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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Task 22: Creativity, the Talent Myth and Craft

Creativity is a medium where we can express ourselves. It is a way of thinking, and it can be a very individual process. Creativity can be viewed in many different ways, from creative thinking, to creating something unique with your hands. Creativity can also be the way you approach a problem. You may approach it differently to someone else, in a more creative way perhaps. It can also be down to your initiative, and how you apply yourself to a given task.

Talent is a particular ability to do something; again it could be unique and therefore classed as a talent. It is an ability to do well with a particular thing. You could have a talent for singing, for writing or for any number of different activities. Talent and skill can be interchangeable. It depends on the situation. But often skill is a usually described as an effective way of performing a task. So they could have a talent for drawing, and their skill is the way they execute that talent.  

I don’t think that craft and skill hinders creativity and talent, only stimulates it and helps it develop. Craft can be a way of expressing a talent. Skill can be the way the talent is performed in the quickest and most efficient way possible.

Is talent a skill you are born with or something that is learned? This is a difficult question, since there are so many examples of skilful and talented people being described as having a natural talent, and that from an early age they were already great in their type of creativity. I believe that it is something that you learn. While there is plenty of evidence that intelligence and other traits can be passed down in the DNA and genes, I think in general, creativity and talent are something that you develop usually from an early age. I believe that if a child has an interest in a subject, and they constantly work at it, through repetition and their enthusiasm for the subject, they will develop a talent for it. If they focus their time on this one thing, they will become better at it. I think this kind of enthusiasm also depends on parents and teachers feedback to the child. If they create something and get praise for it, they are more likely to do it again to get more praise. Therefore, with the correct encouragement from the key figures in a child’s upbringing, they can develop a great talent for something they enjoy. Often there are only two or three children in a class that would have a great talent for something. For instance, one is good at drawing, one is good at playing a flute. As for the other children in the class that apparently don’t have a specific talent, this could be down to the way they were introduced to certain things and also their own choice. If they didn’t enjoy playing an instrument, it could be that they just had no interest in doing so, or perhaps when they were told to play, they felt like it was a chore and therefore they come to the conclusion that its boring and some kind of punishment. Where as, if they were presented with a task, and told it was a fun activity, given lots of encouragement and then praise with the outcome, they begin to feel that they are able to do that thing well, so they will do it again because it was more enjoyable and the praise they received from adults and maybe peers too was worth it.
Of course there are times when someone could be forced into a specific role, maybe they are forced to learn piano from a young age, and they become good at it because they are told that they have to. Here they could still have a talent for it that has been developed, and they are skilful in it, but they wouldn’t usually be happy in such a situation. And likely they would have an interest in an entirely different subject.
Creativity can manifest itself in the way someone performs a task. It is the way someone approached a problem. The way they solve it can be judged by the uniqueness, the imagination and the application.
In a game industry environment, I believe that everyone in the process of making games does some form of creativity. Considering it covers a range of meanings and applications, most people in this environment will be applying their form of creativity in their work. It can indeed be hindered by technical constraints. But, it could also be part of the creativity, by finding the most creative way of sticking to the constraints and yet completing the work to a level of creativity you are satisfied with. It can show off a lot of your skill if you can show your employers what you can do under the given technical constraints.

Games can manifest creativity in a number of ways. They can show it in the story, how unique and fitting it is. It can be shown in the environments and the colour schemes of the environments. It can be within the characters and their personalities, it can even be within the AI of enemies and NPCs. Creativity could be shown in the way a puzzle works in a game, and how a player can discover the clues and right down to the result in completing the puzzle, which could be a door opening to a new area or a key/treasure could now be within reach. The entire gameplay can be showing off the creativity in a game.

I think that Ubisoft is a creative company, particularly in their Assassin’s Creed games. They have taken historic events, people and places, and recreated them in a way that fits a new story. They used certain events to justify their imaginative and unique story that the games tell.

For me, I show my creativity through the way I complete tasks. I try to keep to constraints but still make my work have a personal touch. I would hope that others would see the personal touches I make to my work. In my drawings, there’s a style I use that could be recognisable as my work. I believe that I have a skill for shading and rendering within my pencil drawings. And I believe that I have a talent for drawing something that is in front of me. Since from an early age I was always drawing from looking at books that had paintings of birds in them, and also from things I saw outside in the garden. Because of this, I know that I need to develop better skills in drawing from imagination. There are some things I can draw from imagination, and generally its easy to think of something new, but its down to actually drawing it how I picture it in my head, which is not always an easy task. So I believe I need to develop skills in that aspect. I also know that I need more development on my perspective drawing skills and my use of colouring and rendering in a digital painting.

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