Making & Minting Digital Art
This tutorial uses Algorand, Rand Gallery, MyAlgo, Procreate®, C4D, Squarespace, and Photoshop
There are many ways to mint an NFT on Algorand. NFTs are non-fungible tokens and digital assets that are based on blockchain technology. For this tutorial, we are going to use Algorand; it is inexpensive to mint (I think I spent $.20 on the entire minting/transfer process), Carbon Negative, and a Pure Proof of Stake blockchain infrastructure technology.
We will go over how to set up a wallet on MyAlgo (buy or send some Algo there), log into Rand Gallery, make a manual NFT using Procreate®, C4D, and Photoshop (an AI-generated or algorithmically generated NFT will be a tutorial for another day), and then finally mint it on Algorand, list it on Rand Gallery and share it with your friends.
First of all, you need to log into Rand Gallery using either MyAlgo, DeFly, or Pera.
However, in order to mint an NFT you can only use MyAlgo at the time I am publishing this tutorial [update someone from the Rand Gallery Discord told me they used Pera today to mint]. You can buy and sell with DeFly/Pera but you cannot mint, so we are going to use MyAlgo.
Ok, now I’m ready to head over to Rand Gallery.
Now at Rand Gallery, I choose MyAlgo as my login to Rand Gallery.
Now I can upload my NFT, Mint it on the Blockchain, have it in the Rand Gallery, and show it off to my friends. But first, we are going to take a creative break.
I’m going to not mint something I’ve already made — I’m going to make something brand new for this tutorial and take you through the creative process as well. Because I dream of that unique and weird intersection of art and technology.
I am going to start this NFT on my iPad because I’ve already been using my PC and my phone and felt like I just simply didn’t have enough screens around me. So I’m going to sit with my phone on a stand, my curved monitor that takes up my entire table, and an iPad in my lab because apparently my eyes are too rested, and need a little bit of tough love. But also, I love Procreate® (what a name) with the Apple pen. It is one of my true joys when making a new work of digital art to feel like I’m sketching, rather than mousing around the world.
When I use Procreate®, I have access to thousands of custom brushes that I can buy directly from artists on Etsy or other brush websites. Sometimes I also make my own. You can make your own brushes in a number of different ways.
Way back in the day when I was an undergrad I used to sell Photoshop brushes as passive income. While I can use brushes in a similar style to what I used to create with Photoshop, there are more algorithmic choices built into Procreate®, as the Apple pencil can calibrate pressure, color changes with pen position, the use of the eraser, and many other types of generative stroke patterns. When you fall into this rabbit hole, similar to Photoshop, you’ll find a whole other world behind that looking glass. Highly fun. You are welcome, or, I’m sorry I did this to you.
I’m going to start with a photograph I took
Here is a brush I’m starting with
Then I’m going to layer it with some more colors and so many brushes. I wish I could credit all the artists, but I’m using tons of my own brushes, custom presets, and a mix of lots of brushes that I bought.
Now I’m going to add some filters, distortion, pixelization, and warping. I love when things look like beading patterns, and kaleidoscopes (or as I call it spider vision). It reminds me of patterns in nature, butterfly wings, water reflections, and fractals.
Ok, I like that.
I will warp the image a bit, and add some more brushes and chromatic shifts
Now I’m going to export this onto my Dropbox with Apple integration which lets you choose from an app you have installed. I use Dropbox as I have more space there.
Then I’m going to head over to my massive curved screen on my desk on my PC and start stage 2, which is in Cinema 4D
I add my image from Procreate® to the background/backdrop behind my main camera/light setup:
Some GreyScaleGurrila materials and shaders (OMG love their materials).
I try out some materials that are cool but not my vibe for now
And a tiny bit of turnaround and keeping the camera still, I have a little movie I’m going to export.
I choose some pretty low res options in cinema 4D making it an h.264 of a standard size. I’m going to crop it later so I’m not super worried about it not being perfect.
Now I’m going to head over to Photoshop
I’m going to crop my video
Add some color filters
And trim the video a little bit.
Choose to Create a timeline and I’m going to choose the old school layout so it looks like little animation cells, which is the older style way of making gifs on this bro.
Then once I like what I see, I can preview how it would look in a browser, and optimize it so it is not too big. Export for web (legacy).
Choose forever looping, and any lossy choices or such. These choices will make your image smaller or larger, and the selective types will make the colors compressed using different algorithms. Luckily it will show you a preview of what the image will look like so you can decide what colors, options, diffusion, transparency, etc are worth losing for the sake of space. Then you choose to export and save your gif to your folder.
Now you are ready to upload the gif to Rand Gallery.
I clicked on my profile (the string on the upper right-hand side of the screen at Rand Gallery),
And choose to Create NFT
And then you get this dialog box:
You add the name of your NFT, the file name you would like to give it (no spaces). Choose your gif, description should say medium, if it is part of a series, how many are in that series is it a 1/1 1/1337, etc.
The external URL field is for a project website if you have one.
Total Supply refers to how many of these are available. If your NFT is 1/1 then it would just be 1.
There you go now my NFT is on Rand.
And here is what it looks like at Rand Gallery:
I can share it with my network.
I also made a Giphy of it minting for the tutorial but you may want to put your artwork.gif on your Squarespace and link people to the NFT-backed asset on the Algorand Blockchain.
Here is a demo page I made on my Squarespace account
If you had a big art project with hundreds of NFTs you may have a whole web experience tied in, or maybe even live performances or music. This is a pretty basic page but you get the idea of ways in which you can support your project in a website as well as on Rand Gallery or social media.
This was a very manual way of making an NFT, but don’t worry, you can use many creator tools to automate these steps using Node.js or Python scripts, for example. Once you have the basics down, I encourage you to create digital experiences with code and use these scripts to help you mass add NFTs, or mass send NFTs, which you could use as part of your digital projects.
You could find collection holders for after people have purchased your NFTs and maybe send them thank-you gifts as part of your projects or more assets to the story world in which you are including them.
I can think of a lot of fun ways you can engage with your fans and audience using these tools, so I will include these links and hope to go into that later in another tutorial.
Automated Creator Tools
- List available NFTs 📜
- List created NFTs 🎨
- Mass Add NFTs ➕
- Mass Send NFTs 💌
- Find Collection Holders 🚁
- Burn an NFT 🔥
Tools for engineers
- Nodejs scripts: https://github.com/RandGallery/creator-tools
- Python scripts: https://github.com/algokittens/algoNFTs