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Summary: This integrated software application combines interactive, automated coloring techniques with deep-learning technology. The software can automatically generate black-and-white movies from color.
Numerous historical photographs are kept in black-and-white in the archives around the world. These cultural assets and modern documents are preserved today by digitization, and sometimes (partially) enhanced through digital restoration. Since the 1970s, efforts have been made to colorize this film footage.
But there was no real progress because the effort and associated costs for semi-automatic or manual coloring techniques were too costly. It is possible to color films completely automatically in principle. This has the drawback that while the colors may look nice, they are not real.
Thomas Pock, a computer scientist from the Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision, and HS-Art, a Graz-based company that specializes in the restoration of historical films, have created an integrated software program that combines interactive and automatic coloring techniques with deep-learning technologies.
Pock believes that humans must be able to influence the coloring process. "You always need someone who knows the historical traditions and can tell you what the clothes, facades, etc. are."What did it look like back then? Was the uniform of the soldier blue or green? It cannot decide this, but it can learn from it."
It's about coloring films as efficiently and with as little input as possible. This could mean that a person can specify the color for a frame of film and the software takes over the coloring of other frames," explained Pock.
Pock: "With historical footage, and all cinema films, you need some noise, so-called film grain," otherwise it doesn’t look authentic to the viewers. Software can artificially generate noise and add it again after restoration and color.
The core algorithm was published at an international symposium. The source code is also freely available. Software based on this algorithm, which was developed by HS-Art and is part of their product portfolio, is required for efficient use.
Neuroscience News is an online magazine that offers free research articles on neuroscience, psychology, artificial Intelligence, robotics and deep learning.
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