Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

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    Wayne
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    Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Wayne on Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:52 pm

    As I mentioned earlier in another thread, I am currently working on my degree thesis which is basically a piece of software that can colourise WW2 greyscale images, focusing on aircraft subjects.

    I'm looking into the types of camera/film used during WW2 to determine the factors affecting colour 'translation' to B&W.

    Ivan, you also mentioned looking into the types of chemicals used when developing the photos - another interesting avenue to explore.

    As things stand, I got to know about 2 types of film that were in use during the war: Orthochromatic and Panchromatic. The former is insensitive to red light and hence depict red as black (or very dark grey) in the developed photos. Panchromatic on the other hand is sensitive to the entire spectrum.

    I have opened this thread so that if anyone comes across any pertinent information, they have a place to share it (if they would be so kind).

    I'm have taken up this project for the benefit of the scale modelling community and would very much like for you guys to be involved in its development to make sure that it's up to SSM's HIGH standards cheers

    Thanks for taking an interest!


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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  skyhigh on Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:47 pm

    So let's start moving...here we go.......


    Some colour pic, B&W will follow.......








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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  skyhigh on Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:52 pm




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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  skyhigh on Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:58 pm







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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Wayne on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:57 pm

    As all of you know... ghax tqallajtu tisimghu... I'm working flat out on my thesis.

    The software is almost complete, I passed one of the very last hurdles this weekend and I'm pretty happy with the results.

    The final challenge is to optimise the software such that it can handle the far from ideal image quality of wartime photos.

    Here are the results of some testing I'm carrying out on illustrations:

    Original image:



    Greyscale version:



    Colourised Version using my software


    As i said it needs some fine-tuning but i'm pretty happy with the results so far. cheers


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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Wayne on Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:48 pm

    And here the software at work on a proper photo:






    I'll post something other than a 109 later on, but I concentrated on Luftwaffe photos as they are more challenging (mottling and all). Brit aircraft were easier to handle.


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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  bcauchi on Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:34 pm

    Looking magnificent Wayne, what a terrific tool you are creating. Just to pass a small comment. In the opening thread you mentioned ortochromatic film which you said portrays red as a dark blackish colour. If not mistaken it was yellow and not red that was effected thus.

    The codes and outer ring on the roundel should be yellow and instead, they are very dark, almost black.

    The outer ring on this roundel should also be yellow. What do yo think?

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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Wayne on Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:12 pm

    Apparenly Brian, there were at least 2 types of film used during that period, one of them was insensitive to Red and the other to Yellow. So you are right in that last post, Yellow can appear black depending on the film used.

    When I started doing proper research for the project (back in December) it became apparent that creating a piece of software that could "interpret" colour from a given greyscale image is much easier said than done. There are only 255 different shades of gray much less than the total number of different shades of colour. Even given a restricted palette of colours, automatically determining the colour from a B/W image accurately is basically impossible. There are too many factors that can effect the grey-level of a colour such as shadows, weathering, photo quality and as mentioned earlier even photographic film. I read quite a number of scientific papers on the subject and all come to the same conclusion: Colourising greyscale images is an ill-poised problem which cannot be solved without some sort of external input.

    In the end, I had to go for a solution based on colour scribbles provided by the user. The system provides a restricted number of colours consistent for the subject being colourised but it is up to the user to interpret where each colour goes. Even this technique provided a considerable technical challenge and given the short amount of time I have to finish the project (4 months) I had to stop somewhere. However I'm happy with what I've achieved so far.

    Having said that I do have a couple of ideas in mind that could make this project more useful for us modellers but I'll tackle those after I graduate.

    Thanks for taking an interest though Brian, much appreciated Very Happy




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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  slingshot392 on Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:30 am

    I don't know a lot about photography, but wouldn't different countries have had different types of film? Don't know what black-and-white film was like before and during World War II, and I know at least with color film here in the U. S., each manufacturer would have their own specifications.

    This sounds like a great project with some very good results so far, good luck on it and I can't wait to see a finished product. I would also like to try it out on some vintage race car and hot rod photos from the 30s and 40s!

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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  bcauchi on Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:11 pm

    Wayne would it help to input some known colour or factor when you study a photo. What i am hinting at is using careful guess work to input the colour of for example the national markings in a photo. Their colours are known and you could input them with a certain degree of accuracy even taking weathering into account. Would this help the software to then compare the remaining shades with these and obtain approximations for the other colours?

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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Wayne on Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:15 pm

    In theory yes Brian. The software could analyse the rest of the image making comparisons with the "known" colours. The user would still have to identify areas in shadow however. For example, let's say a propeller is casting a shadow over a yellow cowling of a bf 109. The grey level of the area in shadow will be much darker than the rest of the cowling and the software would 99 times out of 100 mistake that darker shade with a darker colour. But yes, the software could at least provide some feedback on the similarity of grey levels and the user could then make a better decision based on what he sees and what the software sees.

    Unfortunately I did not have enough time to explore this avenue while producing my thesis but I will definitely pursue it later after I graduate.


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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  skyhigh on Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:37 pm

    Wayne wrote:In theory yes Brian. The software could analyse the rest of the image making comparisons with the "known" colours. The user would still have to identify areas in shadow however. For example, let's say a propeller is casting a shadow over a yellow cowling of a bf 109. The grey level of the area in shadow will be much darker than the rest of the cowling and the software would 99 times out of 100 mistake that darker shade with a darker colour. But yes, the software could at least provide some feedback on the similarity of grey levels and the user could then make a better decision based on what he sees and what the software sees.

    Unfortunately I did not have enough time to explore this avenue while producing my thesis but I will definitely pursue it later after I graduate.


    Well then I wish you all the luck for your graduation ...and of course looking foward for all our wartime colours problems ... cheers

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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Wayne on Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:51 pm

    skyhigh wrote:
    Wayne wrote:In theory yes Brian. The software could analyse the rest of the image making comparisons with the "known" colours. The user would still have to identify areas in shadow however. For example, let's say a propeller is casting a shadow over a yellow cowling of a bf 109. The grey level of the area in shadow will be much darker than the rest of the cowling and the software would 99 times out of 100 mistake that darker shade with a darker colour. But yes, the software could at least provide some feedback on the similarity of grey levels and the user could then make a better decision based on what he sees and what the software sees.

    Unfortunately I did not have enough time to explore this avenue while producing my thesis but I will definitely pursue it later after I graduate.


    Well then I wish you all the luck for your graduation ...and of course looking foward for all our wartime colours problems ... cheers

    You and me both mate Very Happy


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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Wayne on Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:08 pm

    Project is due today week!!!

    Here are some of the latest results following some last minute tweaking to the software:

    Hurricane:







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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Wayne on Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:09 pm

    He 162:

    This turned out real good, apart from the blemish in the arrow.





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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Wayne on Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:11 pm

    Spitfire.

    Not sure about the colour scheme but apart from that the result is not bad.





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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Ray on Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:38 pm

    Dak it-ticlis mar-roundel x'inhu Wayne pale Question

    Cappast id-decal qabel jaqaw pale Question

    Kuwl Cool Twisted Evil

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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  bcauchi on Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:07 pm

    I'm no expert Wayne but those photos sure look good, i think that you have achieved your goal. How about trying out some malta photos. That would be really interesting to see what happens.Good luck for your thesis.

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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  skyhigh on Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:21 pm

    Good luck Wayne.... cheers

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    Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Paul Salomone on Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:32 am

    Good job Wayne,

    Prosit habib.

    cheers cheers cheers

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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  David on Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:45 am

    Proset Wayne

    D

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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Wayne on Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:59 pm

    That's it. It's done. Project Reports have been bound and CD's have been burnt. All that's left is submitting everything for review.

    It's been a challenge but it's also been fun. Thank you all for your encouragement.

    Now bring on the modelling!!! cheers cheers


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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Wayne on Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:02 pm

    bcauchi wrote:I'm no expert Wayne but those photos sure look good, i think that you have achieved your goal. How about trying out some malta photos. That would be really interesting to see what happens.Good luck for your thesis.

    I've tried it on a couple of Malta photos, but with not much luck. The problem is that most photos from Malta are really bad quality so the end result is patchy to say the least. If anyone has a decent quality photograph, I'll be more than happy to try it out and see what comes out.


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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  Ray on Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:33 pm

    Wayne wrote:
    bcauchi wrote:I'm no expert Wayne but those photos sure look good, i think that you have achieved your goal. How about trying out some malta photos. That would be really interesting to see what happens.Good luck for your thesis.

    I've tried it on a couple of Malta photos, but with not much luck. The problem is that most photos from Malta are really bad quality so the end result is patchy to say the least. If anyone has a decent quality photograph, I'll be more than happy to try it out and see what comes out.

    Wayne how about picking up a couple of Marco's Jurassic Models, make them B&W & try this one on them lol! Question

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    Re: Interpreting colour from WW2 Greyscale images

    Post  bcauchi on Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:53 am

    Wayne i have lots of Malta photos and some are crystal clear, i will send yousome to try out. Will start with the obvious schemes and maybe move on to something a bit more intriguing

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