Ever wonder how to create an NFT collection? In part two of this series I’ll keep showing you. The last article covered high level concepts and understandings. Now I’m going to dive further, provide a real life example and some tips on how to approach the creative process so you can get started creating your own collections.
Assuming you know what an NFT is and that you’re familiar with what I mentioned feel free to skip ahead. For those that are new for simplicity’s sake, NFT stands for non-fungible token. Something that is fungible can be replaced by an identical replica. Whereas something that is non-fungible cannot. NFTs are tokens that store unique sets of data and are certified proof of ownership, like a deed.
A quick recap
I am an advocate for doing just enough research, planning your approach, having intent behind your actions and being mindful to add value. It’s an approach I firmly believe in. It’s also my personal mantra: Learn, build, measure and iterate.
Previously I covered broad concepts. The intention was and still is that you take what I say and perform your own research to solidify your ideas.
Touching on what I mentioned prior you need to be thoughtful of your collectors and want to add value. If you want to turn creating art into a business then you’ll treat it as such.
For an NFT collection to really stand out it should be unique and original, built on solid ideas, useful or valuable. To be any of that it doesn’t take much.
Uniqueness can be a lot of different things and can reach far outside of subject matter, style or approach. Unique could be your product roadmap, technical implementation, real life bonuses, additional utility or something else all together.
There are a million different ways to brainstorm clever ideas.
Try gaining inspiration by performing bursts of free flowing journaling, analyzing competitors or even the different marketplaces. Think about what you’re interested in, what you want to explore, ideas you may want to share or feelings you might want to provoke.
Create an NFT, the creative process
In setting out to write this series I initially envisioned it as one article. However upon drafting the text it was essential to split things up and narrow down the focus because what I’ve mentioned is ambiguous.
Be unique, original, built on solid ideas, useful or valuable all have different meanings to different folks. Granted there is a general consensus they’re still variable. To illustrate this I’ll walk you through my creative process for Warskullz.
Warskullz NFT Collection
Planning the approach began with the urge to keep creating, to expand upon my current collections and push the concepts and contexts of my art.
Prior to this I explored lost love and the meanings of different roses. Keeping consistent I thought of topics related topics. With this collection I knew I wanted to release energy, build on my themes and inject new elements.
Therefore my process began with self-reflection.
Discovery and ideation
Oftentimes it’s challenging to act upon emotions. Especially when they are seeded in anger. There’s no greater way to expel this energy than through the form of art. Having allowed myself to hold onto frustrations for too long I decided to transmute that energy.
Grabbing a pen and paper, crude sketches of my idea were scribbled.
A skull pierced by a spear and a wreath of roses behind it. In my mind’s eye a clear picture was forming. Working through ideas in Photoshop allowed me to see what was and wasn’t possible before deciding to continue.
Planning for Spooktober 2021 was underway. Committed to a big prize contribution it was time to rock and roll. I’d said I would donate art from a newly conjured up collection … that didn’t yet exist! Not to worry.
The thoughts were already there. I wanted to create an NFT collection similar to the profile picture projects you see today. In theme with the event and the holiday spirit I narrowed down on 666 unique pieces. As I was exploring concepts and creating visuals I saw a path emerge.
By manually creating variations the first formation started to take shape. Out of those 666 pieces I saw I could break them down into general categories. Those categories:
- Ultra Rare
- Ultra Ultra Rare
By doing this I was able to set personal constraints but also draw inspiration from how Magic the Gathering treats their cards. With my collection I was going to do the same. In doing so there was an opportunity to break down the collection further. Categories were split into ranks and classes. Each having different attributes.
Some came with only solid backgrounds, others textures, roses, wreaths or a combination. Card category, rank and order are all treated differently and have specific attributes per designations.
By doing so I baked in added value with ensured rarity.
Earlier I made mention of a product roadmap as something that could be unique to your collection. Generally it’s a future looking vision on where you plan to take something. Because I see creating art as a viable business, I started to ideate on what my product roadmap could be for Warskullz.
Initially this NFT collection will be limited to 666 pieces.
However based on the original idea that figure could be increased by developing additional variations. As this collection sees success I also envision it giving back to charitable organizations who help with anger, trauma, art therapy or similar.
I think it’s important to pay it forward and make some form of valuable contribution to society. It will be my intention to figure out some way to give back.
Output a collection
Manually creating 666 pieces was a bear of a task. Wanting to make this a generative collection I explored possibilities but found that with the timeframe I had to work with I’d need to do this the old fashioned way and sort it out with the tools I knew well.
Different layers and styles allowed me to create the base variations and elements that I could juxtapose. Using the layers panels it was easy to sort them in a logical way and group them by type as you would for a generative collection.
Had I used `Actions` and automated my steps I could have saved time and technically created a truly generative set of art.
To be fair I didn’t know exactly how I wanted each category to look from the jump. I knew I’d have to create an output as I went so initially this is what made the most sense.
Layer by layer I went through and turned on the ones I needed and off the ones I didn’t. Working through all the common variations each one was output as a high resolution PNG file.
Outputting commons lasted several hours over a two day period.
Truthfully it was harder trying to sort out the variations and layers than anything. The biggest challenge was the repetitive tasks. For this first pass I ended up with 346 PNGs ready for the next step. Creating the collection. Which I’ll cover in article three.
Having trouble coming up with ideas for an NFT collection?
Don’t worry. There are a number of different ways you can begin to think through what you want to do. I’ll also say it’s fine if you don’t focus on anything and let your collection be a free flowing body of work.
But if you are the planning type like myself then you can do a few things.
The first thing that comes to mind is to think about what’s really interesting to you. Or stuff you’re already inspired by. You can use techniques like setting time constraints in order to limit analysis paralysis and really commit to executing on creating ideas.
A great way to get ideas is through competitive analysis. Companies do this to set benchmarks for products if they’re entering an already existing market. They also do it to see what consumers are expecting. By having a look at other artists you can begin to get an idea of the NFT landscape.
Additionally creating a vision board is something that might come in handy as well. They’re great ways to get ideas out of your mind’s eye and into real life.
In part two of this series I showed you my creative process through the lens of a real life example and some tips on how to approach the creative process yourself. I gave you ideas on ways to make your NFT collection unique. In part three of this series I will continue on how to get setup on OpenSea and the process of creating a collection.