Colorize your black and white photos automatically with MyHeritage In Color™

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We’re excited to announce the launch of MyHeritage In Color™, a groundbreaking feature to automatically colorize your black and white photos, which produces incredible results.

Try MyHeritage In Color™ now

Photos provide a unique view into the lives of our ancestors and relatives, but viewing them in black and white places them at a certain distance. Viewing the same images in color brings them to life like nothing else can. Colorized historical photos can spark interest in the past, and help us relate more personally to events and people from times gone by. It allows us to view these photographs in an entirely new way, giving us new perspectives on the people and places who made us who we are today.

Imagine seeing your grandparents’ wedding photo in color for the first time, or noticing the small details portraying life on the streets of New York a hundred years ago. When you view the colorized images next to the original black and white photos, you’ll be amazed by the difference.

How it works

The photo colorization technology that powers this feature was licensed by MyHeritage from DeOldify, created by software engineers Jason Antic and Dana Kelley. 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, they’ve continued to improve and fine-tune the technology commercially. Their latest version produces colorized photos of unprecedented quality and is currently exclusive to MyHeritage. 

We believe this is the best technology in the world for colorizing black and white photos. 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.

MyHeritage In Color™ works on all photos — even faded photos that still have some color in them. The colors you’ll see in your photos are simulated automatically by the colorization algorithms — there is no manual retouching involved.

Examples

Here are some incredible examples of historical photos that we’ve colorized using MyHeritage In Color™. The resulting photos make the past come to life like never before. 

Manager of the Alamo bar, and Mildred Irwin, entertainer – North Platte, Nebraska, 1938
The Cow Boy – Sturgis, Dakota Territory (now South Dakota), 1888. Photographer: John C. H. Grabill, Library of Congress
Family of Timothy Levy Crouch, a Rogerene Quaker, at their annual Thanksgiving Day dinner – Ledyard, Connecticut, 1940. Photographer: Jack Delano, Farm Security Administration

How to access MyHeritage In Color™

To begin, visit myheritage.com/incolor

MyHeritage in Color™ main page

Click “Upload photo” to choose a file from your computer. Or, drag and drop a photo of your choice into the photo frame. 

Once you upload your photo, you’ll be asked to sign up to MyHeritage to colorize your photos. Signing up is free. If you already have a MyHeritage account, and you haven’t logged in earlier, simply select the “Log in” option on the bottom of the popup. 

Colorizing a photo typically takes just a few seconds, depending on its size and level of detail.
During the colorization process, a spinning preloader will animate in the middle of the photo.

Colorization in process… just a few seconds to go!

Once the colorized photo is ready, it will be displayed. The original black and white photo remains intact, and you get a new, colorized photo that is stored separately, in the same resolution as your original photo.  

Your colorized photo is ready!

You will be able to drag the slider across the image to see the before and after effect of colorizing your photo, or use the icons on the top right to toggle quickly between the black and white and colorized versions.

You are encouraged to share the colorized photo on social media with your friends and family. The reactions of your family and friends will be priceless, and they can then take the opportunity to colorize their own black and white photos.  

Colorization symbol

As part of our commitment to preserving the authenticity of historical documents, we take the added step of differentiating colorized photos from those photographed originally in color using a special embossed palette symbol in the bottom left corner of colorized photos. We hope that this responsible practice will be adopted by others who use photo colorization technology, to ensure that fact can be distinguished from fiction. 

While highly realistic, photos that are colorized using MyHeritage In Color™ have colors that are simulated by automatic algorithms, and these colors may not be identical to the real-life colors when the original photo was taken. 

Colorization icon in the bottom left corner of colorized photos

Colorizing photos already on MyHeritage

If you already have a MyHeritage account, and have a family tree on the platform, you might be one of our many users who collectively uploaded hundreds of millions of historical photos to MyHeritage. You can now colorize any photo that you already have on MyHeritage, thanks to a built-in colorization feature that we’ve just added. To do so, first select “My Photos” from the Family Tree tab to access your photos.

Accessing your photos on MyHeritage

Select any album from the list on the left, or stay with the default album “All Media Items”. Then click on any black and white photo on the screen.

My Photos section on MyHeritage

Once you’re on the photo page, click the new “Colorize” button.

Click “Colorize”. Colorization will begin instantly. It’s as simple as that.

As soon as your colorized photo is ready, you’ll see the photo with the slider bar down the center, which you can drag to view the full image in color or in black and white. Here too you can toggle between the black and white and colorized versions, and share your colorized photo on social channels. 

Sharing a colorized photo on social channels

To view your colorized photo in full size, click “View full size.”

Choosing a viewing option

You can select if you want to view the full size version of the colorized photo, or the original photo.

You can download the colorized photo by clicking the “Download” button and then choose whether to download the colorized photo or the original. 

Any photo you upload and its colorized version will be stored for you on MyHeritage, and you can delete them at any time by clicking the “X” button and selecting the version you wish to delete. When you delete a colorized photo, the original black and white photo will still remain in your family site. However, if you delete the original photo, the colorized version (if exists) will be deleted as well. 

After colorizing a photo, you’ll notice a colorization icon in the bottom right corner of the black and white version of the photo, in the photos section of the website. These icons help you keep track of which photos you’ve colorized.

Icon indicating that a colorized version has been created

The colorized photo won’t be added to your albums as a separate photo; instead, it will piggyback on the original photo. Click the photo in the album page to open the photo page, and then you can toggle between the black and white and colorized versions. Your original photo remains intact, without anything added to it. 

Colorizing photos using the MyHeritage mobile app

MyHeritage In Color™ is available on the free MyHeritage mobile app which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. If you already have the app, you’ll need to update it first to make sure you’re using the latest version.

You can colorize photos from the Photos section or upload new black and white photos. We recommend using the scanner in the mobile app. This is a great way to digitize your historical photos and transfer them from their physical albums straight to MyHeritage, where they will be preserved for posterity. When scanning your photos, do so in the highest resolution possible to maximize quality and achieve the best possible results.

Visit the Photos section to see all of your uploaded photos. 

Colorize any photo in the Photos section in one tap. 

Once the photo is colorized you’ll see the photo with the slider bar down the center, which you can drag to view the full image in color or in black and white. 

You can toggle between the black and white and colorized versions, tag the people in the photo, and share your colorized photo on your social channels.

Click the icon for more options to tag the photo, edit or view photo details, save the colorized or original black and white photo to the library, or delete the colorized or original black and white photo. If you delete the original photo, if any colorized version exists, it will be deleted as well. 

Which historical photos should I colorize?

All of them! There has never been a better time to collect all those family photos you have lying around! Go and find that box of pictures languishing at the back of a high closet shelf or tucked into a corner of your attic or basement. Trust us, you’ll never see them the same way again.

If you have historical family photos in physical albums, you can colorize them by scanning them and uploading them to MyHeritage In Color™. If you haven’t scanned your family photos yet, there’s no time like the present — it’s an excellent way to preserve them for future generations. 

At this point in time, we do not offer support for colorizing family videos, such as those taken with 8mm films. Doing so is feasible with the same technology, and we’re considering adding support for colorizing videos in the future if there is enough demand for it by our users. 

Cost

Anyone can colorize several photos for free. Afterwards, a subscription is required. Users who have a Complete subscription with MyHeritage can colorize an unlimited number of photos. Non-subscribers will notice a watermark of the MyHeritage logo on the bottom right of their colorized photos, whereas Complete subscribers are able to produce colorized photos that are logo-free.

You can learn more about our various subscription plans here.

Improvements

The technology for colorizing photos automatically is amazing, but it isn’t perfect. The perfectionists among you will notice that some colors may seem incorrect or inconsistent. We are constantly collaborating with DeOldify creators Jason and Dana to improve the technology, and those improvements will be rolled out to MyHeritage in the coming months as soon as they become available.

Summary

We sincerely hope that you enjoy bringing your family’s black and white photos to life with MyHeritage In Color™. Please spread the word about this amazing feature so that others can try it too. Enjoy!

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  • Noel Crehan


    February 14, 2020

    How can I colour B/W photos already installed in the Family tree?

    • Esther


      February 17, 2020

      Hi Noel,

      See the above section for coloring photos from the “My Photos” section on your MyHeritage family site.

      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Robert Newey


    February 15, 2020

    I notice that all the photos are of fair skinned people. Will it work with dark skinned people, ie, Aborigines, Black Americans, Indians, etc.?
    Even if it does not, it is a brilliant process.

    • Esther


      February 17, 2020

      Hi Robert,

      MyHeritage In Color works for all skin types. Share your colorized photos with us, we’d love to see them!

      Best, Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Robert Smith


    February 17, 2020

    Thoughts? Move the white bar in the center to expand or reduce the colorized area.

  • shirley McVay


    April 11, 2020

    wonderful thanks

  • Margaret Burke


    August 9, 2020

    I love the new feature of colorizing black and white pictures. The only problem I have is all my family have blue eyes and in the pictures I have colorized they all have brown eyes. Any suggestions? Thank you, Margaret.

  • Thomas Slattery


    August 28, 2020

    What a great idea. I have a few black and white photographs to colour hope this works on them. Thanks for creating this.

  • Vishal Verma


    October 30, 2020

    Old photo