Friday, 24 May 2013

Creativity, the talent myth and craft

What is Creativity? ‘Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others’. In my personal opinion it is not something you are born with. I think it can only truly be obtained with practise, discipline and in our case, constant problem solving and design briefs. The reason I believe that it is not something you can inherit is because anyone who has truly been great has put their hours in. And for me, it is as simple as that. There was a time when I could not draw anything, now I am able to generate strong ideas and can finalise a piece work in a matter of days. But is their more to creativity than that? Ofcourse! Being creative is not completing a task but the approach, the perception and route taken to complete it. You do not need a certain IQ score or Grade to be creative; it simply cannot be measured in that sense. It is spontaneous and for me occurs best when I am most relaxed, for this reason I believe tight deadlines and time constraints can hinder creativity; though they are great for getting people to practise.

Let’s be more specific, what does creativity look like? Being creative is a result of innovation or simply using something that already exists and improving it; this is seen in video games all the time though rip offs seem to be made twice as often. You can clearly tell when a game, film or any form of media for that matter has either been improved or reinvented the same way you can tell when carbon copies are formed. A distant example would be Michael Jackson’s Thriller, telling a story through the music video, almost like a short film. You could argue that he was the ‘first’ to do this thus the innovator. But Charlie Chaplin was making videos with music and narratives 50 years before. However, this idea was reinvented for the pop genre of music. So it is not simply creating something out of nothing that is important, but also the understanding of what is possible and to make connections where others do not.

With this way of thinking has to come confidence. In today’s society we have a voice bigger than before with social media and the internet; however it seems we are also far too concerned with what others think of us. It seems that seeing ourselves in a particular light can highly fluctuate our creative output. For example, if you are too afraid to progress with your own ideas because of others around you, how can you even begin to be creative? I think as game artists we have to be confident in our ideas but at the same time understand the importance of the subject matter so we too, do not end up with tits and guns. On a serious note, I think research can also help with this confidence to articulate ideas for the more you know, the more you can understand and apply.

So to be creative in my field you must practise at your craft, mastering it is a necessity and not an option. You must also look deep into any subject matter you are working on to obtain a clear understanding of it. This in turn should give you the confidence to begin working at your highest potential. This is also why I personally don’t like working ‘from my head’ nor do I praise anyone for saying they made something JUST from their imagination.

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