Tuesday 11 February 2020

MyHeritage adds colour to photos of your ancestors

MyHeritage has launched MyHeritage In Color, a clever widget that turns black & white or sepia pictures into colour pictures. See below to view a Before and After shot of my maternal great great grandmother, Sophia, who stood for a portait at the Lawrence Studio in Sackville Street (now O'Connell Street), date unknown.

I'm pleased the widget kept the colours muted, and it's certainly fascinating to see a picture I've known as sepia all my life transformed with a more lifelike image of a moment in Sophia's life. I just knew that dress would be grey or black, though!

Here's what MyHeritage has to say about their new colourisation tool, which is now a 'freemium' feature on the website ie, you can colour several photos for free, after which continued use of the feature requires you to have a subscription.

'MyHeritage In Color™ produces lifelike colorized photos with exceptional attention to detail. The technology was trained using millions of photos and has developed an understanding of our world and its colors. The results are more realistic and of superior quality to those generated by other automatic colorization tools currently available.

'The black and white photos remain intact and are not changed by the colorization process, which produces new photos alongside the original ones.

'The photo colorization technology was licensed by MyHeritage from DeOldify, created by software engineers Jason Antic and Dana Kelley. The technology is based on Self-Attention Generative Adversarial Networks (SAGAN), introduced in May 2018. An early version of the DeOldify technology was contributed by Antic to the public domain in November 2018. Antic and Kelley updated it in May 2019. Since then, Antic and Kelley have continued to improve and fine-tune the technology commercially. Their latest version produces colorized photos of unprecedented quality and is currently available only on MyHeritage.'

See MyHeritage's detailed blogpost about the new tool and how to get the best from it.

And here's Sophia: