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7 unexpected sources of inspiration you should totally use

“Take a camera and try to look at the habitual streets with the eyes of a tourist; you’ll be amazed by how many beautiful things you haven’t noticed before.” The artists at Mondlicht Studios offer an array of solutions for boosting your creativity.

Mondlicht Studios' website

Introduction

Inspiration seems to have a very inconsistent temper. Sometimes you have so many ideas, but when the work starts, you find yourself sitting in front of the blank scene. We talked to the artists from Mondlicht Studios to find out about more exciting and productive ways to boost creativity than Instagram and Pinterest.

Creativity muscle

You can’t just sit and wait for a brilliant idea. Creativity is a skill, which should be trained for years. Imagine that it is a muscle – to get beautiful lean muscles, one has to find time for training every day. The same with creativity – if you start hunting for new ideas and practicing different approaches, you will inevitably train your brain to come up with solutions.

It's also useful to create a folder or a notebook with new ideas. How many times have you had a great idea before falling asleep and couldn’t remember it the next morning? If there is an easy-accessible place, where you keep your thoughts, you won’t forget any. What’s more, the idea-folder could become a great source of inspiration for a personal project or collaboration.

Emotions

After all, art is always about provoking feelings. To create an artwork, able to get noticed, you have to put idea and emotion into it. That’s not possible if you are intentionally avoiding new experiences. Significant challenges and different activities are enriching life experiences and push the imagination forward. The more resources your brain has for imagination, the more vivid your ideas will be.

“Ideas are around you. To get them, all you need to do is live with your eyes open, trying to catch what’s happening around you. I have a lot of projects created on the ideas I got walking with my kids, sitting on a train station, travelling into nearby cities and even passing by fuel stations”

- Maksym Khirnyy

Green Energy car about fuel stations for electric cars
Maksym got the idea for the “Green Energy” project from a video about fuel stations for electric cars

Travelling

Every journey implies new emotions and new experience. Travelling was, and it will be one of the most excellent sources of inspiration for any artist. Discovering the world around, you’ll face the beauty of nature, achievements of humanity and different people with unique experiences. You get a chance to evaluate the world you live in, to know more about the real problems, while gathering outstanding ideas for your future artworks.

To get more from every journey, you need to prepare and leave your all-inclusive hotel behind: seek real life, try to understand how life is going in the place you visit, meet new people and look for non-touristic routes.

Even if you don’t have time or resources for a great escape, you can just go for a walk and explore your city. Take a camera and try to look at the habitual streets with the eyes of a tourist; you’ll be amazed by how many beautiful things you haven’t noticed before.

Communication

To create a photorealistic render is not that hard nowadays – there are so many programs for 3D artists, and every one of them is getting more intuitive. Which is why it’s so vital to pay attention to the idea of the artwork, no matter what you are working on: digital human or architecture visualization. People around might help you with it. Every person has a nice story to share, and some stories would be so good that they easily boost your imagination.

However, beer-talks with friends are not all. Communication during the production process is the key to success. Sometimes, you’ll face a challenge and will need a piece of advice to deal with it, and sometimes a fresh look from another 3D artist will help to figure out what you are doing wrong. In both cases, you need people working in the industry and ready to share their knowledge. Great, if you are working in a studio and can ask for feedback any time. If not, you’d better think about building a network – use Facebook and LinkedIn to find contacts online, attend CG events to find friends, or study online to get a mentor.

“Working creatively in a team is what gets my mojo working at its best. I like a good exchange with colleagues about creative aspects. The more you exchange your thoughts with valued colleagues, the more it helps. Of course, there needs to be a limit to this, because talking my whole life about one image might make it the best image I ever created. On the other hand, if I only created this one image, it is the best. Of course. And the worst. And the most average”

- David Schaefer

Culture, art & history

Forget about the fleeting masterpieces of Instagram and ArtStation and invest more time in education. Studying the most significant examples and history of photography, cinema, art, and literature you will open an endless source of inspiration. Flowers don’t come up on a field with no seeds, and imagination is restricted by the amount of knowledge. The more you have, the more associations and connections you may build, and the more ideas you can finally get.

Today there are a lot of ways to become more educated in any field – you can throw yourself into profound investigation or just start with small habits. For example, watch one classic movie instead of two series of your favorite show, or listen to an audiobook instead of a playlist on your way to work.

Sense organs

We explore the world with the help of different senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. All our senses work together, providing us with information about the world around. Working on the concept for new artwork, try to concentrate not only on the image itself. Ask yourself: what does the hero of the image feel? The answer to this question gives you an understanding of what you need to depict, and the best way possible to do so.

Related skills

Understanding how similar industries work will provide you with additional skills, which already makes you a better specialist. But what’s more, this knowledge will make you better at what you do. For example, the best way to upgrade lighting techniques in 3D is to take a real camera and attend live master classes on photography. Photographers apply a huge number of lifehacks trying to make photos more vivid, similar techniques you may add to your scenes and get a more interesting result.