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I'm trying to recolor parts of an image to match another part of the image.

As an example, consider this image of an anime character's arm wearing a black glove:

enter image description here

I want to remove the glove, i.e. I want to make it match the arm's skin color. The result should look something like this:

enter image description here

Of course, in the case of a simple shape like an arm this can be easily done with some copy/paste and the smudge tool, but it's difficult with more complex shapes that you can't just copy/paste.

Since the glove is already shaded, I just need to turn the black/dark colors to skin color.

Hence, my question: Having two more-or-less similar gradients, how can I adjust the colors of one gradient to match the other?


What I tried:

  • Using the Colors->Colorize tool can produce decent results depending on the image, but sometimes it's very difficult to get the colors right. Using the above image, the closest I could get was absolutely terrible:

    enter image description here

  • The Colors->Map->Color Exchange... tool works well for single colors, but I couldn't find a way to make it work with a gradient/multiple colors.

  • Colors->Map->Gradient Map works, but is extremely cumbersome because there's no live preview and getting the gradient just right takes a lot of experimentation.
  • This is not a simple task - maybe even impossible (though I hope someone comes up with an answer anyway). The black gradient seems to have less details than the skin. Black is not a hue but absence of color, so it's hard to manipulate without affecting the other colors. This leads to masking all the black areas etc. Maybe it's faster to trace or redraw the character? – Wolff Jun 13 '18 at 21:18
  • @Wolff It doesn't have to be perfect. If the color is slightly off I can fix that easily enough with some careful application of the Smudge tool or by adding a transparency gradient. As long as the colors are fairly close, I can work with that. My current workflow includes a lot of manual work with the Clone Tool and copy/pasting small parts of the image. For example if the arm were bent at the elbow, I'd copy a small part of the arm and manually rotate it and paste it a bunch of times. It just seems like there has to be an easier way to do it, you know? – Aran-Fey Jun 13 '18 at 21:30
  • You could try Patch Tool instead of copy/pasting. But it's still a lot of clicking where you end up "drawing" the image many times before you are done instead of just redrawing it to begin with. Anyway good luck. – Wolff Jun 13 '18 at 21:38

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