Back in the day before color film was invented, photography pretty much existed in black and white. This also means that if we were to look back at old photos today, unless we lived through those times it’s hard to imagine that color and vibrancy that might have been captured back then had color film existed.

Now there have been attempts and there are ways to colorize old black and white photos, but researchers at the University of California at Berkeley might have come up with a smarter and more efficient way of doing so. This is achieved through the use of AI-powered software that can help to colorize black and white photos.

Developed by Richard Zhang and his team, this is actually not a new development as they launched a demo of their software back in 2016. However back then the AI wasn’t quite as smart and while it did help colorize photos, sometimes it colored them wrongly, which Zhang and his team have since corrected with a new follow-up app. With this new app, there are user-added cues and hints that can help the software understand which colors to use to produce more realistic results.

Alternatively these cues and hints can also be used for artistic effect, such as giving photos a different color than what they’re supposed to be. There’s no word on when this feature will find its way into photo editing software, but Zhang has since uploaded his app onto GitHub if you’re interested in checking it out.

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