Automatically correct color distortion in underwater photos with “Sea-thru”

When diving you’ll notice that the colors start acting up: everything will become more washed out (and look more green/blue) from the moment you look down in the water, and everything will become darker as you descend. Colors like red go first: at a depth of 10m it looks brown. To correct this, underwater photographers like myself use red filters or software in post-production. The cleverly named “Sea-Thru” is an algorithm that can do this automatically:

Sea-thru’s image analysis factors in the physics of light absorption and scattering in the atmosphere, compared with that in the ocean, where the particles that light interacts with are much larger. Then the program effectively reverses image distortion from water pixel by pixel, restoring lost colors.

Here’s a comparison gif:

It comes with one big caveat though:

One caveat is that the process requires distance information to work.

I’m pretty sure that you’ll only need to do this once per type of water. With my own GoPro it usually takes me a dive or two to get my settings right and then I can continue on using with the same settings (at the same location and under the same conditions)

Scientific American: Sea-thru Brings Clarity to Underwater Photos →

Published by Bramus!

Bramus is a frontend web developer from Belgium, working as a Chrome Developer Relations Engineer at Google. From the moment he discovered view-source at the age of 14 (way back in 1997), he fell in love with the web and has been tinkering with it ever since (more …)

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