Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > The value of play



Posts: 4106

Lynchburg, Virginia, US

Very interesting article here about play and how it differs from work.

The author explains five defining characteristics of play. Two struck me as especially relevant to what this forum is all about:

2. Play is activity in which means are more valued than ends.
Adults can test the degree to which their work is play by asking themselves this: “If I could receive the same pay, the same prospects for future pay, the same amount of approval from other people, and the same sense of doing good for the world for not doing this job as I am receiving for doing it, would I quit?”  If the person would eagerly quit, the job is not play. To the degree that the person would quit reluctantly, or not quit, the job is play. It is something that the person enjoys independently of the extrinsic rewards received for doing it.

5. Play involves an active, alert, but non-stressed frame of mind.
This point about the mental state of play is very important for understanding play’s value as a mode of learning and creative production. The alert but unstressed condition of the playful mind is precisely the condition that has been shown repeatedly, in many psychological experiments, to be ideal for creativity and the learning of new skills.

As they say on the blogs, read the whole thing.

Feb 11 13 05:37 pm Link


Ash Photographic

Posts: 378

Cirencester, England, United Kingdom

For me, "work" is anything somebody would have to pay me to do.

Does that make everything else "play"?


Feb 11 13 05:43 pm Link


Krunoslav Stifter

Posts: 3884

Santa Cruz, California, US

Thanks for posting, play is crucial for the healthy mind. smile

Feb 11 13 06:02 pm Link



Posts: 165

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

6. Play is what you tried to get from women in the 80s

Feb 11 13 06:12 pm Link



Posts: 1314

Longview, Washington, US

so while at work and being alert (gotta know where boss is)... thinking about all the mean things to do to your asshole boss is healthy play?

Feb 11 13 06:22 pm Link



Posts: 3307

Fullerton, California, US

That's how I learned Photoshop.

Since there weren't any books on it, I'd just open an image, play with it for a few hours, then throw it away. It was my 'video game' for about a year.

Learned a lot that way.

Feb 11 13 07:03 pm Link


Kelvin Hammond

Posts: 17384

Billings, Montana, US

I find that working jobs provide the right pressure and motivation to learn things that are practical, because they literally force you to solve problems under a time constraint.

To me, play allows you to expand the way you approach the tasks on your jobs, building on and modifying what you already do.

I would say that I rarely play just for the sake of playing... it's more a search for the next building block to be applied to work.

Feb 11 13 07:37 pm Link

Digital Artist


Posts: 6716

Ankara, Ankara, Turkey

when I play, I play as a sniper shooting noobs evilgrin

Feb 12 13 03:33 am Link



Posts: 469

Coppell, Texas, US

And I'll take this opportunity to thank all in this form, the OP in particular for helping me learn more about playing with post processing.  I would never minimize the seriousness of the work pros do, but have to say that I really enjoy this stuff and appreciate those who share their knowledge of it.

The downside is "working" in a home office with such a great plaything just sitting there on the other cpu.

Feb 12 13 09:37 am Link


pixel dimension ilusion

Posts: 1550

Brussels, Brussels, Belgium

womens love players , big player member here lolzz

Feb 12 13 10:51 am Link