The importance of metadata
Initially when I designed Star Flower, I knew about NFT metadata from my previous generative project, but I was so focused on making sure 1000 mints would look and feel unique that the metadata was not accounted for.
Ideally, the metadata would be a good place to start. It helps create a frame around the design, and provides a level of detail that is typically absent in IRL art. In many cases you would need an expert to tell you the likelihood of an attribute in a painting.
NFTs are wonderful in that, a code artist can place data regarding the generated art at the forefront, so people down the line who may not catch the story of what data to look for can simply look up the NFT on the blockchain and see traits and rarities.
I almost didn’t add NFT metadata to Star Flower because after 300 mints, I was still seeing beautiful artwork and that was very pleasing.
But for those who like to collect some art from a collection for looks and other to resell, metadata can help justify a price of an NFT placed on the secondary market. Having a rarity and price correlation helps the artist and collector by reducing the ambiguity to pricing beyond the initial sale.
What is ‘Star Flower’?
Star Flower is a project I designed using p5js code that allows NFT collectors to, with the click of a button, use my generative algorithms to make designs that look like a combination of stars and flowers. This project grew organically out of my love for gardening and understanding the value flowers add to themselves and their ecosystem.
The algorithms are made to look at the Ethereum blockchain at the exact time of mint and use blockchain data to generate the number of petals, the colors to fade between, and the background to set before making the flower.
I have written code art for many years on and off, and after formally presenting this project to Art Blocks, I went through a few months of back and forth, ensuring that the artwork was dimension agnostic, deterministic, and that each star flower felt unique even over 1000 mints.
The deterministic part ensures that the data used to make the block always produces the same star flower.
When I finally got the code working to their standard, I was approved for their factory release.
For more details, visit this link to see more about my code art history and a fine detailed explanation of how I use code to create the star flower effect.
What metadata will Star Flower use?
Again, designing the metadata should be done at the beginning of a project (my next projected to pitch to Art Blocks already has this mapped out). But ArtBlocks let me know that their system is flexible enough to propagate metadata even after Star Flowers were minted.
I thought about it for a month and realized that while it would be impossible to get petal count and color data after the fact, I could use math information about the token string to try to create a naming system that would highlight extremely rare mathematical events.
I settled to three attributes to focus on:
- Using the modulo of the sum of the blockchain data.
- Using the sum of the blockchain data.
- Counting the number of 5s in an array of blockchain data.
Modulo of the sum
This metadata is created from taking each value in the blockchain data (token string) and splitting each number into an array and adding it together. I then placed prime numbers and other numbers into the array and if the modulo equals zero, the index is used to look up a corresponding name for that metadata. It is designed so that any token that is even has a high probability of getting a specific name and other more rare sums get different names. You’ll see I have used Latin names or derivatives of Latin words to make these feel like the scientific names of flowers.
Sum of the blockchain data
The previous method makes it difficult to get the more rare labels, so this method is less precise. It uses the sum of the token integers and if it falls within a numerical range then it gets a specific label.
Number of Fives
The icon I used to describe the project is always a yellow star with 5 points. I thought it would be fun to see how many 5s appeared in the token string and give it a label to reflect an event similar to getting a pair, three-of-a-kind, or four-of-a-kind in poker.
While at the time of this post, the minted number of Star Flowers is over 480 out of 1000, I want to take a moment to thank the Art Blocks community and NFT collectors who have supported me thus far.
Keep in mind that I have been seeing 30 to 50 mints happen over the past few nights and this level of interest blows my mind.
It is hard for any NFT artist to gain momentum and be visible despite the social media algorithms controlling timelines, but the AB community and NFT community have really encouraged me to bring my best to this project.
I always assumed seasoned NFT curators would be the collectors of Star Flower, but there are some who have told me their Star Flower was their first NFT.
To be counted as a contributor in this NFT movement is a wonderful honor that I will always remember.
(twitter link for future updates)