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I've just started working with Gimp, and I would eventually like to try my hand at colorization. One photo I would like to do is of my father and mother from circa 1943. He is in his uniform, and his unit patch (63rd Infantry, "Blood and Flame") can be seen. However, it appears that the picture was taken on orthochromatic film, because what would be red shows up as a deep black. The same is true for the lipstick my mother is wearing. How can I make these appear as appropriate shades of red? Simply adding a red layer doesn't work, since it is swallowed up by the black.

UPDATE: Here is a picture of the patch from Wikipedia: enter image description here

And here is a small section of my photo showing the patch: enter image description here

You can see how the old film renders the red as a deep black.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Nothing in the dark areas looks like the flames of the patch, so trying to colorize that area is hopeless IMHO, but grafting a patch using the image above could be doable. But before you attempt colorization, this image requires some very serious clean-up. \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, @xenoid. I agree with the serious clean-up, and that is my first objective with this particular picture. As to the patch, I would say that the edge is OD green, as is the curved line going through the black region. The light region toward the back of the patch appears to be the sword. As I said, the use of ortho film makes anything red appear black. You are probably right about grafting in the patch, but I was hoping to avoid things that would have to be totally hand-drawn. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat B.
    Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Correction on that last sentence: "You are probably right about grafting in the patch, but I will have to investigate how to properly scale and rotate." \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat B.
    Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 19:10

2 Answers 2

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All depends how you colorize, and nothing says that you have to use the same method on the whole picture. You can extract parts to their own layer (and possibly layer groups if your colorization involves layers), so that they appear above the general image.

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Colorization aside, I don't think that's the same patch.

Patch

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    \$\begingroup\$ This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 12:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kai Mattern - Agreed, but the comment required an image. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 23:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ It could be the same patch. There is a fold so only part of it is visible. The lighter bar could be the sword running along the fold. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 8:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xiota - The outer flame pattern is radically diiferent to me. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 16:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ It was shot on orthochromatic film, so the colors of the flame and surrounding patch may not separate well. Plus, it appears to be an out-of-focus area that's been over processed. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 19:56

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