A Technology Lover’s Guide to Creativity
Create| By Alex Greig | January 8, 2021
Technology and artistic pursuits are not mutually exclusive – in fact, tech is inspiring more creativity than ever.
Innovations in technology have redefined creativity. In fact, we'd say that, far from impeding creativity, technology encourages a proliferation of ideas. In the analogue world, failure was expensive, disheartening and time-consuming. With modern digital technology, edits and tweaks can be easily made and mistakes corrected in a matter of seconds. Technology affords us the holy grail: being more creative and more productive, and with the newest innovations, from 3D printing to VR worlds, we foresee an unprecedented period of creativity, a modern-day Renaissance.
Assemblage: The Centre for Creative Arts at Flinders University is a just-launched endeavour designed to bring together artistic and academic disciplines in new and exciting ways. Assemblage is an excellent example of “creative technology”, a field that encompasses and combines art, design, the humanities and computing and includes things such as virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing and digital cinematography. These interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary fields are fostering new ways of thinking and creating, and it's the technology itself that’s inspiring ever more creative and exciting endeavours. Canadian communications theorist Marshall McLuhan’s famous phrase, coined in 1964, is still relevant: “The medium is the message.”
Really, with the current crop of tech at your fingertips, the only limit is your imagination. Here are some of our favourite creative endeavours – and the technology you’ll need to pursue them.
The Social-Media Maven
Thanks to social media, a small-town musician can bring her songs to the world; a reclusive writer can interact with like-minded scribblers; and a videographer can air a short film. With the right gear and platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and SoundCloud anyone with an internet connection can create, share and explore new ideas.
A quality webcam is a great place to start. It's invaluable for streaming live performances, participating in classes or meetings with other creatives, as well as crafting content for social media platforms. Of course, many creatives, especially teens, are making videos, songs and photos with just the aid of a topnotch smartphone and a couple of accessories such as a tripod and an LED fill light.
If you’re serious about creating really impressive video, your best bet is a GoPro. The Hero8 Action responds to voice commands, has eight-times slow motion for really capturing the moment, and the GoPro app lets you upload footage directly to your social media accounts. Invest in a memory card, too, so you can shoot high-quality video without worrying about running out of space.
With video-editing software such as Adobe Premiere, you’ll be able to cut and edit footage to create your own short films, documentaries or web series, as well as easily share your creations.
What To Try
The Tech Artist
Technology has transformed what it means to be an artist, introducing new forms of creativity – think light installations, holograms and immersive VR experiences – in which tech jumps out of the computer screen and into the world.
The technology of 3D-printing is nascent, but it’s progressing fast. Now, sculptures and 3D works can be devised on a screen and made a reality with new at-home 3D printers or in-store printing facilities (Victoria only).
If you love the act of sketching on real paper but also want to be able to digitally edit and reproduce your work, a digital tablet and stylus are just what you need. We love Wacom’s One Creative Display which allows artists to use a stylus to draw on a paper-like canvas. The results are then, as if by magic, available digitally for you to edit. If you already have a tablet such as an iPad Air, all you need is a stylus such as Apple Pencil 2nd Gen to start creating.
If you get lost for hours on end in what you are doing and are using a traditional mouse for your creative projects, consider an ergonomic version, such as Logitech’s MX Vertical Mouse. Its clever design means you don’t need to move as much and it holds your hand in a more natural position, improving posture and reducing muscular strain.
What To Try
If you are looking for a quality product to take your artistic talent to the next level, DSLRs (digital single-lens reflex camera) take much of the hard work out of photography. They are usually able to focus at just the press of a button, can accommodate low light conditions and are less draining on the battery, freeing you from technical concerns to focus on creative ones. Powerful sensors and processors provide better resolution, clarity and sharpness, plus their speed and responsiveness mean you’ll never miss the moment.
If you’re not in a position to invest in any high-tech machinery, most smartphones come equipped with a good-quality camera as standard. Take it further with cool lenses, which can transform a reasonable phone camera into a serious one capable of capturing topnotch shots.
What To Try
A budding broadcaster can create a podcast from their bedroom with just a quality microphone. But you can invest in a few more items, such as noise-cancelling headphones, and download some editing software and you’re on your way to becoming Australia’s answer to Ira Glass.
What To Try
The Game Designer
Video games are emerging as the most exciting medium for storytelling of our time. Games are immersive experiences that allow users to lose themselves in other worlds – and for imaginative types to create them. You need more than imagination, though: game developers need knowledge of computer programming and writing software, as well as computer animation and graphics.
To begin, you’ll need a fairly powerful laptop, plus an extra monitor or two – consider the Kensington Thunderbolt3 USB-C Nano Docking Station SD2400T which connects a laptop to two separate monitors. Download a 3D creation tool such as Unreal Engine and you can start making your ideas a (virtual) reality.
What To Try
- MacBook Pro 13.3" 8-Core M1 8-Core GPU 8GB/256GB Space Grey
- Kensington Thunderbolt3 USB-C Nano Docking Station SD2400T
- BenQ 32" 2K QHD IPS Monitor PD3200Q
- HP 24" Echo Gaming Monitor Black