AI-powered tool instantly colours old Singapore photos

Children celebrating Chinese New Year with firecrackers at the Botanic Gardens on Feb 8, 1959. The photos were coloured with the help of free online tool Colourise.sg, which takes about 31/2 seconds to add colour to an uploaded photo.
Children celebrating Chinese New Year with firecrackers at the Botanic Gardens on Feb 8, 1959. The photos were coloured with the help of free online tool Colourise.sg, which takes about 31/2 seconds to add colour to an uploaded photo.PHOTO: ST FILE, COLOURISE.SG
Mr Lee Kuan Yew – who would later go on to become Singapore’s founding prime minister – and his supporters cheering his win for the People’s Action Party in the Tanjong Pagar by-election on June 29, 1957. The photos were coloured with the help of free onl
Mr Lee Kuan Yew – who would later go on to become Singapore’s founding prime minister – and his supporters cheering his win for the People’s Action Party in the Tanjong Pagar by-election on June 29, 1957. The photos were coloured with the help of free online tool Colourise.sg, which takes about 31/2 seconds to add colour to an uploaded photo.PHOTO: ST FILE, COLOURISE.SG
Singapore’s first National Day Parade on Aug 9, 1966.
Singapore’s first National Day Parade on Aug 9, 1966.PHOTOS ST FILE, COLOURISE.SG
The GovTech team that developed Colourise.sg: (from left) Mr Andrew Tan, Mr Tan Kai Wei and Mr Preston Lim.
The GovTech team that developed Colourise.sg: (from left) Mr Andrew Tan, Mr Tan Kai Wei and Mr Preston Lim.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Month-old free online software developed by GovTech team is a global hit, with 68,000 users

It all started when three specialists from national information technology agency GovTech wanted to bring history to life by adding splashes of colour to old Singapore photographs.

Throughout January, the men from GovTech's Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Division developed a deep learning model that colourises black-and-white photos.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2019, with the headline 'AI-powered tool instantly colours old S'pore photos'. Print Edition | Subscribe