I think creativity requires vision. When you were working on the darkroom didn’t you have a vision of what you wanted the end product to be before you started?
I guess, now that I’ve worked with Snapseed and PS Express I do have a vision of what I want to end up with so maybe there’s some creativity although there are a lot of surprises too! My darkroom experiences sound like your Snapseed and PS experiences. I always had a loose vision of what I wanted to do in the darkroom, but never a definitive one. I liked the serendipitous surprises too. But one problem with that approach in the darkroom, if you got a print you really liked, it most likely would a one off. I don’t care what any one says, but making similar prints was difficult. Forget making an identical print, especially if you didn’t make another one right away. I always viewed my negs, as I do my my digital files as little more than a collection of information, like a musical composition. It was in the darkroom and now the computer that I “perform” that composition. That I take that information and bring it to life. Take this image.
On the right, the RAW image, what the camera saw. On the left, my performance as it were. Is the color “real”. I don’t care. I know the tractor was red. But like my days in the darkroom, I picked a neg or in this case, a digital file, because I liked what I saw, the composition of the image, the content, the light…whatever. And then I would play and see what would come to pass. But as I said, in the darkroom, my play often resulted in a one of kind print. I do have a vision, and it starts with the camera. I look for certain subjects, a certain kind of light, I compose in a certain kind of way. That part hasn’t changed at all, except that the camera is digital now. Act II for me has always been play time. But as you say, once you have worked with a tool like Snapseed, you begin to think how to use it intelligently, to achieve your own look, your own vision. And you have to embraces the surprises too. Where’s the fun if you don’t?