Ancestor Image: Colorized & Restored

lelliott19

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The other day, @Chattahooch33 tagged me in a post on FB about a service that restores and colorizes images for individuals. The image that was being used for advertisement was one of Captain Augustus Columbus Thompson (G/16th GA) from the National Archives. Here's a link to a video of the process. Seeing the colorized image of Capt. Thompson was incredible! So I decided to send my own off and see how it turned out. Many of you have seen images of my great great grandfather, Confederate Surgeon Dr. Wm C Cross. I've posted them in a number of threads here and received help from many of you regarding details of his uniform and accouterments.

The image I had was just a 'snip' of the 600 dpi scan of the group shot of Brigadier General SAM Wood and staff so it was very poor quality and incredibly small.

That's a snip from the original in the upper left hand corner; it's the only image of my great great grandfather in his uniform. My snip was just 207 pixels wide compared to the image of Capt Thompson which was 9000 pixels wide. (!) Still, the artist was able to work with what I sent to uncover detail and character that could never be seen in the original image. He was super helpful - explained the entire process and made suggestions about how to improve the image. When I submitted the image, I didn't say anything about the skin tone, hair color, or eye color; I really didn't know for sure. But the grey eyes are a family trait - same as my grandfather's eyes and my mother's, mine, my siblings', and my son's.

At under $50 I found the price very affordable. My plan was to have Dr. Cross printed on a canvas and surprise my sister for Christmas ---- but I couldn't wait. :D I sent her the digital image as soon as I saw it. Merry Christmas @Diane123

Overall, the process was super easy and the turnaround was so fast! We have some more family images that we're going to send - tintypes and ambrotypes, as well as a couple of cabinet card images. I'm going to scan them on the highest quality scanner I can find. I'll let you know how they turn out. If you have images you'd like to have colorized and restored, I highly recommend mycolorfulpast. com
 
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There are several online sites that will colorize old photographs for free. I googled several and tried them with pictures from my great grandfather's plate glass negatives. Some came out better than others, but I think I would try the free sites before I'd shell out for it. Here are two examples.

Two centuries removed from Scotland, but that gene for thrift is still strong....

Here's one of the examples.

Jimmy and Mary Colorized.png
 
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Has anyone else seen what those clever chaps are doing with old colorised portraits! they’re using A I to bring those old photos and paintings back to life, this little clip has Abraham Lincoln smiling and blinking.

Thanks, that is flat out amazing. The color is great, but facial expression and eye movement is really wonderful.
 

DixieRifles

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That's a snip from the original in the upper left hand corner; it's the only image of my great great grandfather in his uniform. My snip was just 207 pixels wide compared to the image of Capt Thompson which was 9000 pixels wide. (!)
Really great job. I just wish I had a fuzzy image of one of my direct ancestors in uniform.
 

lelliott19

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I think I would try the free sites before I'd shell out for it.
I agree Gary but this image was such poor quality that the results of the free sites was less than acceptable. In the process used by this artist, all kinds of fine lines and details are replaced --- hairs on the eye brows and beard, lines around the eyes and all sorts of detail that was missing from the original image I submitted. That's what prompted me to seek a professional and for the amount of work that was required, I feel certain it would have been cheap at twice the price.
 

lelliott19

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Has anyone else seen what those clever chaps are doing with old colorised portraits! they’re using A I to bring those old photos and paintings back to life, this little clip has Abraham Lincoln smiling and blinking.
Hey Waterloo. Thanks for your interest. The process that is being used to add facial movement is fascinating. I asked about it and this is what I was told:

Here is how it's done and I would love for others with an interest to see this in terms of what is achievable and to appreciate the consistency and the notion that history can be made far more relatable using subtlety and an educational ethic. https://fb.watch/2p19m4t4a3/ The reality is that hundreds of unidentified soldiers' portraits have been brought to life using this proprietary and for a documentary.​

I figured the members of CivilWarTalk would be as interested to see the process as I was.
 

lelliott19

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That's really impressive work! I need to contact them about some of my old family photos. There's one I've thought about switching my profile to but the picture quality is pretty bad.
I don't think you will be disappointed! My image was so incredibly small since it was snipped from a group shot and was only scanned at 600 dpi to start with. If you started with a good quality full-sized original, you could expect better results than what I got. And I am super pleased with mine. You dont pay when you submit the image. They send you an invoice when they send you the finished work. I went ahead and paid when I got the first file back --- but he still went back and made a few changes for me after I had paid. Like I said, super easy process and a great guy to work with.
 
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