Adobe's Scribbler AI automatically colorizes any portrait

But so far it only does faces.

Bettmann Archive

Finally! Adobe has devised a method of adding a touch of color to black and white images without all the dimension-jumping time travel (looking at you Pleasantville). At the company's Adobe MAX 2017 event on Thursday, research scientist Jingwan Lu demonstrated Project Scribbler, an AI-driven program that can not only add color but also shading and image texture to grey-scale pictures in just seconds.

Scribbler leverages Adobe's Sensei deep learning platform to automatically touch up images. Researchers trained the program on the various bits and pieces of the human face using tens of thousands of images, some monochromatic, others accurately colored. By comparing the two types of images, the program was able to work out the appropriate areas to color in (ie, not the teeth).

There are still limits to what Scribbler can do. For example, it can only currently handle painting faces, not entire bodies or scenes. Still, this technology should prove a boon to illustrators and editors who would otherwise spend hours accurately tinting these images. Scribbler is still in development as a standalone program, like the Adobe VoCo tool, and has yet to be integrated into any of the company's Creative Cloud apps as of yet.