I am my family’s curator of old photographs and have accumulated tens of thousands of records over the years. These photographs tend to loose their characteristics over time, which makes it even more important that they are preserved digitally. At the same time, developments in machine learning applied to image photography made it possible to have several application interfaces (APIs) online that will colorize black and white photos. The colors are naturally guesses of what the real colors were, but that’s typically what neural networks and machine learning tends to excel in doing: very good guesses. The process is not perfect but the results tend to look really nice.
Since I have many black and white photos, I decided to write a script that would colorize an entire folder of photos automatically. In order to do so, I used https://deepai.org‘s API.
When I scan black and white photos, I do so in their raw format (TIFF) and in the maximum resolution that my home scanner allows. The script takes such files, converts them to JPEG (the format required by the API), sends each at a time to Deep AI and then downloads them, again, each at a time, and saves them in the same folder. You can download the script here.
Below two examples of what you can expect, using some old family photos of mine. This first one is of my paternal grandmother, Cremilde, during the late 1940’s, early 1950’s, I’m guessing close to her home village of Nagozela, Viseu.
This one here is of my maternal grandmother Fernanda, in the 1950’s, in her wedding in Mozambique, Lourenço Marques.