With the exciting generative art NFT success stories of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, the Dogepound, the Lady Squad, and now Pandas and Crypto Worms, I decided to have a go at generative art. The Mishmash Monster collection is the result.
Creating generative art NFTs is quite a complex undertaking, and definitely not for the faint-hearted. But if you’re keen to get your own generative art idea out there, here’s a free step-wise guide on how to create your own generative art NFTs.
Step one – Create your image
This is the most critical step. Without this, you have nothing to sell. So take some time and/or spend some money to get this right. Find a good illustrator. It can be a digital artist, or a traditional illustrator who can create hand drawn art, in the theme and style that you want.
Step two – Get the art into a digital package
Ideally the artist should also do this step, but this could be passed on to a digital artist to do the final preparation before rendering. Going on current trends Generative NFTs tend to be square 600 x 600 pixels.
I recommend the artist prepares the layered art using Photoshop, or the free open source GIMP, or any graphics package that uses layers.
The base character image should be in the bottom layer. Then add layer Groups above this for each of the attributes, such as Headwear, Eyewear, Mouthwear, Clothing, Accessories, etc. Within each Group, create the artwork for each attribute. For e.g. in the Headwear Group, create a layer for each hat, bandana, hairstyle, etc.
Switch the base layer on to ensure that the attributes sit well on the base character.
In this example it worked best to have the cigar on the right, so it didn’t clash with the name strip.
Step three – Get the layers right
This step is critical. You need to ensure each layer is at the right level to prevent problems when generating the images later on.
Switch the Attribute Groups on and off to ensure that there is no conflict between the attributes.
What does this mean?
Using a Mishmash Monster as an example, you need to ensure the lips don’t interfere with what the character has in the mouth, and that the Eyewear doesn’t interfere with the Headwear. If it does, then this is the time to make adjustments. It is important that you make adjustments NOW, before you start generating hundreds or thousands of images.
In this example the Headwear is in a level above the Eyewear. Otherwise the glasses would overlay the headwear and this would look wrong.
In the Mishmash Monster run we used the following levels, from bottom to top:
- Background (solid colours, wallpaper, fractals, flags)
- Base character
- Skin (colour, textures)
- Eyes (colours, shapes)
- Neckwear (collars, clothes)
- Lips and Lashes
- Eyewear (specs, sunglasses, goggles)
- Headwear (caps, crowns, top hats, jester hat)
- Mouth (cigar, cigarette, bubble pipe, teeth)
- Flag (country flags)
- Detail Strip (unique monster number, unique monster name)
Each level was worked out with trial and error. For instance in these examples the Lashes needed to be below the Eyewear to ensure they sat beneath the specs. And the Lips needed to be below the Mouthwear so they sat beneath the teeth or the cigarette.
Once you have your base character, and all your attributes and variations created in layers, then the creative element is basically done. It’s time to hand the Photoshop file over to the Generative Programmer.
Step four – Transparency output
The first step is for the programmer to validate that the art layers are stable and do not conflict. The programmer can make minor adjustments but should not be expected to apply any creative attributes at this stage.
The next step is for the programmer to set up a folder structure that reflects the layers that have been defined in the art file. The base character/s and all attribute layers, along with all the defined variations in each layer (colours, textures, shapes, etc), are then output as transparent png files to the correct folder location.
In the case of the Mishmash Monsters this resulted in over 500 transparency files in multiple folders and subfolders.
Step five – Generative Programming
The generative programming begins with compiling a dataset of all the attributes, all the variations, all the levels.
Once the dataset is created, then a test run is done. To do this, we used our bespoke “secret sauce” generative programming system.
In the case of Mishmash Monster, we also added additional complexity with our bespoke Unique Name generator, which generates a Unique Monster Number and a Unique Monster Name, that is burned into the final render.
This is the wonderful bit, to see all the unique variations, that you might not have even considered, is extremely exciting, and many of these random mutations are quite beautiful.
This is also where we check the results. Looking for errors in the transparency files, conflicts in the attributes, and errors in the dataset.
Time to make corrections. Test again. And loop.
Step six – Generate the final renders
After several test runs, checks and approvals, it’s time to do a final run, rendering the images.
I recommend this is done in batches of 100 at a time, so we can catch any anomalies. Once the final images are rendered, they are ready to be uploaded and minted.
Step seven – List and Mint
The final step is to list and mint the NFTs on the chosen marketplace, and in any crypto currency you prefer.
You can see the results in the Mishmash Monster collection. With over 500 attributes, and over a trillion possibilities, each Mishmash Monster is unique.
Interested in learning more about the Mishmash Monster family? Here’s some links:
GENERATIVE PROGRAMMING SERVICES
I’m now offering my services to help others to realise their own generative art NFT collection, so if I can help you, then get in touch.
Let me know if this information has been useful.