MyHeritage In Color™: Breakthrough Feature to Colorize Family Photos

Introducing MyHeritage In Color™ (Photo: Business Wire)

Introducing MyHeritage In Color™ (Photo: Business Wire)

Computer-generated color enhancement of old black-and-white photographs is a technology that has been available for some time at rather high prices. Now the same technology has been made at to the public at reasonable prices. That’s reasonable as in FREE.

Yes, that’s right. MyHeritage is offering to create COLOR COPIES of your black-and-white photographs at no charge. Best of all, the change to color is done automatically by computer software. I do not know of any other online genealogy service that has a similar offer.

I have tried the colorization process briefly this morning and am impressed. It allows you to do more than look at old photos — it lets you experience them, creating a deeper connection with your family history than you ever thought possible. I plan to use this process on ALL my old digitized black-and-white photographs.

As part of MyHeritage’s commitment to preserving the authenticity of historical documents, colorized photos will appear with a special embossed palette symbol at the bottom left corner of the photo to differentiate them from images photographed originally in color. Nobody should ever mistake your color photo as an original. All original black and white photos will, of course, remain intact and are not changed by the colorization process.

NOTE: The above photos do not do justice to the results. I had to reduce the size of the original photos in order to fit the format of this newsletter. The original black-and-white and the new color version are actually much larger and the color version looks gorgeous when seen in its full size.

You can use the new MyHeritage In Color™ page to upload photos to MyHeritage and colorize them instantly or scan in your photos using MyHeritage’s free mobile app.

NOTE: MyHeritage is the sponsor of this newsletter.

You can read more, including step-by-step instructions, in the MyHeritage Blog at http://bit.ly/37oEUlw as well as in the following press release:

 

MyHeritage Releases Groundbreaking Feature to Automatically Colorize Black and White Photos

MyHeritage In Color™ uses AI-based technology licensed from DeOldify to colorize black and white photos in seconds, enabling anyone to see their historical family photos in a whole new light

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MyHeritage, the leading global service for discovering your past and empowering your future, announced today the release of MyHeritage In Color™, an innovative feature that automatically colorizes black and white photos and produces incredible results. Photos are colorized using sophisticated deep learning technology that is currently exclusive to MyHeritage.

⁠MyHeritage Releases Groundbreaking Feature ⁠— MyHeritage In Color™ ⁠— to Automatically Colorize Black and White Photos. #MyHeritage #InColor #MyHeritageInColor

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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.

“The photos colorized by MyHeritage In Color™ are breathtaking. Joining our easy-to-use family tree tools, billions of historical records, and automatic matching technologies, this amazing new feature helps fulfill our mission of bringing the past back to life,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “On a personal note, it’s been very emotional for me to see my black and white family photos reimagined in color for the first time. The reactions of my family members with whom I’ve shared them, both young and old, have been priceless. Millions of people will now realize how cool family history really is.”

“After dedicating the past few years to developing photo colorization technology and obsessively pursuing its perfection, we’re excited to see DeOldify integrated into MyHeritage’s family history platform, so that people can reveal new insights from their historical family photos,” said Jason Antic, co-creator of DeOldify. “We identify with MyHeritage’s vision of helping everyone understand their family story, and our technology will give people a deeper connection with those that came before them. We are genuinely very excited about partnering with a company that has such an admirable mission and are happy that they will help us enhance the technology even further in the coming years.”

Seamless Integration with Family Trees

Millions of people worldwide use MyHeritage to explore their family history, and to digitize and preserve their old family photos and upload them to their online family trees. Users have already uploaded hundreds of millions of black and white photos to the MyHeritage platform, enhanced them with meta-data, and tagged the individuals who appear in them. With MyHeritage In Color™, users can now colorize their historical photos in seconds and experience a deep connection to their family history like never before.

Colorization is available in MyHeritage’s online photo albums as well as in the free MyHeritage mobile app for iOS and Android, which is the perfect tool for scanning old photos in physical albums and converting them to digital media. Colorized photos can easily be shared with family and friends on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other social media.

As part of MyHeritage’s commitment to preserving the authenticity of historical documents, the company differentiates colorized photos from those photographed originally in color using a special embossed palette symbol in the bottom left corner of colorized photos. While highly realistic, automatically colorized photos have simulated colors, which may differ from the real ones. MyHeritage hopes that this responsible practice will be adopted by others who use photo colorization technology.

MyHeritage In Color™ is a freemium feature on MyHeritage. Several photos may be colorized for free, after which continued use of this feature requires a subscription.

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is the leading global discovery platform for exploring family history. With billions of historical records and family tree profiles, and with sophisticated matching technologies across all its assets, MyHeritage allows users to discover their past and empower their future. Launched in 2016, MyHeritage DNA has become one of the world’s largest consumer DNA databases, with more than 3.8 million people. As the world’s leading global service that combines family history and DNA testing for genealogy and health, MyHeritage is uniquely positioned to offer users a meaningful discovery experience that unites their past, present, and future. Available in 42 languages, MyHeritage is the most popular DNA test and family history service in Europe. www.myheritage.com

MyHeritage In Color™ can be accessed on www.myheritage.com/incolor.

9 Comments

I have tried this feature, too, and am very impressed. What I noticed was that the detail in the photos was enhanced with the colorization – details that I missed when looking at the original photo.

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Not bad, but not free- after some trials you are asked to subscribe.

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Probably MyHeritage has had a hand in re-colouring the map of Palestine

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I’m definitely not a fan of altering original photos this much. No matter how good it looks, it’s just not real and could lead to errors in identifying time frame.

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    I agree. I was initially very impressed with the results. After looking at my pictures with more of a discerning eye, I am not as impressed as I once was. There are some that just don’t look right.

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Interesting that this appears in the newsletter as the rant on JPEG. How much does the coloration change the photo? Can I just slide saturation down to zero and get back the original black and white, or will it have been changed? (I’m assuming that someone wouldn’t have access to the original photo.) These things only get better with time, so I can imagine in the future that one would want to “start over” or at least go back to the original sepia tone image.

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    I have uploaded a lot of B&W and sepia photos. Some, like outdoor shots, are great. Others are not so great. Things I know are red (from color photos) or green are not rendering as red or green. I did a photo of my dad as a kid and his eyes were a weird green rather than blue. I will say that the colorizing is pretty good for non-caucasians, too. That’s a pleasant surprise.

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I enjoyed trying this feature. I noted two prior comments: !. works well on non-caucasians and 2. my dad’s blue eyes were a weird shade of green. I noted my darker haired, brown haired ancestors had more realistic outcomes than those with paler skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. I tried scanning the original photos in greytone to cancel sepia tones; however, that was not helpful – all my colored photos were a bit golden. Most of my family have varying shades of blue eyes, a few pale green and one violet. All came out with hazel (green/brown) eyes. A few have that pale pinkish skin and red hair – these had creamy skin and brownish hair. Pale ash blonds had beautiful golden hair.

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