Deep Restoration of Vintage Photographs From Scanned Halftone Prints

Qifan Gao, Xiao Shu, Xiaolin Wu; The IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2019, pp. 4120-4129


A great number of invaluable historical photographs unfortunately only exist in the form of halftone prints in old publications such as newspapers or books. Their original continuous-tone films have long been lost or irreparably damaged. There have been attempts to digitally restore these vintage halftone prints to the original film quality or higher. However, even using powerful deep convolutional neural networks, it is still difficult to obtain satisfactory results. The main challenge is that the degradation process is complex and compounded while little to no real data is available for properly training a data-driven method. In this research, we adopt a novel strategy of two-stage deep learning, in which the restoration task is divided into two stages: the removal of printing artifacts and the inverse of halftoning. The advantage of our technique is that only the simple first stage requires unsupervised training in order to make the combined network generalize on real halftone prints, while the more complex second stage of inverse halftoning can be easily trained with synthetic data. Extensive experimental results demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed technique for real halftone prints; the new technique significantly outperforms the existing ones in visual quality.

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author = {Gao, Qifan and Shu, Xiao and Wu, Xiaolin},
title = {Deep Restoration of Vintage Photographs From Scanned Halftone Prints},
booktitle = {The IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
month = {October},
year = {2019}