Thursday, December 29, 2005

Recoloring the Decolored Past

Dick Eastman wrote Wednesday about a free software application for Windows that colorizes black & white photographs.

My first effort with Recolored put some color back into the cheeks of my great-grandfather, Elton Dunham:

Rendered speechless by his stunning good looks, I immediately clicked over to to see which celebrity he most resembled. The results were better than I had hoped: my great-grandfather was a 70% match for Niels Bohr — generally considered the most attractive 20th-century Danish physicist named "Niels."

With a little practice you'll find that Recolored offers results on a par with the hand-tinting of yore. Skin tones are the biggest challenge, and may require some manual tweaking to avoid giving your ancestor a funeral-parlor complexion.

The program is incredibly easy to use, the only problem I found being an infuriating bug in the "Color Picker" that made entering RGB codes difficult. The beta version is free for non-commercial use, with a commercial version coming early next year.

My next colorizing project: see what Michael Jackson would look like if he were black.

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