How obsessive artists colorize old photos

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  • Published on:  Tuesday, May 30, 2017
  • Photo colorization artists use a combination of research, physics, and technology to digitally reconstruct history's black and white record. Help us make more ambitious videos by joining the Vox Video Lab. It gets you exclusive perks, like livestream Q&As with all the Vox creators, a badge that levels up over time, and video extras bringing you closer to our work! Learn more at links:Jordan Lloyd (@jordanjlloydhq): Madsen (@Madsmadsench): Amaral (@marinamaral2): Keller (@HistoryInColor): Allison (@imbuedwithhues): The Paper Time Machine: colorization isn’t just coloring within the lines — it requires meticulous research to make sure that every detail is historically accurate. The color of military uniforms, signs, vehicles, and world fashion spanning decades needs to be accounted for before even opening digital software like Photoshop. That means digging through sources like diaries, government records, old advertisements, and even consulting historical experts to get the colors right.But even after the arduous research, restoration, and blending of color, the image still isn’t finished. In order to achieve true photorealism, the physics of how light works in the atmosphere needs to be taken into account. Colors look different depending on the lighting conditions when the photo was taken, so artists rely on shadows and the location of light to make an educated guess about the time of day in a black-and-white photo.Subscribe to our channel! is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out to get up to speed on everything from Kurdistan to the Kim Kardashian app. Check out our full video catalog: Vox on Twitter: on Facebook:
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  • Vox

     2 years ago

    You can find more photos on the artists' pages. Check them out: Jordan Lloyd (@jordanjlloydhq): Madsen (@Madsmadsench): Amaral (@marinamaral2): Keller (@HistoryInColor): Allison (@imbuedwithhues): The Paper Time Machine:

  • Jason De Silva

     18 days ago

    U are very very great man.

  • Ninavi Gumnam

     1 months ago

    In future, our grandchildren would make 360° VR photos from the photos we take today, and gift them on our 90th bday.So make sure you take good photos 😄

  • Wobin

     2 years ago

    Vox - the buzzfeed that's actually good.

  • Lethal core

     20 days ago

    Cheddar- the vox that's actually good

  • Ruby Neighbour

     1 years ago

    -nice kind calming voice- YEAH IT'S A SHITLOAD OF WORK!

  • Daddyio oo

     3 days ago

    I just came to comment cuz after a year and you got 1.3k likes but no comments :(

  • TheXpender

     9 months ago

    1:12 But adding color to black and white photos isn't *n-*

  • Zavier

     6 days ago

    He said noo

  • Skull Zone

     11 days ago

    The Real-Life Explorer I'm about to do what's known as a "pro gamer move"

  • conflict gamer

     12 months ago

    I'd like them to see re-color a old moive

  • Lvnatíc

     2 days ago

    @conflict gamer, if they put an amount of effort in the movie with all the colouring, imagine the amount of money they’ll earn.

  • Chubby Heart

     9 months ago

    I feel like they should start showing colored historical photos in schools. Just watching how the colors came gave it life in my opinion, it made me actually feel these were actual people, (they were of course but you know what I mean) not some history page. It might insight people to care more about the past to see them as someone who you could pass by on the street, and even be friends with.

  • I’m Jake Paul 🤨

     2 months ago


  • Constantine Pimentel

     2 months ago

    That's what my 7th grade teacher did, except it was a video.

  • jtiss _

     2 years ago

    This is incredible. I really love the transitions from monochrome to colour. It definitely brings in more life and character to these moments. Its pretty breathtaking.

  • The Flying Seagull

     2 years ago

    Jav Tiss oo

  • The Sexy Skywalker

     8 months ago

    Don't see the point of them being untouched. Why? Cause it's all digital, the original is preserved!! Stupid argument imo

  • Nicola Kerr

     21 days ago

    I like the coloured pictures because it makes the people seem more real and you can see what they saw at the time the picture was taken.

  • Justice Hussein

     27 days ago

    @Johnny S. But the colored photos are not substitutes. They are supplements. More to see.

  • Rooster Cogburn

     1 years ago

    Great work sir... You colorized 3 old photographs for my nephew in Texas, that he gifted me during his wedding ceremony. Two old pictures of my parents and my dad with his B17 bomber and crew circa 1942... These are the best gifts I have ever received. Thank you!


     2 months ago

    Omg that's awesome!

  • the dude

     7 months ago

    That's so awesome.

  • ashish Enginr

     9 months ago

    Suddenly past doesn't seem so long ago.

  • Ninavi Gumnam

     1 months ago

    In future, our grandchildren would make 360° VR photos from the photos we take today, and gift them on our 90th bday.So make sure you take good photos 😄

  • Boz 2011

     1 months ago

    Exactly, and it actually is not. i bet we would be mindblown if cameras were present earlier