open a batch of photos to process. Restore remembers the directory path will save your “fix” in a separate file with a suffix.
The first dialogue gives you nine possible corrections based on your choice of
- Faded print or slide
- Badly faded print or slide
- Digital or cell phone camera
- Faded Document or text
The second step offers a more detailed edit, allowing you to increase or decrease light, contrast, vividness, and color spectrum. You can also decide if you want to keep the aged color, have a true black and white result, or keep your old photo in sepia tones.
Restore’s artificial intelligence renders fast, easy, and pleasing fixes for faded photographs and hard-to-read documents. I really like how Restore gives photos a brightness without crossing over into over-saturation.
For instance, you can see the before and after of a 1980s Kodachrome slide I’d scanned.
For me, the ability to use Restore on my documents alone makes it worth the price.
It’s getting harder to find software than doesn’t lock you into a monthly charge. I love that you can simply buy and download this product.
Restore Doesn’t Fix Everything
Though the name might suggest that it restores any and all boo-boos a photo might collect over the decades, Restore stays in its lane. It’s a quick and easy fix for faded photographs and documents, as well as for some problems with digital photos.
It won’t remove tears, lighten shadows without over-exposing the light areas, or get rid of dust or hairs that were scanned in with the photos.
Limited options for control freaks
I’m used to LOTS of options (like straightening photos), so Restore felt a little limited to me. My biggest feature request would be to allow users to zoom in on photos as they fine-tune. Many of us are interested in optimizing one part of the photo, such as a face.
How it Compares to Other Adobe’s Photoshop Elements
Though you can find reviews on the Internet which compare Restore and Adobe Lightroom’s one click adjustments, Lightroom is designed for developing digital photography, not fixing scans.
The Adobe product most comparable to Restore is PhotoShop Elements which lists for $99, though you can occasionally find it for around $80. This is Adobe’s “user friendly” product that is marketed to non-professionals—amateurs photographers and graphic artists. That price includes organizational software as well as an editor that works in “Quick,” “Guided,” and “Expert” modes.
As stated above, I use Adobe’s Lightroom (for developing my nature photography), Photoshop (for designing graphics and doing heavier photo editing and restoration) and PhotoShop Elements (for less involved graphics and editing).
Here are some comparisons from rescued photos from the 1913 Gettysburg Reunion. I’d already edited the photos with Photoshop Elements. I went back to the originals to give Restore a whirl.
Summary: I’d Recommend Vivid-Pix Restore
Does it live up to the hype of the “magic button” for photoshopping? No. Photoshop and Photoshop Elements offer many features that Restore doesn’t.
But… (You knew a “but” was coming, right?)
It scores super-high in the user-friendliness department. In addition, you don’t always need those additional features. And the learning curve is quite easy.
For ease of use and superior results, I’d recommend Restore for the family photographer’s or genealogist’s toolbox. It might not be the ONLY tool you’ll need, but it’s certainly a useful and affordable one.