Creativity is an art and science, and it’s not easy to master. Greats like Van Gogh, Picasso and Monet hit creative ruts the same as you. But they didn’t wait for creativity to reappear. They, as author Jack London put it, went “after it with a club.”
A set of creative tools helps you effectively do that. Equip yourself with a few of these to beat your next creative block.
Tools for a More Creative Environment
Your surroundings impact your creativity. And researchers have found that people exposed to moderate levels of ambient noise are more creative. The tools below enhance the creativity of any environment through ambient noise:
- Coffitivity — Coffitivity plays the background noise of a coffee shop on your computer for enhanced focus and creativity. It plays in your browser or through a desktop app. Espresso served separately.
- Noisli — Noisli takes a different approach: the site plays combinations of natural sounds like rain, wind, leaves, fire and water.
Tools to Inspire You
No new ideas? Borrow someone else’s for awhile. These web resources showcase some of the most creative designs and ideas from around the world:
- Inspiration Grid — This website provides inspiration via stories and photos from creatives in every industry.
- Behance — Showcase your creative work and discover the work of others using this engaged online community.
- Design Snack — Design Snack takes online inspiration to a whole new, customizable level. This tool gives you the power to create your own inspirational portfolio. Simply curate your favorite images and most inspiring work—the perfect way to jumpstart creativity when it flags.
- Sketchfab — Sketchfab allows you to publish, display and view 3D files, as well as upload, embed and share your own.
Tools to Strengthen Your Creative Muscles
Your creativity is just like any muscle—if you don’t use it, you lose it. Challenge it with new projects outside your ordinary design scope using these resources. (And get paid in the process!)
- 99 Designs — This online marketplace offers design contests from real businesses. If your design wins, you get paid and your work gets used.
- 3docean — Want a little more creative freedom? 3docean doesn’t give you a creative brief. You design whatever your heart desires, upload it and others can buy it.
- TraceParts — Looking to try a new process, idea or technique, but don't want to mess around with your existing models? TraceParts provides millions of free 3D CAD models for you to experiment with.
Tools to Plan Out Creative Projects
Creativity stalls if you don’t have a project or design plan. These tools simplify the brainstorming, creation and management of creative projects.
- XMind — Mind mapping tools help you brainstorm, communicate and capture creative ideas. XMind is available in three different versions: a free version, a plus version and a pro version.
- Lucidchart — This tool makes it dead easy to develop mind maps and organizational charts that keep your creative ideas flowing.
Tools to Make Time for Creativity
These tools make tedious tasks easier, so you spend less time on busywork and distractions, and more on creativity.
- Dropbox — This cloud file-sharing tool makes collaborating on 3D files quick and easy. They offer numerous storage plans for larger files, and will save you a ton of time—leaving more time to use the tools above to beat creative blocks.
- RescueTime — Maybe you spend too much time on distractions, and not enough on jumpstarting creativity. RescueTime can help. It compiles a summary of your daily computer activity. See trends in how much time you actually spend on a project versus other activities. This insight will show you the best ways to adjust your habits for maximum creativity.
- GrabCAD — Collaborate with your coworkers through this easy-to-use CAD file manager. This tool enables you to sync local files, as well as collaborate on projects.
Don't beat yourself up over a slump. Creative blocks happen to everyone. But the tools above lead to a speedy creative recovery.
What’s your best remedy for a creative block? Let us know in the comments.
Improve Your Creativity Starting Today
Creativity isn’t a gift. It’s a skill. And you can improve it—beginning today. The Creativity Handbook for 3D Professionals is a manual packed with habits, tools and hacks that will make you more creative, more often.
This handbook has 25+ pages of information that will help you boost your design creativity and improve your career. Get started today.
Image Source: Reilly Butler via Flickr