Inside A Creator’s Toolkit

Inside A Creator’s Toolkit

As someone who considers himself “creative” (I do stand-up, make silly videos with friends, have a podcast, and breakdance in the privacy of my own home), learning from other creatives no matter what they specialise in is always fascinating to me. It’s great hearing how others utilise the hardware and software that’s available to them and I love being wowed by the final result.

We spoke with two such individuals, Jordy Vandeput and Jesús Ramirez. Jordy has been editing and producing tutorial videos for Cinecom.net using Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects.

Jesús, a digital artist over at Photoshop Training Channel, makes precise and “fluff-free” videos that teach people how to use Photoshop in some of the best ways there are.

I wanted to know where the ideas come from and how they do their brainstorming sessions. Everybody works differently. For me, my ideas (some would call them ‘jokes’) come from people watching, observing everyday situations, or having my kids drive me crazy. For funny videos, sketches or podcast guests, I look around and figure out what I personally would like to watch or listen to.

Jordy offered, “I look at what’s trending and how I can create around these topics. I think it’s important to brainstorm with other creatives to come up with good ideas.” Knowing what’s hot nowadays is key to making a good video catch on and go viral.

With bigger and better software being developed all the time, it can be daunting to just pick something up and start using it. “It can be overwhelming. But I always tell people to focus on the features that will help them in the type of work they are doing. For example, a photographer probably doesn’t need to worry about learning Photoshop 3D.” Jesús said. “I think that you should try to get the best software and hardware you can. And MSI offers amazing hardware that is perfect for any creator. The Creator Z16 laptop is fantastic. I really like the 16:10 display which gives me extra room to see more of the application as I work. Also, the GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card is fantastic. It keeps my image editing applications running smoothly.”

He’s fairly new to the MSI but a definite convert. “I started with the Creator 15 laptop and I am now with the Creator Z16. The best thing about the MSI Creator products that I’ve used is that they just work.” Focusing on your work and not having to worry about your programs running slowly go a long way for a creator.

“MSI is my go-to workstation laptop, because of its performance. Whenever I’m away and I know that I might need to edit videos or do some VFX, I feel more comfortable bringing the MSI Creator with me. MSI typically puts performance ahead with great components inside. You can feel the difference when working in Adobe applications,” said Jordy. As for Jesús, “I need laptops that can handle my professional workflow in Photoshop and other creative applications. The MSI creator series have laptops with powerful video cards and their screens have great colour representation.” Performance and power is what they were looking for and found it.

Jordy loves the MSI Creator. “I never liked the look of gaming computers, so I’m very pleased with the new design of the MSI Creator products. I’m proud to place them at home and in the office. Having great hardware underneath allows me to work with confidence. I personally really like the design [of the Creator Z16 laptop], but even more the display. The colour accuracy and colour profile allows me to perform colour grading tasks on the go. The 16:10 ratio gives me some more space to work and the touch screen is actually quite fun to use while editing. Having the freedom without lag while creating is amazing. I think this speeds up my creative process and makes it more fun. I can focus on the creative part, rather than the computer hardware.” Adding fun to a creative process can make all the difference.

Jesús talked more about the power, “The MSI Creator laptops come with powerful video cards that speed up filters, and other rendering intensive tools in Photoshop. With other laptops these tools can be slow and take a long time to complete a task. Also, with the new touch screen on the Creator Z16 the zooming and panning of a document in Photoshop is faster and more intuitive.” These are just some of the ways the MSI line has sped up their creative process and benefited their work over other products they’ve used in the past.

Coming from people who are experts at this, I wanted to find out what piece of software either changed their life or made them go, “OK this is really cool.” It was obvious for Jordy. “Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects. The first time I opened those programs, I was very overwhelmed. But as I got through the basics, it got super fun to learn more and create more.”

Jesús had a few in mind as well. “There have been several “life-changing” pieces of hardware that I’ve come across. Wacom tablets for sure were something that completely changed my workflow. Most recently the MSI PS321URV was an incredible upgrade from my previous monitor. It is much bigger and the colours on it are amazing. It definitely made a huge difference in how I was looking at my work as I was creating it.” It’s pretty cool when a program or software can alter your own perception of your work and creative process for the better.

Tutorials help the average person. But how does the person making the tutorial, like Jesús, learn? “I am fortunate to work closely with Adobe and I have access to the pre-release version of Photoshop. I get info on the new features and I get to familiarise myself with those features before they are available to the public. With other apps, I learn just like everyone else, either through YouTube videos, books, or training courses. School is never out for the pro!” That’s part of what makes Jesús so good at what he does — he never stops learning.

For those of us that have sat at a desk for hours tediously editing a video or tweaking a photo, you know that efficiency is super important. Jordy ruminated, “A creative process is a small struggle every time and the more you can streamline your process, the easier you make it yourself and the more time you can focus on the creativity.” Jesús feels the same, adding that “efficiency is very important.” Neither of them likes to waste time.

It all comes down to specs. “Specs were my main concern,” said Jordy. “I have other laptops which are super thin and light, but I can only use them for emailing and some office work. When I’m on the road with my camera, I need something with power.” Jesús agreed, “I don’t want my creative workflow limited by the hardware.” Getting that error where your laptop “can’t handle” what you’re trying to do is beyond frustrating. We’ve all been there.

Where does the inspiration come from, though? We’ve all sat in front of a blank screen or piece of paper for hours, just waiting for an idea to appear. It can really come from anywhere. Jesús said, “I do a lot of personal projects or just try things for fun. Through that, I am able to experiment and learn new techniques. Sometimes inspiration comes from TV and Film. I am a big fan of storytelling.” For Jordy, it’s all about writing it down. “I do have some ideas that have been floating through my mind. I try to write them down for the future. Usually these are stories or concept arts. When I’m out of ideas, I can always get back to my notes,” he mentioned.

Being creative is the first step, but finding that right piece of equipment to let your work shine is so important and almost easier than ever nowadays. I know once I’ve found the right program or hardware to do what I want to do, it makes the rest of the process more efficient. Picking up some of the best hardware for creatives like the Creator Z16, Creator 17, or Creator M16 by MSI will take your skills and passions to the next level.

Brian McGuinness is a comedian, voice actor, and writer and also the host of the Playable Characters Podcast where he interviews a different video game character each week.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between MSI and G/O Media Studios.