Our first post is also an announcement. We’ve officially launched our first NFT art collection for sale on Opensea!
It’s a 33-piece generative collection called “Pixel Flares,” loosely inspired by the lens flare effect along with a little-known film called “Dogville.”
Here’s how it came to be.
One of the fun challenges we’ve encountered in the generative space is the idea that anything’s possible. That whatever we dream up in our heads can be (theoretically) coded onto the page. Further, we’re finding scripts we write with one style in mind are capable of producing dozens of other additional styles we didn’t intend. Choosing a firm direction can be overwhelming, especially when trying to balance an original vision with “going where the art takes you.”
Our process is to build toward goals in bite-size pieces of code so that they can be mixed and matched and revisited to give us lots of options long term. We started with a simple script that made these:
(which you can see is also our logo – a tip of the cap to the first outputs we ever generated)
Then we added some other variables including the ability to pixelate the circles (by dipping back into high school trig to use radial geometry, standard randomness, and a Gaussian distribution to control layout of thousands of tiny circles in the shape of a larger circle, with the tiny circles clustering in different areas along the radius from the center to the edge).
That started giving us some really interesting outputs, like these:
But with so many variables at our disposal, it was hard to know which direction to pursue. A number of styles looked interesting, but none stood out as strongly better than the rest.
Inspiration from “Dogville”
Searching for answers, I (Bryce speaking) thought back to an experience I had in film school analyzing a film called “Dogville.” In it, the director created a feature-length film without sets or locations of any kind. Every scene was shot in an open space with chalk line drawings representing buildings and streets in the town, with descriptions like “shop.”
Stripping away so many elements made the film incredibly memorable in what otherwise would have been a fairly forgettable story. Every prop used in the film took on greater significance. Acting performances felt more deeply emotional. Scenes devoid of stimulating imagery were somehow made visually captivating.
The takeaway for me was that imposing limitations for yourself to work within as an artist can actually unlock great potential, and sometimes leads to creating something even greater than you otherwise would have without the limitations in place.
So was the case with Pixel Flares, when we decided to try something similar. We settled on restricting outputs to a very limited set of rules:
- Tight range of circle quantity (5 –7).
- A wide, but not-too-wide range of circle size (radius 1/3.8 – 1/17.0 canvas width).
- 180,000 dots per circle, each 1.5 – 3.0 pixels wide.
- No background elements of any kind (neither colors nor textures) – although we did in the end include a few exceptions containing a background gradient to add an element of rarity to the collection.
- And (perhaps most important of all) – eliminated either the X or Y axis entirely when it came to placement of circles on the canvas.
When we saw the first outputs born from the above ruleset, we knew it would be our first collection.
With each piece being made up of a 900k – 1.26m small dots, the white background encouraged the richly detailed textures pop off the page. The tight range of circle quantity/size led to a familiar, consistent style across pieces (while still providing delightfully unexpected surprises). And the lens flare style effect just felt visually “right.”
All that said, it wasn’t necessarily smooth sailing from there!
*Note: there are 3 “special” pieces in the collection that follow none of the above rules – they’re sort of the Easter Eggs of the collection, and contain the most rare traits. They are #11, #22, and #33.
With the approach settled, we next spent several long days creating and curating a gorgeous collection we were quite happy with. But when we went back to reproduce the images at high resolution for minting, we realized there was an aspect of the code that couldn’t scale (output of the code specifically, the number of dots, size of dots, etc… the effect was different at different resolutions).
So, counter to the typical generative art process, we found that in order to keep the style in tact we’d need to start over and generate every output at high resolution off the bat. The processing time per image was immense, and it was frustrating to start the whole creation and curation process over from scratch, but in the end it was a happy accident for a couple reasons.
- In creating and curating 33 new pieces of art – we ended up with an arguably much stronger collection than the original, and were able to introduce a new, stronger color palette to replace one of the old ones.
- We learned a valuable lesson about coding with scaling in mind that will help us in the future.
So, after weeks of work and a few sleepless nights along the way, we present to you: “Pixel Flares.”
We hope you enjoy browsing the style as much as we enjoyed creating it.
-Chris and Bryce (the nerds)
Rarities and Characteristics
The structure of the collection is as follows:
- 33 total pieces
- Background Canvas
- Mood (color palette)
- Circle Density
- Super Tight = 1/33 | 3.0%
Rarity Ranking (in order from most to least rare):
1/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #11
1/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #33
3/33 = Pixel Flares #22
4/33 = Pixel Flares #10
5/33 = Pixel Flares #32
6/33 = Pixel Flares #27
7/33 = Pixel Flares #30
8/33 = Pixel Flares #5
9/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #8
9/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #9
9/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #18
12/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #16
12/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #21
14/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #7
14/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #20
16/33 = Pixel Flares #29
17/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #4
17/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #24
19/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #1
19/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #6
19/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #12
19/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #13
19/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #14
19/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #15
19/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #17
19/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #23
19/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #25
19/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #26
19/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #31
30/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #2
30/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #3
30/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #19
30/33 (tie) = Pixel Flares #28
COLLECTION NAME: Pixel Flares
DIMENSIONS: 3000 x 3000 pixels