We've seen that Adjustment Layers come with Layer Masks, but you can also use Layer Masks with Pixel Layers although you have to add them manually. These two images are the same scene, but one was exposed for the Highlights and one for the Shadows. We'll combine the two to get an image that's properly exposed throughout. To begin I'm going to move this image into the other one. In CS4 it's easier to do that if you click the tab and pull it down to put that image in its own floating window, then click on the Move Tool, hold down the Shift key, click on the image you want to move and drag it over the other image and let go. By holding down the Shift key when the image moved into the other image it centered itself. If you don't hold down the Shift key then it may come over but it will not be centered and you'll need to manually drag it into the right position. Notice now in the Layers Panel I have two Pixel Layers. Here's the original background layer, and here's the layer that I just dragged in. To add a Layer Mask to the Pixel Layer I'm going to make sure that my top Layer is selected and then I'm going to come over here to the third Icon from the left, that's the Add Layer Mask Icon, and click it. I'll click it just once because if I click it a second time I'll get a Vector Mask and that's not what we want. I'm just going to drag that to the garbage and click OK. We just want the single Mask, that's the Layer Mask. The Layer Mask that we just added works exactly the same as the Layer Masks that come with Adjustment Layers. So right now what we need to do is to cut a hole in this layer in the window area to let this layer come through in the window. So I'll choose my Brush Tool, make sure that I'm set to Black and White in the Color Picker with Black as the Foreground color. I'll make my brush a little bit larger. Now, I'm going to paint on my Layer Mask with black. I'll make sure that my Opacity is up at 100 percent, and I'll make certain that the Layer Mask is selected and not the Layer. The way I can tell that the Layer Mask is selected is because there is a little frame highlight around the Layer Mask. If the Layer were selected that little frame mark would be around the image layer pixels themselves. I'll click on the Layer Mask and now it has the little frame marks around it, and I can begin bringing in the other image. And I'm working quickly here. You would want to zoom in and work more accurately than what I'm doing here, and this is one of those situations where it's very likely that you would not want a totally soft brush, that you might well want a brush that's at least medium hard if not even a little bit harder. We'll come in, make the brush smaller, and then perhaps I realize that I wished that I hadn't gone over the window frame. I'll toggle my colors so that white is my foreground color, make my brush smaller, and I can go over the parts that I wish I hadn't gone over. Now I think that that would actually be too stark and I might prefer this at about 50 percent Opacity and I'd like my brush to be a little bit softer than what I initially thought there. So now when I begin working you can see that I can come over and make the Framework match into the room better. I'm not going to take the time to work in great detail and finish the composite right now because the point of the video is to show you that you can add a Layer Mask to a Pixel Layer so that you can, in essence, cut a hole in those pixels and see the pixels that are underneath them. This does require that you work a little bit carefully to make your Mask accurately. If, by accident, you have the pixels selected rather than the Layer Mask then when you start to paint - and I'll set this back up to 100 percent to make it obvious - that when you start to paint you'll be painting with black right on your image as though you're making graffiti. If you recognize it immediately, Ctrl-Z on a PC, Command-Z on a Mac will Undo it, or you can come up in your History Palette and click back to before you made the mistake. As you can see, using a Layer Mask on a Pixel Layer is one way to create a composite image, and one way to do a basic high-dynamic range image. We'll be using Layer Masks in a lot of different ways.
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