What is Creative Technology?

Explore the intersection of innovation and imagination through creative technology. From 3D visualization to brain-computer interfaces, creative tech is a catalyst for change in a tech-saturated world.


As the digital landscape continues to evolve, creative technology is expected to play an increasingly pivotal role in shaping the future of various industries. But what is creative technology? Creative technology involves the use of innovative digital tools to create new types of immersive experiences useful for both artistic endeavors and in business. The use of technology enhances traditional creative methods, unlocking new dimensions of expression and engagement.

It’s a powerful blend of artistry and technology that empowers content creators to craft immersive digital experiences that resonate deeply with audiences.

Combining creativity with technology is key to unlocking the potential of a large and growing number of digital tools. Technology alone can’t separate businesses from the competition because everyone has access to the same technology and market information. Creative minds who find new ways to use technology are the difference makers.

Ira Greenberg, professor and director of the Center of Creative Computation at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, said creative technology is a field that is attracting those with a strong arts and design background who want to learn about technology, as well as those with strong tech backgrounds who want to learn more about creative practice. Those in the middle with some skills in both areas also have an interest in creative technology.

Speaking about his own experience with creative technology and creative computation, Greenberg said: “Technology/computation has always seemed to connect back to a very deep, very spiritual (in a sense) connection I have with painting and drawing. My first transcendent experience was in Toledo, Spain in front of El Greco paintings. Something happened to me in front of that painting in that church that changed me, the course of my life and what I studied. Now that I spend much more time with computation than painting, although I hope that balance always shifts, is when I stand in front of a Piero Della Francesca painting that I feel a deep, deep connection to this thing from the past, this presence.”

Greenberg recently developed Materia Moda for the Bright Moments London Art Gallery, a collection steeped in reflections on the history of painting, technology and the current post-modernist-post-computational times we live in.

The Focus of Creative Technology

Creative technology primarily focuses on leveraging various tools to enhance and augment traditional modes of expression. This field gained significant traction around 2015, particularly within the advertising industry, with the emergence of innovative technologies like motion sensors, VR headsets and smart devices. These groundbreaking advancements paved the way for the development of immersive and interactive content, a trend that continues to flourish as digital tools grow smarter and processing power expands.

Numerous tools fall under the umbrella of creative technology, including computer graphics, digital cinematography, virtual reality and augmented reality, 3D printing, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and wearable technology.

By harnessing these tools, content creators with an entrepreneurial mindset can craft enriched and interactive digital environments, exemplified by the evolving metaverse that companies are actively constructing.

Creative Technology in Business

While creative technology often is associated with the arts, it’s become central to long-term strategy for businesses, particularly in marketing. Creative technology leads to immersive experiences that attract and retain customers. It also helps in meeting the demands of shifting consumer behaviors and expectations.

Creative technologists can work in a wide variety of roles:

  • Making the end-to-end experience better for users.
  • Bridging the divide between ideas and turning them into useful applications. 
  • Experimenting with a variety of platforms and frameworks to deliver creative solutions to challenges such as interactive media, design, programming, blockchain and generative AI applications.

Whatever specific area they work in, creative technologists are driven by the desire to create something innovative. They also have an ability to collaborate, working with business leadership, production and marketing teams.

Applications of Creative Technology

It’s difficult to encapsulate everything happening with creative technology as it's a field that is constantly changing and also reaches into so many different areas. However, one recent example of creative technology involves the use of brain-computer interface (BCI) technology.

BCI creates a direct connection between the human brain and a computer by analyzing brain activity and translating it into commands, according to Bill Marks, a Chief Technology article writing an opinion piece for The Drum Network. An output device then carries out the commands. BCI allows a person to perform an action simply by thinking about it.

While BCI are best known for their groundbreaking uses in the healthcare industry, recent research has focused on creative applications in gaming. BCIs could change the gaming industry by “enabling developers to create experiences that go far beyond what we could have ever dreamed of,” according to the article. Reports show that companies are already in the early stages of developing video games that use BCI.

Another example of creative technology involves 3D visualization, which recreates three dimensional models of objects from real-world environments. It allows people to interact with these models in a digital environment that mirrors the experience in real-world environments.

Open Your Mind to the Possibilities of Creative Technology With SMU

SMU now offers a Master of Arts in Creative Technology that can open the door to working with these types of advanced technologies. The virtual, 30 credit-hour program prepares professionals to advance their careers in areas that include graphic design, animation, and augmented and virtual reality. Career opportunities with the degree include Digital Art Director, Product Designer, UX Designer, Web3 Marketer and Data Visualization Specialist.

One of the keys to the program and success in the creative technology field is to not get caught up in the “hot buzz” technologies of the moment, according to Greenberg. It’s an approach taken by those at SMU.

“We feel there are certain things that are not going away, that are going to get more and more established in society and in our field, things like artificial intelligence and coding,” Greenberg said. He added that “whether AI is helping us do the coding or not,” having basic literacy in coding, as well as an understanding of how computers and algorithms work, can help people excel in the use of creative technology.