Enhancement of old colour photographs using Generative Adversarial Networks

It’s almost Christmas, I haven’t posted anything in a while and I see that WordPress has an Image Compare feature, so let’s have some colourful fun.

When I’m not at the computer writing R code, I can often be found at the computer processing photographs. Or at the computer browsing Twitter, which is how I came across Stuart Humphryes, a digital artist who enhances autochromes. Autochromes are early colour photographs, generated using a process patented by the Lumière brothers in 1903. You can find and download many examples of them online. Stuart uses a variety of software tools to clean, enhance and balance the colours, resulting in bright vivid images that often have a contemporary feel, whilst at the same time retaining the somewhat “dreamy” quality of the original.

Having read that one of his tools uses neural networks, I was keen to discover how easy it is to achieve something similar using freely-available software found online. The answer is “quite easy” – although achieving results as good as Stuart’s is somewhat more difficult. Here’s how I went about it.

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Thoughts on other programming languages

With respect to their potential for bioinformatics web applications:

Feature Python Ruby
Modern, clean syntax, object-oriented Yes Yes
Web framework Django (and others) Rails (and others)
Bio library BioPython BioRuby
Extensive Bio graphics library Not really – any more than this? Kind of – Bio::Graphics
Use with App Engine Yes Not yet
Well-regarded by scientific programmers Yes M. Wood, J. Badger, ??

To the novice, it looks like “much of a muchness”. Thoughts?

Two great open science resources

The Twitter + FriendFeed combination is proving to be a very useful information stream; not just from other people but as a reminder of what I thought was worth sharing. Two links from there that I think deserve wider attention:

  • One Big Lab proposes that we become, well, one big lab – and has some ideas as to how that might work.
  • From the OWW wiki, an excellent article on python in computational biology. This has been presented at Pycon 2008 and is also a companion article to a paper in PLoS Computational Biology. Imagine if everyone described their methods in this detail.

Deepak has some commentary on what we’re now calling the “bio-twitterverse”.