We have highlighted several artificial intelligence (AI) tools on this blog lately because it is being used to power so many emerging trends and tools. Many folks think of AI as a sort of substitute human, owing to the early days of automated telephone customer service up through the sophisticated Alexa/Siri/Google digital assistants, I’m sure movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Robocop, Terminator, Her, and so on, helped solidify this image. In fact, artificial intelligence can just be a really good algorithm that can learn from experience and patterns. Examples of AI without names or faces would be software that creates deep fake videos, creates images from text, or writes copy for you based on key points.
The tool we’d like to share today doesn’t have an exciting name or website, but what it can do seems like magic. It is so simple to use that there is zero learning curve. If you can attach something to an email, you can restore your photos. Intrigued? So was I.
This wonder tool is called GFP-GAN. You can either use the demo version at Baseten as I did, or you can download the code for free from GitHub. The demo page invites you to upload your own photo or choose one of their photos to restore. You are given the option to download the restored image.
I clicked on their image of Harriet Tubman and the cleaned-up version was so good I wondered if there had been manual intervention in the restoration:
Next, I tried my own photo from the 1970s:
This is a less stunning transformation, but the restored version is definitely less blurry.
I didn’t have any really rough images to try, but in my research about the tool, I found an article demonstrating some really amazing restorations, as well as going into deep detail about how the tool works. Here is the one that made me sure I wanted to write about this tool:
The AI “looks” at the image to find patterns, and then fills in what it determines is most likely to fill in the damaged parts. Because the image I uploaded was just blurry instead of damaged, there wasn’t much to fix or fill in.
Would You Use GFP-GAN?
Do you have old photos you would like to restore, but don’t have the expertise or equipment to do it yourself? Professional photo restoration is expensive, but this free tool may be just what you need to clean up your treasured image collection. Have you tried the tool? We’d love to know how your restorations turned out. Let us know in the comments!