Using AI To Restore Popeye Cartoons
Written by David Conrad   
Sunday, 14 February 2021

Using artificial intelligence to restore or enhance film stock is a topic we've covered before. Now we have news of AI tools being used to breathe fresh life into classic cartoons, including those featuring Popeye.

Jim Ames of Cartoon Renewal Studios announced last month:

we're restoring ALL the classic cartoons to brilliant 1080 HD so they can be enjoyed forever

I've been dreaming of this project for some time...
We will be posting THOUSANDS of off-copyright cartoons digitally remastered and upscaled to 1080 HD.
We can process about 50 cartoons a month, at this time...
Hoping to scale up to 100 cartoons a month processing capability next month.
We could finish 1000 cartoons in 2021... stay tuned...

See the upscaled version of a Popeye cartoon dating from 1936. The restoration, was performed on a digital copy already in the public domain. 

To produce this version Jim Ames used the source from the Library of Congress as the master. He exported all 23,000 frames and had the artificial intelligence process each frame 11 times to restore the picture and sharpness. The frames were then reassembled into a movie and sound, color and saturation were restored.

To appreciate the process, here you can see the Cartoon Renewal Studios1080 HD digitally restored, remastered and upscaled version of the public domain cartoon Taxi Turvy 1954 with Popeye by Famous Studios, side by side with the damaged SD source:  

It seems very likely that we are on the verge of a time when every film ever made, cartoon or live action, can be restored as if it was made afresh. The vast back catalog of works that are currently only viewed by aficionados of the genre will suddenly be eligible for mainstream consumption.

AI can also help with translating dialog from one language to another. All those foreign language highbrow movies that you suffered could suddenly be about to be family viewing. It also raises the question of why bother with a remake when you can have an AI-make for a much lower cost.

The market for AI enhanced video is only just about to begin.



More Information

Cartoon Renewal Studios

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 February 2021 )