Miscellaneous Ramblings

Color It 4.5 Does Work with Intel Macs

Charles Moore - 2009.02.23 - Tip Jar

Responding to my comment in last week's 'Book Value column about my slow migration to my new Unibody MacBook that I was having difficulty getting Color It! (which we'll henceforth refer to without the exclamation mark) 4.5 to work, Wayne Davis of Digimage Arts (and CI's developer) kindly wrote.

Color It 4.5 works fine on Intel-processor Macs, and in fact is running right now on a 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 15" MacBook Pro next to me running 10.5.6. So it should run on your new MacBook without any problems.

The first thing to do is to run Repair Disk Permissions in the Utilities folder. We've found that fixes all sorts of weird little things in OS X. If that doesn't solve the problem, you could Trash the Prefs file, but in OS X that's kind of an involved process (see below); it's easier to just reinstall from the original CD.

If you've got any questions please let me know!

Trash Prefs in Color It 4.5: Make sure Color It is not running. In the Finder, hold down the Control key and click on the icon for the Color It program. A pop-up menu appears. Choose the "Show Package Contents" command. A window opens. Double-click on the Contents folder to open it. The Contents window opens. Double-click on the MacOSClassic folder to open it. The MacOSClassic window opens. Double-click on the Color It Stuff folder to open it. Take the file named "Color It 4.5 Prefs" and throw it in the Trash. Empty the Trash. Close the Color It Stuff window. Double-click on the Color It program icon to start the program. When the program starts and does not find a Prefs file, it will create a new Prefs file with default settings.

Wayne Davis
Digimage Arts

I very much appreciate Wayne's forwarding the information and tutorial tips, and it's a great relief to have it confirmed that Color It will still work on the Intel machine.

I decided to take nothing to chance and trashed the old copy that I'd dragged over from the PowerBook, then followed Wayne's instructions for trashing the preferences, started it up, and reentered the serial number.

Works like a charm. One more thing off my configuration To Do list. :-)

Deep Roots

Speaking of Color It, this tremendous little program which can trace its roots back to the days of 680x0 Macs, remains my workaday image editor of choice - not as powerful or richly featured as Photoshop Elements 6 or Pixelmator 1.4, but it's faster (starting virtually instantly on my not exactly cutting edge G3 and G4 hardware. It also - Classic Mac OS version - launches on our old 233 MHz PowerBook G3 in less than four seconds), and has a light, quick, nimble feel to its user interface compared to especially the formidable but ponderous Photoshop Elements.

I've used Color It as my workhorse graphic app since way back on my old 25 MHz 68030 LC 520 running System 7.1, and it was even speedy (and worked pretty much as it does today) on that hardware.

Color It has always been a pleasant place to be in the virtual world, and version 4.5 is comfortably familiar territory for anyone conversant with previous versions. There is no Universal Binary version, and given the historical rate of development for this program, I wouldn't advise holding one's breath waiting for one, but it really shouldn't be an issue as far as performance is concerned.

Color It 4.5 running on a MacBook
Color It 4.5 running on a MacBook.

Color It just flies on my 1.33 GHz PowerBook G4 and is much faster than any other image editor I've tried. Just as the Classic version of Color It 4 continues to provide sparkling performance in OS X Classic Mode on PowerPC Macs, so long as Rosetta emulation is supported on Macintels, there should be no cause for concern in this regard (provided you get those new preferences configured). Color It is extremely efficiently coded, and, for example, still only demands a piddling 6 MB of RAM.

Transferable Skills

One cool thing about Color It is that it has always worked a lot like Photoshop, so the skills you develop using one of these programs will to a considerable degree transfer to the other. There are distinctions and differences, of course, but not ones so radical that you have to climb a steep learning or adjustment curve when switching.

Bitmap graphics (or paint) programs are all essentially descended from the MacPaint application that shipped with the original Macs back in 1984. There used to be a passel of paint programs for the Mac, including Photoshop, Canvas, Painter, SuperPaint, UltraPaint, Expert Color Paint (a licensed version of Color It 1.0), the painting module in HyperCard, PixelPaint Pro, MacPaint itself, and more.

Of all of these, Color It came closest to being an all-round Photoshop substitute "for the rest of us" at a fraction of Photoshop's price, which is probably why it is still around while most of the others mentioned above have been pushing up daisies in the software boneyard for years.

Paint It's convolution tool
Paint It's convolution tool.

Color It's curves toolBack in the day, Color It even offered some features that contemporaneous Photoshop didn't at the time, notably including multiple undos and a convolution editor that applies convolutions (numerical pixel-by-pixel operations) on the fly as you paint. Color It also happily supports Photoshop plugins, vastly expanding its built-in versatility, and has a customizable toolbox, user-friendly color controls with an intuitive slider-bar motif, anti-aliasing and feathering options, an Unsharp Mask function, and selection and masking tools. Color It also supports pressure-sensitive control over input (if you have a pressure-sensitive drawing tablet like Wacom's), does color corrections with its Levels and Curves commands, and allows you to edit color channels separately using paint tools and special-effects filters, including CMYK separation channels.

Color It 4.5 for OS X supports all of these features and more.

While Color It's execution of certain functions is less precise and powerful than Photoshop's, it is more than adequate for the needs of novices and advanced amateurs, as well as light professional use. It is also, as noted, enough like Photoshop that those who've learned that program will not have a steep learning-curve to climb.

For the sort of graphics work I typically do, such as converting screenshots to GIFs or JPEGs for the Web, or doing simple image editing, creating line art drawings for article illustrations, cleaning up product photos, and the like, using Photoshop - even Photoshop Elements - seems like the proverbial swatting flies with a sledgehammer. Color It is a much better and more convenient alternative.

Color It toolsWith Color It 4.5 you can:

  • Create, view, edit, and save animated GIF files without leaving the program
  • Catalog your image files for quicker browsing and retrieval.
  • Export documents with clipping paths.
  • Remove scratches, dust, redeye & more from scanned or digital photographs with the program's built-in filters.
  • Open and save PNG and progressive JPEG files.
  • Quickly create client- and server-side image maps for the Web by simply defining shapes around parts of an image.
  • Apply linear or radial effects to gradient fills.
  • Minimize color tables to create smaller GIF files for your Web pages.
  • Mix paint and pasted images together with different effects using Color It 4.5's paint transfer modes.

There is an excellent, illustrated 123-page user manual and tutorial included in PDF format, including exhaustively detailed descriptions and instructions for all menu commands.

It's been my observation over long experience with Color It that people who use it tend to become enthusiastic fans of the program. And understandably so. It's a powerful bitmap graphics application with an extremely user-friendly, attractive and well-engineered interface at a barely more than shareware price.

Hopefully, Color It development will continue and someday there will be a Universal Binary or even an Intel-native version

In summary....


  • Rich and powerful feature set
  • Small, economical of memory
  • Fast!
  • User-friendly
  • Stable, highly polished program


  • Some functions not as powerful or precise as they would be in Photoshop
  • Color It's eraser tool is a bit poky
  • Doesn't support PDF files

System Requirements:

  • A Macintosh computer with a G3 or greater PowerPC chip (G3, G4 or G5) or a Mac with an Intel chip (Intel-based Macs will utilize Apple's Rosetta technology)
  • A mere 6 MB of RAM
  • A hard disk with at least 20 MB free
  • Mac OS X, version 10.0 or above (version 4.5 will not function in Mac OS 9 or earlier)
  • Video that supports at least 256 grays or colors


  • If you own Color It 4.0 or Enhance 4.0, you can upgrade to Color It 4.5 for $39.95. You will need to provide your Color It 4.0 or Enhance 4.0 Registration number when you order (your Registration number can be viewed by choosing the "About Color It" or "About Enhance" command under the Apple menu).
  • If you own a previous version of Color It or Enhance or any version of Digimage Arts' other products (Digital Darkroom or wwwART), you may purchase Color It 4.5 for $49.95.
  • If you do not presently own any of these products, the purchase price of Color It 4.5 is $59.95.

Shipping and Handling:

  • $5 for US destinations
  • $7 for Canada
  • $15 for international destinations

Shipments in the US and Canada are sent via First Class mail. International shipments are sent via Global Priority Mail where available (usually 4-6 days).

For more information, call: 800-388-8109 toll-free (US and Canada) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. US Central time Monday through Friday. International customers may call +01-515-462-5930.

Order by postal mail from:

Digimage Arts
PO Box 269
Winterset, Iowa 50273-0269 USA

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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