If you spend any time in the world of Web3 (or even just on Twitter), you will have inevitably noticed the proliferation of PFP communities as of late. Projects like BAYC have raked in literally millions of dollars and inspired an avalanche of analysis about the future of communities, the web and even identity itself.
If you're an artist, you've probably wondered how to break into this space. After all, programmatically generating 10,000 dynamic NFT's isn't in every artist's bag of tricks. That got me thinking ... how could I simplify things for non-programmers looking to dip their toes into this world?
Turns out it's possible to automate a lot of the heavy lifting with no-code tools 👀
Let’s break it down.
Anatomy of a PFP Collection
At their most basic, many PFP projects are just stacks of images that are assembled together, usually programmatically, in many different combinations. An avatar might have one layer for its mouth, one for its eyes and one for its clothing. Each variation of a given layer is called a “trait,” and different traits might have different “rarities” associated with them. So a collection might feature 100 characters with brown eyes, but only 10 with green eyes.
Sounds simple enough, right?
Now imagine you have a collection comprised of four layers, each consisting of 10 possible traits. To determine how many combinations are possible for this collection, we must multiply the sums of all traits in each layer by one another. Let’s write that out for the mathematically challenged 🙋♂️
10 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 10,000 Combinations
Generating that many images manually would take A LOT of time. Too much time. That’s why NFT artists typically rely on custom coding to generate these collections. If you’re a programmer, this is a fairly trivial lift. If you’re not a programmer, don’t know any programmers and don’t have any cash to hire one, it seems a lot more daunting.
A Simpler Way
Thankfully, it’s possible to automate this whole process using no-code tools, and I’ve created a free, open-source template to make it even easier.
Start Here · NFT Machine
This template is built on Coda, which is basically Notion on steroids — allowing non-technical users to create micro-applications that incorporate custom data schema, workflows and automations.
In this case, I’ve used it to create a slick, customizable front-end where you can create your own NFT collections; define layers, traits and rarities; and then generate all possible variants with the click of a button. The template integrates with Placid, a simple and affordable image generation-service, to assemble the finished PFP artwork.
So now you have a whole bunch of artwork, but none of it is actually on-chain. To mint your NFT’s, you’ll need to use a service like Mirror (on which this blog post is published), OpenSea or Rarible.
Unfortunately, automating the minting process is outside the scope of this post, though it should be possible to do so using a browser automation tool like Axiom. I might tackle that in a later tutorial, but, for now at least, we’ve streamlined one of the thorniest pieces of creating your own PFP collection — allowing you to generate thousands of pieces of unique artwork in minutes, with minimal cost and no code.
I hope you find this resource helpful. If you use it to build something awesome — or if you have ideas to make it better — I’d love to know. Give me a shout on Twitter 👇
In the meantime, happy building!