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Astonishing free web tool fixes old photos instantly using AI

Published Aug 4th, 2022 2:17PM EDT
free AI photo restoration tool

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More than likely, you have boxes of old photos tucked away somewhere in your home. Photos that pre-date the smartphone camera-based era — and that might be starting to fade and succumb to the normal wear and tear of time. This is exactly why a free AI-based photo restoration tool like GFP-GAN exists — to eliminate the digital aging and cruft from physical photos and render them good as new.

I discovered this tool a few days ago, and the results honestly blew my mind. The AI behind this open-source photo restoration service basically uses guesswork to smooth out and patch creases in photos, enhance any color and make the faded details pop once again.

Free online, AI-based photo restoration tool

Canada-based AI expert Louis Bouchard from What’s AI explains the tool and how it works in the video below. Its focus is the “Towards Real-World Blind Face Restoration with Generative Facial Prior” project. And you can try it for yourself right here.

Importantly, the photo restoration tool is as simple to use as it gets. All you need to do is upload the photo that you want the tool to retouch. After that, click the “Restore photo” button. And then you can download the restored image over on the right.

READ MORE: Creepy new AI animates photos to bring the dead back to life

Researchers from Tencent developed the GFP-GAN photo restoration tool. And it must be stressed again that the AI here is making some guesses about the missing or damaged photos detail that it sets out to improve. Such that, in improving the photo, the researchers warn that there might actually be a “slight change of identity” between the original and the finished product.

Still, the results here are by and large impressive. And if you want to try something similar — specifically, to do more than mere photo restoration? With a tool like the Deep Nostalgia app from MyHeritage, you can actually animate old photos.

This is a tool that actually lets you make the subjects in old photos move, laugh, and say whatever you want. These kinds of tools, as you can imagine, are even good enough to move some people to tears, after having used the tools to bring to life the photos of loved ones who have passed away.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.