Thursday, November 7, 2019

Pixar’s Creative Process Will Help You Produce More Innovative Content

Pixar’s Creative Process Will Help You Produce More Innovative Content What does the word innovation mean to you? Too often we think of it as some sort of magical thing that strikes randomly and simply â€Å"delivers† us a brilliant idea. It isn’t. I always sigh when I hear of great companies like Apple or Pixar referred to as simply â€Å"innovative.† While they certainly are, this label only tells a fraction of the story. The genius of Pixar (and Apple) doesnt lie in their â€Å"innovative thinking.† Rather, it comes from their commitment to the actual process of creativity. Pixar is known for making innovative movies time and time again. How does their process keep them so innovative? Image credit: Disney/Pixar Animation Studios In his recent book  Creativity, Inc.,  Pixar  co-founder Ed Catmull (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter), outlines how the legendary animation studio has made a habit of being innovative. In many ways, Ed unlocks the creative process, and it is something that we can all use to do better work, including in our content marketing. How Inspiration Works When you look at something great, like the iPhone or the first Toy Story movie, you can’t help but feel like it was the result of some sort of divine inspiration, some kind of magic, but it wasnt. As Catmull covers in his book, creativity isnt about an idea or a sudden burst of information. It is a process, and often a messy one. There are three big takeaways from this book that we can use to unlock creativity and inspiration in our own content creation process. Pixar Lesson #1: Creativity Is A Learned Skill In her landmark book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain  (circa 1979), art teacher and writer Betty Edwards outlined the creative theory that has dominated art education for the last 30 years. Her method builds on the notion that the brain has two ways of perceiving and processing reality – one verbal and analytic, and the other visual and perceptual. Recommended Reading from Neil Patel: The 6 Types Of Social Media Content That Will Give You The Greatest Value This method is frequently described as the left brain (analytical) and the right brain (creative). While we now know that this physical left vs. right idea isn’t particularly true, the two methods that the brain uses for processing information are very accurate. Using this theory as his basis, Catmull observes a common drawing mistake made by young children (or untrained adults) who are learning art. These artists will often overemphasize certain aspects of the human figure, and underemphasize others. Frequently, this will result in human faces with larger than normal eyes and smaller than normal foreheads. We can see this phenomenon clearly in young children that frequently miss the human torso entirely! Early artists often overemphasize meaningful facial elements. As Catmull and Edwards would agree, this is the the analytic brain at work. These artists are drawing what they know best about the human figure (an analytical approach),   like the eyes (a tremendously important feature of the human face), and extremities like arms and legs. Until someone has learned to embrace their visual and perceptual side, they tend to overemphasize the information like this in their analytic brain. As Edwards outlined in her landmark book, drawing instructors often help new artists break this tendency by drawing â€Å"what is not there,† or by learning to see the negative space. Rather than drawing a chair, the students learn to drawn around the chair, thus learning to see reality in a new way. Before and after comparisons of adults learning to draw using Edwards method. Notice the facial tendencies. In this example, it is clear that innovation and creativity really are about learning how to see things differently rather than how to create things differently.

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