Auto-Colorization of Historical Images Using Deep Convolutional Neural Networks

Madhab Raj Joshi, Lewis Nkenyereye, Gyanendra Prasad Joshi, S. M. Riazul Islam, Mohammad Abdullah-Al-wadud, Surendra Shrestha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Enhancement of Cultural Heritage such as historical images is very crucial to safeguard the diversity of cultures. Automated colorization of black and white images has been subject to extensive research through computer vision and machine learning techniques. Our research addresses the problem of generating a plausible colored photograph of ancient, historically black, and white images of Nepal using deep learning techniques without direct human intervention. Motivated by the recent success of deep learning techniques in image processing, a feed-forward, deep Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) in combination with Inception-ResnetV2 is being trained by sets of sample images using back-propagation to recognize the pattern in RGB and grayscale values. The trained neural network is then used to predict two a* and b* chroma channels given grayscale, L channel of test images. CNN vividly colorizes images with the help of the fusion layer accounting for local features as well as global features. Two objective functions, namely, Mean Squared Error (MSE) and Peak Signal-to-Noise Ratio (PSNR), are employed for objective quality assessment between the estimated color image and its ground truth. The model is trained on the dataset created by ourselves with 1.2 K historical images comprised of old and ancient photographs of Nepal, each having 256 × 256 resolution. The loss i.e., MSE, PSNR, and accuracy of the model are found to be 6.08%, 34.65 dB, and 75.23%, respectively. Other than presenting the training results, the public acceptance or subjective validation of the generated images is assessed by means of a user study where the model shows 41.71% of naturalness while evaluating colorization results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2258
Number of pages17
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


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