This is the most amazing new tool for editing your old, black-and-white photos

ColorizedRafi Letzter/Tech InsiderA photo colorized by Algorithmia

If you have an old, black and white image you want colorized, typically you have to seek out an expert in Photoshop. That person would then have to meticulously paint over each detail of the image, taking hours to return each to a best approximation of its original colour.

But it’s a brave new world out there folks. There’s a computer algorithm, free to use on the internet, that can colorize your photos in seconds. It is, according to its creators, the product of machine learning algorithm, though they don’t offer a tremendous amount of detail as to how it works.

We first spotted it in an article by Chris Plante at The Verge. He used the Algorithmia Colorize Photos software to colorize images from “The Wizard of Oz.” I have a whole bunch of old black-and-white JPEGs laying around, and decided to try it on them.

The tool seems to work best when it can clearly distinguish earthy objects, people, and sky. Here’s the original photo from the top of this article:

And here’s the result:

The tool appears to work primarily with a palate of blues and sepia, which — when it works out — can produce some amazing results.

Here’s another black-and-white image fairly successfully made colour:

But the app runs into trouble when you ask it to colorize a scene that it — apparently — can’t make out.

Several images were rendered entirely sepia:

And others seemed almost random:

Still, when it did work even reasonably well, it was hard not to be impressed with the results.

You can try the tool for yourself here.

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