Sleeklens - Landscape adventure workflow - Review

August 28, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Few days ago, I was contacted by Jane from Sleekness, offering the chance to review their Landscape adventure workflow for PS.  Sleeklens are having a large collection of actions for Photoshop and Lightroom.

Sleekness Landscape adventure workflow for PS is a collection of Photoshop actions, containing a lot of helpful adjustments covering most of the steps that are normally part of post-processing workflow for landscape photography: exposure, contrasts,  tones, temperature, details, Orton effect, clarity, sharpening. There is a similar collection for Lightroom as well, but since I do most of my work in Photoshop, I opted for this one.

The collection is organised in logical processing sequence, following steps that combines multiple action of the same kind: exposure, base (global adjustments), tones, enhancements, temperature and web preparation of the file. There are two other categories available among them, that are breaking somehow the sequence: "All in one" and "Specialty" which are more complex actions that achieve a particular look for the image, rather than steps in a workflow. The actions can be applied in any particular order, but the image needs to be flattened before applying any new action. Some of the effects are pretty strong, so it is recommended to decrease the Opacity of that layer / group of layers. Other effects start invisible (0 Opacity or Black mask) so it requires to dial up the Opacity or paint on the mask to reveal the effect of the action. 

Bellow is an example of a very quick image processing, using 4 actions in a sequence, popping up a sunset shot in Iceland:
- BASE Dramatic Contrast
- TONE Sunset colors
- TONE warm highlights
- BASE Clarity

Before After Another example is a northern light, shot again in Iceland. 5 actions, applied pretty fast and you can notice how the image is getting way much better in a matter of minutes.

- BASE Dramatic Contrast
- TONE Cold shadows
- ALLISON Expand Dynamic range
- ENHANCE Detail Enhancer
- BASE Clarity

Before:

After

Carmen also give it a try with one of her images. She used:
- BASE Dramatic Contrast
- BASE Clarity
- BASE Morning light
- TONE Cinematic
- ENHANCE Dramatic sky
- ENHANCE Detail Enhancer

Before

After

I particularly like the way  the actions are dealing with colours in specific demanding light/colour conditions(sunsets, night shots with aurora) when it is pretty easy to enhance the colours only by applying an action instead of dealing with more complicated channel adjustments or colour curves manually in Photoshop. Being Photoshop actions, you can fine tune the different layers that form the action as well, getting more versions of the same adjustment.

I need to mention an important negative point for Sleekness workflow:  the image needs to be flatten after each action applied. If trying to apply one action on a document already containing multiple layers, some of the actions are managing to mess up the existing layers. During my normal workflow, I like to work as much as possible in a non-destructive way and I keep all the layers I worked on, so that I can always come back to a previous step to fine tune it. However this is unfortunately is not possible. A possible workaround is to keep in parallel another document containing the same image (back-up) and always duplicate the layers corresponding to a particular action to the back-up document; but this is of course a bit over the hand and requires some change in working habits in Photoshop. 

I would conclude by saying that this collections of actions is definitely very useful in the toolbox of a landscape photographer, offering most of the building blocks for enhancing  an image. The negative point mention earlier can make some photographers thinking twice, so I would suggest the guys from Sleekness to try to correct this (it is absolutely fine to request a stamp, but not a flattened image). With this correction I see myself using Sleekness for 80% of my workflow, relying on other tools only for adjustments that are not covered in this workflow (digital blending using luminosity mask, colour painting, noise removal). 

 


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