A few weeks ago I was asked by Sleeklens to do a review of one of their Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom plugins, the Sleeklens Adventure Collection. Sleeklens is a new player in the photo editing and plugin market. Emerging in 2015, Sleeklens promises to provide photographers with products that work ‘with’ them, not ‘for’ them. The Sleeklens Adventure Collection consists of a set of 56 preset ‘actions’ designed specifically for landscape photographers. The plugin replace traditional Photoshop and Lightroom manipulations with a panel of buttons to adjust fields such as brightness, colour, contrast, appearance and size. Photoshop presets do not normally appeal to me but I found some of the Sleeklens tools useful.
The Sleeklens Adventure Collection concept is very simple. The pack provides a set of pre-defined edits that operate within Photoshop to build up a particular effect. Unlike Photoshop effect packages like Google’s Nik Collection, there is no software interface within Photoshop itself. The actions are applied through the Action Toolbar using Adobe’s own edits. For example, one of the ‘All in One’ actions called ‘Warm Shadows’ works by building individual adjustments into the image for the curves, colour, colour balance and so on. So instead of having to make these individual edits one layer at a time, you just has to make one click and then adjust the overall intensity of the effect by an adjustment to the opacity of the action layer. If you want add another effect, you simply click on another action and it applies over the top of the previous effect.
So what comes included with the Adventure Collection? There are eight action groups provided with the pack. Three action groups target exposure, tonal and temperature adjustments. Four action groups provide unique Sleeklens developed adjustments. The final group resizes images for web display (there is even useful Facebook adjustment action to optimise your images for display on the Facebook platform. All the actions are intuitively named for easy identification. Need an edit to overcome dull weather? Sleeklens has that covered with an appropriately named action, ‘Use in case of dull weather’. Do the actions work well? To a degree, yes. I say this because preset actions should not be seen as a ‘one size fits all’ solution to editing. Images vary and the same effect applied to two different images can produce different results. Careful planning still needs to go into pre-production and post production editing to produce acceptable results.
The suitably named ‘All-in-One’ effects produced some pleasing results on the images that I tested. Of the various tools, I found the ‘Exposure’ and ‘Base’ presets to be the most useful. I edit my images through gentle tweaks to the exposure, curves and colour and ‘Exposure’ and ‘Base’ presets provide a useful, time saving compliment to this process. Instead of needing to use multiple clicks and build layers into an image, Sleeklens has reduced the effort to one simple click which you can follow with an adjustment to the opacity layer to vary the intensity of the effect. It’s very handy. For the other packs in the collection, such as the ‘Enhance’ and ‘Specialty’ packs, it is best to experiment. The ‘Sky Enhancer’ tool is useful, if a little oversaturated. Others such as the ‘Digital Image’ effect I see little practical use for.
The Adventure Collection provides a good set of tools to test the boundaries creativity within a landscape image and start you on your journey to effective post-processing. For me, I prefer taking images not editing them, so the pack is a useful compliment to my workflow, even though there are some presets in the pack that I probably never use. Sleeklens produce a number of different editing packs, overlays and bundles for nearly every genre of photography. To find out more, visit the Sleeklens website at: https://sleeklens.com/. To find the Sleeklens Adventure Collection, visit: https://sleeklens.com/product/landscape-adventure-photoshop-actions/.
Author’s Note: Please note that in return for a fair and honest review of their product, Sleeklens provided me with a free copy of the Sleeklens Adventure Collection.