Frequently asked questions

The Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions

Neither! All LayerCake collections are comprised of high-resolution tiffs and jpgs that open in Photoshop or any application that will allow you to open a layered image. There’s no complicated software to install, they’re images just like your personal ones. Click on any collection page or background and it automatically opens Photoshop and you’re off to work!

Collection downloads can take up to an hour, perhaps less with a speedy Internet connection. Why? You get a lot for your money with LayerCake, the collections are big and all high-resolution, you wouldn’t want it any other way so it’s well worth the wait. Collections download best one at a time, once one is downloaded, go back to your account window and download the next. If you can’t wait, we’ll send you DVDs, we have a flat rate of $10.00 for burning, shipping and handling DVDs.

Downloads are different from computer to computer and from PC to Mac, depending how your system preferences are set up. For the most part downloads end up on your desktop or in your downloads folder. Look for the file name of the download in your account area on LayerCake’s site. Start by looking on the desktop, if it’s not there, search for your downloads folder, they’ve also been known to hide on your PC’s C drive or the main hard drive of a Mac. When all else fails, go to the search function, on you PC click “Start” in the “Search programs and files” box at the bottom, place the file name and hit enter. On a Mac, look for the little magnifying glass in the upper right of your screen, that’s Sherlock, put the name in and hit enter to search. When you find it, open the file and resave it in a place where you can find it.

Don’t think about LayerCake collections as needing to be installed, they are not software applications or programs. LayerCake collections are image files, just like your own images. The simplest thing to do is to make a folder called “LayerCake” and place it on your computer where you keep your favorite images. When you purchase a new LayerCake collection, drag the collection folder from your DVD, or the from where on the computer it was downloaded, into the new LayerCake folder you created. Now you’ll always know where you LayerCake collections are filed. Check out “Organizing your files” in our tutorials under “Basics” We’ll show you how to use Adobe Bridge to organize your files like you never thought possible!

No new software to learn! LayerCake collections were created to work with any version of Photoshop CS, Photoshop Elements and or any application that opens layered files. We know how difficult it is to learn and use some of the new album software on the market today, but not LayerCake. You can work with your images and build amazing albums using nothing more than the Photoshop skills you already have.

LayerCake collections work best with any CS version of Photoshop on a Mac or a PC. They will also work with any version of Photoshop Elements on layered files or backgrounds. The one incompatibility issue is that Photoshop Elements is not capable of loading actions or styles such as our famous Buddy Action sets that will cut holes in matts, color type and add image effects with filters. However with the drag and drop capabilities of Elements, you can still create many of the same effects manually.

All layerCake elements and backgrounds are large, high-resolution 300 dpi tiffs and jpgs. Masked elements collections are compiled on large 20″ X 24″ layered tiff pallets. In many cases when you drag one of our elements onto your image, it’ll be much larger than you need it to be, simply because most people’s images are 240 dpi or lower in resolution. Once you place an element on your photo, change it into a smart object which will prevent it from losing resolution as you upsize and down size the element. (see “Using Smart Objects” in our “Basics” tutorials). Our backgrounds are 300 dpi jpgs. Why jpgs, don’t they degrade? Yes if you resave the background many times over as a jpeg. The best process is to save the original jpg and re-save a copy as a tiff file. Now you can save it as many times as you want without loosing detail and resolution. A little tip about 300 dpi. 300 dpi is the resolution necessary for litho printing, such as in the printing of brochures on a printing press. Most high-end color printers such as Epson’s require 240 dpi images for best quality output, so LayerCake collections are more than enough to give you picture perfect high-resolution output.

In some cases we bundle with our background collections sets what are called “Actions” and “Styles”. Actions and styles are presets for adding special effects to photos, coloring type and dingbats, cutting holes in mats and a lot of commonly Photoshop processes that we turned into “one click” buttons. They’re very creative and save you a lot of workflow time in creating your own templates, building albums and unique portrait backgrounds. Actions and Styles are specifically created for a CS version of Photoshop and are easily installed if you follow our “Working with actions” tutorial located in “Basics”. Actions and Styles will not work with Photoshop Elements or any non Adobe application.

Layercake collections are royalty free just like purchasing from Getty, Corbis or iStock. As the purchaser, you are allowed to use them, change them and resell them as part of your saleable project work. You are not allowed to resell them in their original state, or give them away to a friend or colleague to use on their projects. Your LayerCake collections can be used on as many of your computers as you deem necessary and can be used by people other than yourself on your projects, in your home or office. LayerCake collections are not transferable to any party other than the original purchaser. All LayerCake collections are copyright protected.

We have an extensive and growing list of tutorials on this website that answer most of the common questions. If there is a tutorial you’d like us to create, please inform Alan a Alan@LayerCakeelements.com. We have the greatest support there is, so if you need some “Real Person” help on using our collections, a rarity these days, don’t hesitate to call Alan Mayer at 818 952 0202. If you have problems with an order or have questions on collections, email or call Harry Kerker, Harry@LayerCakeelements.com or call him at 818 542 3500.

 

Elements FAQs

Since before the time of Van Gogh, artists have gone into the field and drawn multiple sketches to be composited on canvas later. Van Gogh knew if a tree was necessary in the barren landscape he was sketching, he had the perfect one waiting in drawer full of sketches back at his studio. Today’s digital photographer uses these same principals and LayerCake Elements was created to put a sketch drawer full photographic elements at their fingertips

LayerCake Elements are professionally photographed and masked (backgrounds removed) plants, flowers, and trees etc., designed as accents to enhance and improve your images. Each element can be easily sized, stretched, cut, erased, lightened, darkened even duplicated to fit and compliment your photo.

Quite often the basic subject of your photo is good, but the background or landscape may be Spartan or the sky is blownout. With LayerCake Elements you can simply drag and drop elements to make your image more dramatic, creative and saleable as well.

Professionals who want to sell more images. LayerCake Elements are perfect for portrait and wedding photographers, professionals that shoot architecture and exteriors and graphic designers. The net result is timesavings, more striking images and a competitive advantage, resulting and far more print sales.

Serious amateurs and photo artists. LayerCake Elements are that small touch that gives your photo meaning. It may be as simple as grouping of trees or a horse added to a distant field, a flock of birds or a dramatic sky that makes your photo stand out from the competition.

Have you ever walked away from a scene because there were not enough greenery, trees, shrubs, flowers etc. How often have you wasted time looking for that “special” place. Now with LayerCake Elements you no longer have to worry, you can shoot a scene knowing that you can simply “DRAG and DROP those elements into your photo to fill dead spaces or to add color. So now you can just move on to the next shot knowing you can make it perfect in the studio.

Now you no longer have to spend hours of studio time cloning out or reconstructing over a distraction. Just simply drag and drop an element over the undesirable distraction and make you prints!

Anytime you can reduce your workflow time you save money, “time is money.” You no longer need to scout or to travel to exotic locations with assistants and all your equipment. You spend less time sweetening your images on the computer. You can save as much or as little as you want using LayerCake Elements.

Your images will be more desirable to the client. Adding elements such as flowers, birds, trees, arches, balustrades, skies and so on will enhance your image, taking it from a good photo to a masterpiece. And most assuredly, allow you to sell more prints and charge more money.

Although there may be similar products, we have not seen one quite like it and our customers say so as well. There are templates available, however templates are limited in how much they can be personalized. LayerCake Elements allow you to be the artist, using your own unique design talents, limited by your own creativity.

Depends on what you consider expensive. If you purchased an image (not masked) from a royalty free stock image house you could pay up to $5.00 per image. Our Master Collection of almost 500, 300 dpi high-resolution images will cost you under 60 cents an image.

Yes, we will deliver them to you anywhere in the world on DVD. There is an additional $10.00 for the DVD disks however, but we will send you the download links so start using them immediately.

A basic knowledge of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements is important, if you know how to create layers and how to drag and drop an image form another image you should be fine. The better you are in Photoshop, the better your images will look and you will get better the more you play with your LayerCake Elements.

It’s inherently simple. Drag the element off the layered transparency page and drop it on to your hero image and it automatically becomes a new layer. It’s that simple.

On a PC hold the alt key down, select the element hold the mouse over it and drag. On a Mac, hold the option key down and right click, a box will appear allowing you to duplicate a layer.

For the most part yes, but the better you are at Photoshop the more realistic you can make them look. Each element is on a separate layer so you can adjust it to match lighting conditions, change its saturation and color, resize, stretch, duplicate or blur if needed to match theimage’s depth of field.

Once you drag an element into the photo you must determine where you want to place it and what the lighting conditions are in that area. You may need to flip it so it matches the direction of the light. You may also want to blur the image to mimic depth of field. The better you understand light the more realistic your images will look.

We photograph most elements in a shaded conditions before it is extracted from the background. We also provide them fully saturated with natural color. In this manner, you have full latitude to desaturate color, change brightness levels and add highlights where you feel necessary

LayerCake Elements may be big when you drag them onto your photo. Once brought in do this: On a Mac hit “Apple or Command” key and then the “T” key at the same time. On a PC use the “Option” key and the “T” Key. A box will appear around the element. With you pointer grab the corner while holding down the shift key and you’ll be able to reduce the size of the element proportionally. Now for a better fit select “Transform”, you can now stretch, distort and warp an image.

You can duplicate flowers, shrubs or ivy for instance to cover a larger area by making groups of them. As you duplicate elements Photoshop will put them on individual layers so you can move them around and fit them together. Just be sure you flip them horizontally periodically under “Transform” so they don’t create a noticeable pattern. Once your flower bed has been filled or background filled with ivy, select just those layers and “Merge Layers”, now your elements will all be on one layer. Be sure not to select “Merge All” or you’ll merge or flatten everything.

If you have a flat sky in your image against hard edges such as buildings, it’s relatively simple to select the old sky and “paste into” your selection a new LayerCake sky. Cloudy skies or trees overlapping the sky make it more difficult. Photoshop provides full tutorials for complicated examples like this. For future reference, when shooting on a bright, cloudy or poorly lit day, expose for your subject and let the sky blow out. That way you’ll be able to select the sky much easier and replace it with a beautiful LayerCake sky.

We have dragged in elements and enlarged them to 8 foot by 5 foot proportions for our vendor shows and they look great! They are all 300dpi high-res tiffs.

Some items are easier than others. The complicated ones such as trees and bushes are very difficult and our designers can often spend hours on one item.

Yes you can! There are many masking programs in the market today and Photoshop has an on-line masking tutorial. We encourage you to do that so you’ll see the work and time involved in masking and the real value of LayerCake Elements.

Send us an email and we’ll try to add it to our catalog (info@LayerCakeElements.com). Add your name to our mailing list under “About” and “Add me to you mailing list” and we’ll let you know as new things are added.

LayerCake Elements are not software, they are simple layered tiff files. They will open on PCs and Mac’s in any application that opens a layered tiff.

Sure those are available for an additional $10.00.

Yes indeed. We will continue to travel the planet and offer new collections on a continual basis. You will be notified immediately when the next set of collections are available. If you add your name to our mailing list under “About” and “Add me to you mailing list” we’ll keep you in the loop.

Once you have purchased a “PREMIER COLLECTION” you will be on our preferred customer list. When new collections become available, we will offer you a special sale price for a limited time.

No you can’t. All images are copyrighted and rights protected. You can use them as long as you want for personal or business purposes but you cannot transfer or resell them to another person or business even in a derivative form. Click here for the user license.

Yes we are in the process of creating a contributing photographer group. We will take your originals, mask out the elements we like and pay you a royalty every time your image is sold! We do have a criteria that includes camera, megapixel size, subject matter, lighting and whether or not elements are easily masked out.

Please email us at info@layercakeelements.com and we’ll send you a contract to review and photo requirements.

Yes you will receive a link via email with directions for downloading. The files are large and take in some cases over an hour to download so be patient. Perhaps download at night and your files will be on your desktop in the morning.

It’s an automatic process so if you don’t get an email within minutes, check your junk mail folder for a subject like “Your LayerCake files are ready for download”. If it’s not there, email us at orders@layercakeelements.com

We archive all our collections in order to make them smaller for download. We use an application that creates a .zip file. In order to unarchive your collections, you will need a .zip expander application on your computer. Commonly your system has an expander application built in to it and you can double click on the .zip file and it’ll open automatically. If not you can go online and download free versions of Stuffit Expander for the Mac and Unzip for the PC.

Albums FAQs

LayerCake Albums are designed to create custom albums, others are template driven. Templates provide a means for the photographer to drop his or her photos into a pre-existing box, the photographer has no design control over these tired overused grid systems. LC provides the tools for designing a “SIGNATURE MASTERPIECE” enabling you to get “TOP DOLLAR” while spending virtually the same time as you would with boring templates.

LayerCake Elements are professionally photographed and masked (backgrounds removed) plants, flowers, and trees etc., designed as accents to enhance and improve your images. Each element can be easily sized, stretched, cut, erased, lightened, darkened even duplicated to fit and compliment your photo.

Quite often the basic subject of your photo is good, but the background or landscape may be Spartan or the sky is blownout. With LayerCake Elements you can simply drag and drop elements to make your image more dramatic, creative and saleable as well.

These we call our “Custom Layouts” the photos are merely placement suggestions to assist you in designing your album. They are on separate layers and can easily be turned off in the layers pallet or removed; you simply place your photos in their place within the provided frames.

Photoshop Actions are custom shortcuts we create that add different effects to images with a simple click, saving you hours. We’ve created actions that change the size of images, apply color filters, image tilts, drop shadows even coloration of type and ornaments. The Master Album Collection has 88 amazing ones.

We have over 190 wedding accents, 29 frames, 115 wedding phrases, ornaments and monograms. These are the tools that help you create custom albums that no other collection can. You will have favorites of course, so create a favorites page at 300 dpi and drag your elements over so they’re always handy and you don’t have to search. Begin you design by simply dragging and dropping these elements onto the background spreads.

If you need to produce an album in hours, simply start with our pre-existing custom layouts and drag and drop your photos into the frames that are provided on each spread. You can easily create a new look by saving your finished layouts, then adding a different background to the new one and changing out a few elements and frames. Once you build your first album this will become the basis of your next album so it’ll eventually take you less time and your designs will still be fresh and original.

Ornaments are also commonly referred to as dingbats. A dingbat is a decorative symbol, or a typographic character used as a graphic design embellishment. When designing your layout, ornaments are useful as framing devices, dividers, or beautiful design enhancements.

Indeed most brides want to have their own wedding wardrobe in the album. Think of ours as sales tools. Show the bride how you can lay out her album with our accents and explain that ours can be easily replaced with hers. You just sold yourself a full studio day shooting the gowns and tuxes. There are also instances when laying out the album you just want a hint of those items. By using our overlay or transparency action, you can make them undistinguishable fading them off into the background.

Our designers, former wedding photographers, know the importance of theme pages and the time it takes to develop them. Our album collection includes accents like Champaign glasses, cakes and knives, garters, dancing, bouquet toss and rings… spreads can easily be designed to fit the most important events.

Our wedding quotes are high quality rasterized .tif files, they are not fonts. That means you can drag and drop them, use our 80 plus actions to resize, emboss, drop shadow and recolor them but you cannot retype the words. You can create your own quotes using the type tool, however they will never look as professional as LayerCake’s that have been designed and kerned to perfection by professional designers.

Absolutely! Our album design is a 20”x24” ratio, but you can crop them or copy and paste them into any page size you want. Remember all accents and elements are on separate layers and can be moved and resized to fit within your target page size.

We do. We recognize the importance of utilizing religious symbols in your design. LC provides stain glass windows from both faiths, and an assortment of accents, which includes assortments of bibles and religious books, the torah, and many other wonderful accents to help you in your design.

This is the fundamental difference between LayerCake and our competition. Templates are for people with no design sense. A template forces you into a predetermined grid like design. You drag your photos into boxes. Every album created with that template looks the same. So when a bride comes in it’s not unlikely she may say… “Gee that looks like my friend’s album!”.

LayerCake Albums were created to enhance your creativity not hamper it. They were designed for the photographer that wants to get a leg up on his competition and sell “signature” albums for top dollar. LC provides you with the tools, accents, actions, embellishments, etc; that give you a full creative pallet to express your creativity. Let your imagination run wild!

Most novice PhotoShop users have the basic skills necessary to work with LayerCake. You should be familiar knowing how to drag and drop an item, resize it, use actions and so on. A lot of that is covered in our tutorials. But LayerCake is so easy to use any level PhotoShop user can pick it up rather easily.

Absolutely! In fact any software that will open a tiff and allow you to create a layer will work with our collections. There is only one exception; the actions part of our collections are only compatible with a full version of Photoshop. But everything else is fully compatible, PC or Mac.

LayerCake is not software. They are layered tiff files that open in Photoshop and other applications that you are already familiar with. So there is no ramp up time like with other products, you open the files and start working today!

Indeed we do. Please refer to our website under the heading “SUPPORT” there is a tutorial in the fly down menu.

Our founder Master Photographer Alan Mayer is an award winning landscape and wedding photographer. He understands the complexity of shooting weddings and the demands of brides and their families to create unique one-of-a-kind wedding albums. When the Elements collection was launched, it was the perfect path to creating an easily customized system for designing Albums.

That’s the beauty of our collections. They are so flexible that what you create will never look like what your competition creates.

Most companies sell you bits and pieces that add up to big dollars when you get to a collection that’s comparable to ours. In fact there is no collection on the market that includes all the accents we do. So we feel confident in saying “there is no comparison”. Dollar for dollar, you get more bang for your buck with a LayerCake Album collection.

Yes we will. In the near future we will be offering free online webinars. Check our website periodically for upcoming events.

Absolutely, call Alan Mayer at 818.627.1856 or Harry Kerker at 818.627.0639, you can speak to the creators!

The files are all very large because they are of high quality resolution for optimum reproduction. We always recommend that you download one file at a time. The average PC’s DSL connection can only handle maximum download of 2 gigs at one time. Downloading more than that will choke the connection. Each file may take as long as a hour and a half.

DVD collections are shipped via U.S. Postal within the United States and Canada for a flat fee of $10.00. Shipping to Europe, Asia and he rest of the world is $15.00

LC’s design team continues to upgrade our collections. New spreads will become available in the near future. At that time and if you are on our mailing list, we’ll alert you and you can simply purchase the new backgrounds you want. Join our mailing list under the “About Us” tab “Keep me informed”.

Yes, we encourage you to visit our website regularly and click on the “On Sale Now” tab at the top of the page. We have great offers for buying multiple collections at discount prices.

We ship by U.S. Mail. We can ship using any service you prefer, but additional fees may apply. If you’re interested in that option, contact us at info@layercakeelements.com before you purchase.

Nope! LayerCake’s collections are fully copyrighted. You personally can use them for as long as you want. However you are not allowed by law to transfer usage to any other party or re-sell them.