Watching Udemy videos I started to think about my previous article regarding how to create an NFT in Photoshop and came to the realization that even though it’s not possible right now it might not be that far-fetched of an idea. I know what you’re thinking, “he’s stoned”. However, hear me out.
I wrote about the fact that you can’t create an NFT in Photoshop. Because a the simple fact is that NFTs are the combination of a contract plus a unique asset that provides proof of ownership and rules which govern the ownership of said asset. Once the asset was created it had to simply be uploaded to a marketplace and minted.
Leading me to my next thoughts.
Table of Contents
How to make an NFT
If you’re here for tutorials I’ve created quite a few. Head over to my YouTube channel or check these out:
Learning about smart contracts
While I was rebuilding my NFT collection Warskullz_Reboot I wanted to learn a more efficient method at uploading my artwork in bulk. I saw that there were collections producing ten thousand or more variations of a profile picture and thought that there were insanely technical mechanisms hiding behind locked vaults which created these unique variations.
I was wrong.
What I found was rather quite the opposite. There was a plethora of knowledge right around the corner and people willing to share it if you were willing to put in the work and look for it.
Having gone through a series of tutorials on how to create generative art and generative art series in Photoshop I had a firm understanding behind the actual creation process involved. I understood that the actual generation of the collections were being done locally via an open source scripting engine.
It was a relatively simple and straightforward process of creating a file, creating layers, variations of those layers, outputting the layers to specific directories with appropriate names and weights followed by setting particular instructions on how those layers would compile.
After inputting the output variable and running the script you’re left with a build directory that includes each individual variation and another with the metadata for the variations. Which is really important info and pertinent to next steps.
Taking a pause here to make note that in this example, all ten thousand were output.
Meaning the entire collection was created ahead of time. Therefore there wasn’t a magic minting mechanism. The mechanisms at play were smart contracts and third party vendors.
That’s right, there were others involved.
Progressing on my quest for knowledge I continued forth finding out that the next steps to creating a collection and minting in bulk was a little easier than it looks. Since we’re using smart contracts and there is a standard that exists we are able to use open source code.
Many amazing engineers have written contracts that people like you and I can use to create, compile, deploy, verify and mint our own NFTs right to a marketplace without having to use their user interface and in a way that would allow the control of the artwork’s availability.
Through several tutorials I had to piece together, I was able to create a smart contract and deploy to the main Polygon network.
What I found out was that all the files that get output initially have to be uploaded to the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). Once they’re on IPFS they’re assigned a URI. That URI is basically the address for each file. Once you have that address you update the metadata to include the correct link for your collection.
What this does is tell the contract where each asset is located.
Once the contract knows where the asset is located it can assign the right metadata to the item in the marketplace being minted.
Minting can happen in a few ways that I know of.
NFTs can be minted directly in the interface of the marketplace, they can be minted from the contract itself or through a dApp (decentralized app) interface. Minting through a marketplace one by one was what I had already been doing.
Not going to work for this scenario as Warskullz_Reboot had 666 unique variations.
Minting through a dApp wasn’t going to work because I hadn’t planned on that specific type of release. I wanted all of them to be minted at once or in batches.
I was left with minting from the contract.
Using Remix IDE and some open source solidity contracts I was able to input the correct information, create a contract, deploy it to the Polygon network, verify it and then eventually mint all 666 in batches of 66 because for some reason I set the maximum mint amount to 66 at a time and not 666 so I could just mint them straight away.
I’m human and I make mistakes.
Anyhow, I had done it. Minted all 666 unique variations with the right metadata. Cool. How does this pertain to the ability to create an NFT in Photoshop? Easy.
Putting on my product design hat
Oddly enough I’ve been working professionally as a designer for the last fifteen or so years. As a coincidence the last half of my tenure has been focused on digital product design. This has allowed for some really amazing opportunities and has afforded me some truly amazing experiences.
It has also provided me with a way of thinking.
That way of thinking is precisely what made me reflect on my previous article and a rebuttal to my initial gesture that it was not possible to create an NFT in Photoshop.
Well, no it is not by literal definition in theory it is entirely possible.
Adobe could build a method that would allow users to create an NFT in Photoshop and upload it directly to a marketplace quite simply.
Going back to the model I explained before, an NFT being an asset plus contract deployed to a network and marketplace while Photoshop was the asset creator we can pull that apart and look at some of the root operations going on.
First and foremost the art, which we already have covered in Photoshop. We can also export our art from Photoshop. What we’re missing is the minting process.
What I’m thinking is that Adobe could actually build this into the export interface flows.
Once the user links their custodial wallet they could connect to a marketplace, input the required information, pass that information along with the art and meta from Content Credentials, add the info directly to a contract template and finalize the deployment process all through the app.
Storage of the file could be on IPFS or this could also be monetized.
Some complexities that could arise would be if a user wanted to create a generative series and upload in bulk to a collection.
I could see that being solved through an enhanced creative feature that might incorporate some sort of a generative art builder followed by a collection manager which could allow the user to create a collection and add assets to it.
This all sounds pretty grand but I think it could work and be a possible path towards solving the problem of how to create an NFT in Photoshop. Adobe has already done a massive job with the creative cloud and its capabilities could be a further extension into the world of innovation and exploration of trends and technologies.
Wrapping things up
A pessimistic attitude and realist approach led me down a path that stated the obvious, it was not possible to create an NFT in Photoshop. Later reflections and positive outlooks opened up the idea that it actually could be possible. Based on my limited understanding and first hand experiences there may actually be a way to bridge that gap. Through having the user export the asset and supply necessary information it could be very easy to then upload directly to an existing marketplace, an entirely new one or a site like Behance.
With the reach and leverage that a company like Adobe has I could see them successfully being able to pull this off. Digital art has been around for a very long time, artists have been wanting to get paid for their art for just as long, NFTs provide a solution to this problem and the successes they’ve created thus far makes it seem like they’re not going away anytime soon.
Need help with smart contracts or NFT collections?
If you’d like to collaborate on a project or are interested in assistance feel free to reach out.