“Unique” Issues in Programming

Problems in Generative NFT Coding: Technical Uniqueness Versus Aesthetic Uniqueness

The meeting place between code and aesthetics.

When you’re programmatically generating thousands of NFTs with varying and unique sets of traits, the end results can be surprising. Hopefully, many of the scenarios will have been foreseen by the artists and developers, but with many billions of combinations, some strangeness can slip through. Let’s look at a simple example.

Say you have a simple character with a face, body, arms, and a background. Nothing is outlined; it’s all just made with areas filled with colors. Well, right away, you can see some problems, right? For example, what if you used the same 10 colors as options for ALL of those areas? You could wind up with a generated graphic that has a red background, a red face, red arms, and a red body. In other words, a 100% red square or rectangle.

Is that unique? Well, sure.

Will anyone buy it? (Well, I’d say no, but the NFT world is really unusual. If you’re already a famous artist and you’re doing this as a statement about art or something, then the answer may be yes! But for the rest of us, it’s probably just going to look like an awful glitch.)

That was a hugely simplified example, of course, and I doubt many would make that mistake.

But, expand the options above out to a generative project with many, many more options in play. It’s doubtful that the artist or developer has considered every single potential outcome. And that’s where you wind up with some unexpected generative graphics. You do a run, look over the output, and think, “Wow, I hadn’t thought of what this character would look like if X and Y happened at the same time!”

Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s a bad thing. Provided you’ve coded things right, your output would be technically unique. But would it be aesthetically pleasing? That’s another conversation.

And so, of course, that’s part of the artistic challenge of generative artwork — envisioning as many of the possibilities as one can while creating the individual parts.



Jim Dee, OG Web3 Dev & Generative NFT Code Expert
Generative NFT Programming Articles

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