Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sleeklens Landscape Collection Test Drive: Easy Image Enhancement with Just a Few Clicks

I may want to shoot more than tinker with my images but I'm not the type to shy away from Photoshop if my captures need enhancements or I want to achieve an effect to convey a different mood than what was there during the shoot.  That said, these days you don't have to be a Photoshop genius to transform your images.  You don't even have to have a lot of time on your hands (who does?) to give that dull-weather snap a kick.  I stumbled upon this handy set of Photoshop Action Tools called Sleeklens (Yes, they do have a version for Lightroom).  If you're new to layering or abhor the intricacies of the process, Sleeklens simplifies it for you.  Hmmm, a lot like filters but one that gives you a lot more control should you want to play around with what tools are available for you.  Heck, sometimes one or two clicks are all that's needed to change things around.

For an hour, I toyed around with the Sleeklens Landscape Adventure Collection to test how quickly I can install it (5 minutes tops), learn and incorporate it into my Photoshop workflow, and make iterations of the same image with a minimum of fuss as a sample.  Here's a snap I took with an iPhone 5 while kayaking Tagum Bay in Davao del Norte some months back.

Original jpeg enhanced in-phone

It was a sunny morning when I took this picture.  The orange kayak and the bright cloudy sky already catch the eye.  But how about making their bold colors pop some more without extensive work and layering?  Here, let's try what the Tone: Cinematic action does:
Sleeklens Landscape Collection - Cinematic Action
The deeper saturation has offset the bleaching effects of the very bright sun, and this was done with just two or three clicks.   Let's experiment some more, tampering with the Yellow and Blue Action since the two colors correspond to the two most vivid tones in the image to come up with a different look altogether:
Sleeklens Landscape Collection: Blue and Yellow Action
It's a warmer effect with the look of a slightly faded image, a hint of nostalgia. 

I was never a fan of the Orton effect; still, soft focus images make for a dreamy seascape.  Just a few clicks and here's what the Specialty Dark Dreams action did to the same image:
Sleeklens Landscape Collection - Specialty: Dark Dream Action
I ran through the other effects in a breeze and chose the ones I liked and thought appropriate for demonstration.  I first tried the All In One: Punchy Black and White but I think I prefer the plain All In One: Black and White action instead.  I just made very slight adjustments on the colors to give the otherwise solid white kayak some details, fast, easy, almost effortless.
Sleeklens Landscape Collection - All In One: Black and White Action
I only have a little time to test drive this set of tools but has already seen the potential of the actions to simplify my workflow and save time.  Sure, I can approximate the effects with my  Photoshop skills but if I can crunch the time to get the effect that I want with minimal fuss, why not?  Sleeklens is turning out to be a sleek tool to have when you're pressed for time and want great results.

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