Fan remasters 1941 Superman cartoon in 4K using free software

We’ve seen a number of fan-remastered classics over the past few years, the majority of which revolve around TV shows from the late ’80s through the 1990s, as well as historic footage. The latest remaster is different — it involves the classic Superman cartoon from the 1940s, one that, quite obviously, doesn’t look very good on modern televisions in its original resolution.

The classic Superman cartoon from the 1940s features a total of 17 short animations released by Paramount Pictures in Technicolor from Fleischer Studios and, later on, Famous Studios. The videos are all now part of the public domain, making them a suitable choice for unofficial remasters.

The animation was, in part, created using rotoscoping, though that was only a minimal part of the overall production — which, at the time, was a massively expensive undertaking for the studio. Decades have passed and those original pricey animations are now nothing more than simple classic cartoons, ones that look very rough when viewed in their original resolution on modern FHD and UHD TVs.

Earlier this year, YouTuber Jose Argumedo published a 4K remaster of the 1941 Superman cartoon episode “The Bulleteers.” Unlike many remasters that involve a paid image upscaling software called Gigapixel AI, this particular project utilized a free application called “Waifu2x.”

The somewhat unfortunate name aside, Waifu2x is a popular tool for upscaling images. To upscale a video, it must be broken down into its individual frames, which are then each upscaled and recompiled as a single higher-resolution video. Though this process isn’t difficult in the technical sense, it is typically a hardware-intensive process requiring a powerful computer and a lot of patience.

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