GFPGAN—first made it onto our radar when it was featured in the August 28 edition of the (excellent) Recomendo newsletter, specifically, a post by Kevin Kelly. In it, he says that he uses this free program to restore his own old family photos, noting that it focuses solely on the faces of those pictured, and “works pretty well, sometimes perfectly, in color and black and white.”
The tool is incredibly easy to use. If you are accessing GFPGAN on your phone, you have the option of selecting a photo from your library, or taking a new photo to use. When we accessed the page on a laptop, the only option was choosing a file from your computer.
Anyway, once you upload the photo, tap or click the green “Restore photo” button, and then wait for the final product. While the results aren’t instant, the restoring process takes roughly 15 to 20 seconds.
First, your original image will show up on the left, and then a few seconds later, the restored image will appear on the right. There’s a link you can click directly underneath the restored photo to download it. That’s it!
Of course, if a photo is damaged and part of someone’s face has torn off, GFPGAN can’t make it reappear, but the tool can improve the quality of what’s there. As an example, here’s a screenshot from the version of the program on the Baseten web page, featuring one of my own family photos:
I never knew who the woman on the bottom left of the photo was, but in the restored image, I can easily identify her as my great-aunt.