Get together for some coloring-in with Colorized

Colorized is a new iOS-based photo sharing and manipulation app from Happiness Engines Inc. It’s available now as a free download for iPhone from the App Store, and is currently featured in the New & Noteworthy section of the store’s front page.

Colorized is an app that allows users to turn any image into a communal “coloring book.” It’s possible to either take a picture using the device’s camera and automatically convert it to line-art or an image that looks as if it has been drawn with pastels, and then scribble all over the top of it using a freehand drawing tool, a spray can or a variety of stickers, most of which must be acquired via in-app purchase. The original photograph’s opacity may be altered at will, so it’s possible to use the app as a “tracing” tool and then remove the source material altogether if desired. It’s also possible to start from a completely blank canvas and draw anything using the tools.

If Colorized was nothing more than this, it would be a solid — if somewhat basic — sketching app for iPhone. But the thing that makes this app much more interesting is its added social layer. Once a drawing/coloring has been completed, it can be shared on Facebook, Twitter and the app’s built-in social network. From there it can be “liked” and commented on as per usual for mobile-social networks, but the most interesting aspect is the fact that any user can pick up an image and “remix” it with their own contributions.

The network already plays host to several communal creations that started as crude sketches and have become increasingly-elaborate over time — though equally there are a number of creations whose “remixes” are more “reposts.” This said, it’s possible to track the “route” a remix has taken back to its original source very easily, so there’s little fear of particularly good creations being passed off as someone else’s.

Colorized is an excellent idea that is mostly well-implemented. The app features a slick, intuitive interface that is simple enough for users of all ages to enjoy — and it would also potentially make a good app for parents to use with their children. The social layer, while solid, needs a few additions, however — there does not appear to be a means of blocking or reporting an abusive user, for example, and there also does not appear to be the facility to report, hide or block an individual post. This means that there is significant potential for “griefing” through the remix functionality — it doesn’t take much imagination to picture to what nefarious ends the freeform drawing tool could be used, for example.

The app could also do with some offline functionality — at present, the only way to “save” a finished creation appears to be to publish it online, whereas those using the app as a “coloring book” with young children may prefer the option to save directly and solely to the camera roll, bypassing the social layer altogether. This does not appear to be possible at this time, and would be a good addition in a future update.

It’s also worth noting that when tested, the app crashed on a fairly regular basis, potentially losing the user’s hard work. This issue needs to be addressed as a priority in a future update before Colorized can be recommended without hesitation, but despite this, it is off to a good start and has the potential to become an addictive new craze for those who enjoy doing creative things with their photographs.

Colorized does not appear to be listed on the App Store leaderboards at the time of writing. Check back shortly to follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.