Review of Sleeklens Landscape Adventure Collection
It was great to be asked to do a review of the new Landscape Adventures Collection by by the Danish photography software designers Sleeklens. This is collection of Photoshop Actions - which are essentially a record of a sequence of post-processing steps, that can be applied to numerous photographs. It is compatible with Adobe Photoshop versions 4 through 6 to CC
Photographers are able to create actions to do all manner of frequently used post-processing techniques such as re-sizing and sharpening an image for the web; high pass filter sharpening, etc.
The Landscape Adventures Collection offers a useful set of 56 Landscape Photo Actions - including such things as:
- Reduce Highlights
- Brighten Shadows
- Expanded dynamic range
- Dynamic Contrast
- Split tone
and many more...
All in one Actions
- many of these, but best used in subtly blended layers
- Dynamic sky
- Sky enhancer
- Detail enhancer
- Cool shadows
- Warm highlights
- Deep blue sky
- Dreamy Landscape
- Dark dreams
- Sunset flare
- Digital image
- Film grain
The Landscape Adventures Collection can work for you as a time saver. Whilst a large proportion of these actions could be replicated by confident Photoshop users manually, these Actions can be also applied to an image by a photographer who is still growing in their confidence and knowledge of using Photoshop.
It can help solve some of the learning gaps on things you want to enhance / balance out / reduce within a photo but don't yet know how to achieve easily.
Regardless of your confidence/ abilities in using Photoshop, once you get used to the options and possibilities, using these Actions can save time in your processing - which of course is the aim of using Actions in Photoshop! My only niggle is the lack of a preview of the effect that a particular Action will have, though with familiarity users should be able to 'pre-visualise' the effect to an extent. As the layers can be blended, you have the chance to control the strength of each Actions effect - which is a plus point.
By use of layer masks, layer blending, curves and levels, etc - experienced Photoshop users can easily fine tune the effects of each of the Actions on offer - such as in the post-processing workflow sequence for the photograph of the boat below:
This was the imported RAW with no editing changes in tones, contrast, clarity, vibrance or hue.
RAW files, in their unprocessed state, have a tendency to look much 'flatter'/ tonally 'dull' than the JPEG preview (of the RAW exposure) would have showed on the camera's LCD rear-screen monitor, when the photograph was made. However these actions work best with RAW files rather than JPEGs, as RAW files have vastly more visual information stored in them and are able to be non-destructively processed. Using RAWs versus working on in-camera JPEGs will give you the potential to get the very best out of your photographs.
This has now had a layer blend of the 'BASE A Good Place to Start' Action
BASE Layer Clarity - layer blend (showing before and after the Action was implemented)... having varied the default settings: mainly blacks, vibrance and contrast)
There are some All In One Actions such as the 'Extended Dynamic Range', which is essentially replicating the tonemapping of Dynamic (High Dynamic Range) photographs as can be seen below:
Rather too bold and painterly for where I want to go with this photograph personally
So, I'll forget that idea ... and moving on from the BASE Layer Clarity - layer blend (that we saw two photos above). The sky I felt was working well in terms of its cloud form details. So I created a layer mask of the sky, inverted it (to select the ground) and decided to try out the Dark Dreams Action (which gives a moody and glowing sheen - much akin to the 'Orton Effect' in terms of ambience).
Mask selected for the Dark Dreams Action layer (Action not yet run in this screenshot)
Dark Dreams Action layer, now 'pass-through' blended into the non-sky areas - has created a vibrant atmosphere with a gentle sheen.
Just a slight mid-tones boost to get to the final version, below:
The final version, having had a slight boost to the mid-tones - via a Levels layer.
It has been great to get to learn some of it's possibilities over the last week or so and I can see myself using this as part of my workflow options in the future. It's great vale at its current price of around £37.
Further information, including some useful video tutorials, and to buy this set of Landscape Photography Actions click the link here.
To see the full range of Sleeklens Photoshop Actions click here