I vertex painted my mesh. I then unwrapped and assigned a texture. brown is vertex paint white/ grey is my grey scale image texture

This is the node setup i used. Node Setup

It is almost exactly what i want. But. The vertex paint is affecting the transparency of the uvmapped texture not the grey scale of it. I need this opposite.

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    $\begingroup$ @EthanSmith if you press Ctrl F3 you can make a screen grab of blender's screen. $\endgroup$ – user1853 Oct 31 '15 at 14:59

A transparent shader converts the brightness of the input image to transparency. There is no such thing as "grey scale of a transparent shader", because the transparent shader only absorbs light (based on the color and value of it's input). To get a white feedback of the shader (independently of the background), you need to use a shader, which reflects the light based on the brightness of your attribute. To archive your objective, you have to input the factor of your attribute (your vertex paint layer) into the diffuse shader: Node Setup Result

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