Let me throw in one more example to expand on Michel's comments.
If you hijack an adjustment layer, you really have only three layers. Because the eyeball is turned off of the BG layer, think if it as not being there. When you use an adjustment layer to provide the mask, remember that White Reveals
and Black Hides
. And understand, we are hiding or revealing whatever is on the layer just above the adjustment layer -- the layer that is grouped with the adjustment layer (indented + the bent arrow)
Note that in one of these I used a Levels adjustment layer, in the other I used a Hue/Sat adjustment layer; it makes absolutely no difference. When the adjustment layer is created by Elements, the entire mask is white -- everything in the above layer is revealed and, thus, covering up whatever is in the layer below the adjustment layer.
Note that in one I put the color layer on top - you paint the mask in black where you want to hide what is in the color layer and reveal what is in the B&W layer below. On the other example I put the B&W layer on top - when you paint in black here, you are hiding what's on the B&W layer and revealing what is on the color layer below.
Here is one last image to show what the mask is doing.
You can do the exact same thing with two layers and an eraser. The problem is, any error is fatal. Erase the wrong thing, and miss catching it immediately to use Undo
, you have to start all over. The black paint on the layer mask is acting exactly like erasing the pixels
-- it is hiding them, blocking them from showing. If you screw up with the mask and paint something black that you want to show, simply switch your color to white and paint over the black. Voila - the image is restored.
There are at least two other easy ways I can think of to blend B&W with color -- I'm sticking with this one because I thought that was the subject/point of this excellent thread.
PS - how many Elements Users does it take to change a light bulb? Five - one to change the bulb and four others to tell him/her there is another, easier way to do it
That's the nice thing about Elements, lots of roads lead to the exact same place.