At Colourful Past, we’re bringing history to life for your viewing pleasure. For starters, we’re helping you to bust the disconnection of greyscale historical photos. Black and white colours can lack dimension, context and any sense of ‘now’.
The site aims to create an immediate and lasting connection to our shared past, by giving you a channel to browse recorded in library or archive imagery. By adding colour to historical photos participation can potentially increase by 42% in coloured photos . The images are free for uses to post on social media as theirs too!
Through our website you can search the visual history of your chosen community – anything from our ten datasets; local and everywhere else! Not limted to WA, NSW even over to NZ. We’ve shared the full list of sources on our landing page and in every search to reveal our sources including encouraging visitors to visit these governement sources. You’ll be directed to a set of monochrome or faded photos with a click your sense can feast on an enhanced colour version.
The backbone of Colourful Past uses a convolusional neural network loaded with pre-trained modules . That means it colourizes historical, monochrome images. Potentials sources are limitless, from a library database, collections and usually free! The AI is basically exposed to true colour images and its greyscale counterparts. Noting, coloured images pose so much information that one of three dimensions can be processed. To overcome this, the AI is exposed to over a million true colour and its counterpart greyscale images.
This gives the AI abundant information to classify and identify cues to apply plausible colours and shades for similar elements to be colourised. For example, grass is typically green and exposure to light makes objects brighter. The charm of this is this function provides plausible colours which the viewer can accept is realistic. There is unrestricted growth in the AI in colour prediction since the images to feed are accessible and free whether from a government or public database.
These coloured images inform, stimulate and improve the visual experience of viewers when searching history. This is because the coloured images relative to monochrome images gives more definition through information; from the weather, emotions to the type of occasion. Futhermore it is discovered that colour stimulates memory through increased activation of senses and attention [3,5]. The combination of these boosts memory retention and increase avenues for appreciation of local history.
Moreover, a story is built– the instantaneously coloured image will begin a richer story for you. A detailed historical scene will exist before you right now, and then from there, all the other stories occurring at that same place, whether from your own experiences or others. With future visits to the same location or scene, you’re enabled to connect and continue the story - a present day and future “then and now” history.
By connecting with the past in such a real way, we learn so much about a future that we might have – context, connection and meaning all become real. We begin to understand what the dusty black and white archives are telling us – we are one the same, we are connected in place and time.
Enriching history photos with colour can apply to a range of contexts. In a educational context colours image compared to greyscale images improves learning and comprehension up to 78% and 73% respectively . Xerox found out at 92% of people survey believe that colour presents an image of impressive quality, which can improve marketing of local tourism . This is compounded from research from Colour Com that 80% of information assimilated is visual. Hence, colourization of photos assists in promoting Australian history to the masses.
Through instant colourisation of the past, you’ll be transported and connected with that community in a way that resonates with the today and our world of instant photo sharing, filtering, and images that ‘talk’. We feel a stronger sense of belonging, the past is not just forgotten up in the archive, it is still part of us now, and we can bring it with us into the future. Sharing of the coloured images amplifies this experience, in the same way ‘Lost Perth’ and ‘Pixtory’ have before it, this time in glorious full colour.
- White, Jan V., Color for Impact, Strathmoor Press, April, 1997
- Zhang, Richard, Phillip Isola, and Alexei A. Efros. "Colorful Image Colorization." arXiv preprint arXiv:1603.08511 (2016).
- The Influence of Colour on Memory Performance: A Review
- Business Papers in Color. Just a Shade Better, Modern Office Technology, July 1989, Vol. 34, No. 7, pp. 98-102
- "The Contributions of Color to Recognition Memory for Natural Scenes," Felix A. Wichmann, Max-Planck Institut für Biologische Kybernetik and Oxford University; Lindsay T. Sharpe, Universität Tübingen and University of Newcastle; and Karl R. Gegenfurtner, Max-Plank Institut für Biologische Kybernetik and Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen; Journal of Experimental Psychology – Learning, Memory and Cognition, Vol 28. No.3., 5-May-2002
- Xerox Corporation and International Communications Research from February 19, 2003 to March 7, 2003, margin of error of +/- 3.1%.
Music used in video: