Colorization using optimization

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

328 Scopus citations


Colorization is a computer-assisted process of adding color to a monochrome image or movie. The process typically involves segmenting images into regions and tracking these regions across image sequences. Neither of these tasks can be performed reliably in practice; consequently, colorization requires considerable user intervention and remains a tedious, time-consuming, and expensive task. In this paper we present a simple colorization method that requires neither precise image segmentation, nor accurate region tracking. Our method is based on a simple premise: neighboring pixels in space-time that have similar intensities should have similar colors. We formalize this premise using a quadratic cost function and obtain an optimization problem that can be solved efficiently using standard techniques. In our approach an artist only needs to annotate the image with a few color scribbles, and the indicated colors are automatically propagated in both space and time to produce a fully colorized image or sequence. We demonstrate that high quality colorizations of stills and movie clips may be obtained from a relatively modest amount of user input.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2004
EventACM SIGGRAPH 2004, SIGGRAPH 2004 - Los Angeles, CA, United States
Duration: 8 Aug 200412 Aug 2004


ConferenceACM SIGGRAPH 2004, SIGGRAPH 2004
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLos Angeles, CA


  • Colorization
  • Recoloring
  • Segmentation


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