Tech

The MyHeritage Photo Enhancer uses AI to restore old family pictures

The new software is free to try, and might be one of the best examples yet of AI-assisted photo touch-ups.

MyHeritage, YouTube

Ever wanted to see the pores on your great-great-granddad's nose? Well now’s your chance. Earlier this summer, the genealogy site MyHeritage released its Photo Enhancer tool employing AI deep learning software to bring antique images into the twenty-first century in eerily high definition. Per Photo Enhancer's FAQs, "Often, the results are stunning and highly believable. However, since the enhancement is a simulation, done by algorithms, its results may be inaccurate and, in rare cases, even distorted."

As such, the results seem to range from “emotionally touching glimpses into a previously hazy past” to “creepy uncanny valley of the possessed child dolls.”

Do it for the (litho)gram MyHeritage’s AI-assisted enhancement software isn’t anything particularly new to the game (although it is certainly very, very good at its job), but it is one of the simplest to use, essentially combining all the automatic editing into a one-click package. The touch-up tech also includes an “In Color” option to gussy up otherwise black-and-white and/or sepia images.

Paying a price for your past Since its debut in June, the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer option has become a big hit on social media, with people posting countless examples of deep learning’s ever-improving abilities.

That said, taking full advantage of the service will come at a cost. Anyone can test out the Photo Enhancer themselves a limited number of times for free with non-removable MyHeritage watermarks, but unlimited access requires a “Complete Plan” for the genealogy site, which will set you back $199 for the first year, and $299 annually after that. But hey, can you really put a price on family?

Yes. The answer is apparently, "Yes."