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How to Create an NFT Collection Using AI: Step-By-Step Guide

During the bull run of the early 2020s Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) swiftly rose to fame as they began fetching insane prices.

One example that caught widespread attention was Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” NFT which sold for a massive $69,346,250! Roughly 40,000 ETH at the time. Another NFT collection that gained mass popularity and celebrity status was Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) with the most expensive sale to date of Bored Ape #8817 fetching $3,408,000.

Anyway, you’re probably wanting to know how you can get started making your own NFT collection! Let’s dive into how to make an NFT collection using AI!

Bored Ape Yacht Club #8817 NFT. Bored ape wearing a rainbow helicopter hat.
Bored Ape #8817 sold for $3,408,000.

How Do You Create an NFT Collection Using AI?

To create this NFT collection I’m going to be using Midjouney for the imagery, ChatGPT to help with the prompting, and Adobe Firefly for creating rare NFTs.

Midjourney is in my opinion the best AI image generator available, and with permutation prompts, it makes creating a series of NFTs a breeze, we’ll get into that soon. But first things first πŸ‘‡

1. Get Midjourney

Using Midjourney is straightforward. Midjourney runs on Discord (for now) so you’ll need to install Discord if you don’t have it. Once you have Discord click this link to add the Midjourney server.

You’ll want the Pro Plan which is $60/month. The pro plan allows stealth generations, meaning your image generations can be kept private… which is probably worth doing for an NFT project. You can cancel the plan after a single payment and you get a month’s worth of use. If you don’t care about keeping the images hidden until you release them, choose a cheaper plan. Aside from NFTs, there are lots of ways to make money with Midjourney too so you can try those to cover the costs.

Midjourney Pricing Blocks

2. Get ChatGPT

Now I don’t want to give you a lecture but if you’re not using ChatGPT in 2023 you really should be. Anyway, GPT3.5 is free and is enough for what we need here, but it’s absolutely worth paying the $20/month for GPT4. I’ll be using GPT4.

3. Come Up With an Idea

Now this might be the hardest part, and arguably the most important. A good idea for an NFT collection can make the difference between the next BAYC, or the next nothing project. If you don’t have any good ideas, try looking at the existing projects that have done well on OpenSEA, MagicEden, or CNFT.io for some inspiration.

You can also use ChatGPT to help brainstorm some good ideas. I outline what makes a good NFT project at the end of this article. It can be anything, I’ve even seen an NFT projects made entirely of AI QR codes.

For this article, I’ve decided to make an NFT project based on Animals of the Great Barrier Reef 🐟 (If you don’t know what that is, think finding Nemo).

4. Get Your Prompt Right

This part takes time, but remember it’s worth spending the time and getting it right and making sure your art will sell.

If you’ve figured out what you want your project to be about and you have an idea of what you want it to look like start working on your prompts in Midjourney. This part is about getting the overall style of images right rather than specific features.

A good source of inspiration and ideas to craft your prompts can be the Midjourney showcase gallery. Provided your subscription is up to date, you can click an image and copy the prompt – allowing you to see some good keywords to use to get different effects. For more ideas check out this article I wrote on the best Midjourney prompts too.

16 small sample clownfish NFT images from Midjourney

It took me a while but I eventually found a prompt I was happy with:

Clownfish NFT generated with Midjourney, kinda looks like Nemo
Midjourney Prompt: a clownfish in the great barrier reef, in the style of cartoon realism, hyper-realistic portraits, 32k UHD, cute cartoonish designs, wallpaper, luminous brushwork –s 1000

5. Use Permutations and ChatGPT

Once you’re happy with your baseline prompt you can streamline the creation process by using ChatGPT and Midjourney permutation prompts. Permutation prompts allow you to generate a series of images with a single prompt (up to 12 simultaneous images with the Pro plan).

To give you an example of how permutation prompts work, let’s say we want to generate different colored apples, say a red, blue, and green apple. The prompt looks like this: {red, blue, green} apple. This is the same as entering 3 separate prompts: “red apple, blue apple, green apple”.

I asked ChatGPT to list 12 iconic animals of the Australian Great Barrier Reef, separated by a comma. I copied this from ChatGPT and paste it into my prompt from above wrapped in curly brackets. The prompt looked like this:

a {Green Sea Turtle, Giant Clam, Maori Wrasse, White-Tip Reef Shark, Humpback Whale, Moorish Idol, Manta Ray, Dugong, Potato Cod, Coral Trout, Hammerhead Shark, Crown-of-Thorns Starfish} in the great barrier reef, in the style of cartoon realism, hyper-realistic portraits, 32k UHD, cute cartoonish designs, wallpaper, luminous brushwork –s 1000

I ran the prompt and about 90 seconds later Midjourney gave me this full collection:

Lot 1 of the 12 Midjourney NFTs showing a Green Sea Turtle, Giant Clam, and Maori Wrasse
Lot 2 of the 12 Midjourney NFTs showing a White-Tip Reef Shark, Humpback Whale, and Moorish Idol
Lot 3 of the 12 Midjourney NFTs showing a Manta Ray, Dugong, and Potato Cod.
Lot 4 of the 12 Midjourney NFTs showing a Coral Trout, Hammerhead Shark, and a Crown-of-Thorns Starfish

Now some of them still need work of course but you can see how powerful this method is for generating an NFT collection, especially if you get the initial prompt framework right.

6. Add Features with Generative Fill

If you know anything about NFTs you’ll know that they are usually a massive set of very similar images with unique features. Well, guess what, AI is here to save the day again!

Midjourney is lacking a little bit but I expect them to have some sort of generative fill within the next few updates. For now, we can use Adobe Firefly for free! There are a bunch of Adobe Firefly alternatives too such as RunwayML’s Gen-2, but so far I think Firefly is the best quality.

Taking our Clownfish from earlier in the article, let’s say we want to create some rare NFTs. How about one with gold teeth, one wearing a beanie, and one surrounded by flames?

Midjourney clownfish NFTs from left to right: original image, gold teeth, wearing a beanie, and surrounded by flames.
Midjourney clownfish NFTs from left to right: original image, gold teeth, wearing a beanie, surrounded by flames.

Unfortunately, Adobe Firefly is still in Beta and leaves a watermark, but it won’t be long till you can leverage this to make rare NFTs!

What Makes a Good NFT Project?

So far we’ve learned how to generate an NFT collection using AI, but unfortunately, the days of generating a few simple images and seeing success are long gone (or very rare at least). There’s a low more to creating a successful NFT project these days. Let’s take a look πŸ‘‡.

  • Originality and Creativity: The best NFT projects bring something new and unique to the table. This could be a novel concept, exceptional artwork, innovative utility, or a combination of these elements.
  • Authenticity: It is crucial that the NFTs are created by the actual artists or developers they are attributed to. This ensures the legitimacy of the NFT project.
  • Utility and Value: Good NFT projects usually come with some form of utility or value beyond the digital asset itself. This can range from access to certain services, rights to royalties, or a role in a virtual ecosystem.
  • Community Engagement: A strong community behind an NFT project can contribute to its success. Community members often promote the project, add value through participation, and potentially increase the value of the NFTs.
  • Scarcity: The more limited an NFT collection is, the more valuable it can become. Limited edition NFTs often fetch higher prices in the marketplace due to their rarity.
  • Roadmap and Future Plans: A well-planned roadmap shows the intent of the creators and can give potential investors a clear view of what to expect in the future.
  • Quality of Art or Content: This is particularly applicable for art, music, or any other form of creative NFT. The better the quality, the more likely it is to hold or increase its value.
  • Transparency: The more transparent the project is, the more trust it can generate among its community. This includes the transparency of the creators, the sales, and the project’s finances.
  • Security: Given that NFTs involve significant monetary transactions, ensuring security is a critical aspect. The blockchain used, the smart contract standards followed, and the security measures implemented play a vital role.
  • Sustainability: With growing concerns about the environmental impact of NFTs and blockchain, projects that show a commitment to sustainability can stand out.

Wrapping Up

Well, there you have it. How to create an NFT project using AI!

This whole thing took me no more than a few hours. If you really sat down and got your prompts perfect and spent some time creating rare NFTs you can really generate some original and creative NFTs using nothing but AI!

Making an NFT collection is just one of the many ways you can make money from AI art and I hope to see some of your AI-generated NFT collections out there in the wild πŸ˜‰

That’s all from me ✌.

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