Behind the Art: CryptoFlash

Behind the Art: CryptoFlash

In the first of a new series on NFT Insider, CryptoFlash takes us through the process of creating one of his animated flash NFTs!

JUNE 30, 2021. BEHIND THE ART. WRITTEN BY CRYPTOFLASH, FOREWORD & EDITING BY HYDRO.

With more art being added to WAX every day, it can be difficult to tell quality work apart from its counterpart. Often, NFTs that look complex on the surface might not be as intensive as you think, whilst NFTs that look simple at first may require a much more elaborate process than a first glance would have you believe.

CryptoFlash is an example of the latter. Every few weeks, this talented artist releases a set of animated tattoo flash, and over the past few months, he’s gained a dedicated following. These may look like simple gifs, but there’s a huge amount of work that goes into each and every one!

Without further ado, CryptoFlash – take it away!

Howdy! I’m CryptoFlash and I’ve been making animated tattoo flash on the WAX blockchain since March this year. I’m not a tattoo artist in real life, but I’ve been making tattoo flash and blasting a few of my friends with them for a few years now. Since March, I’ve sold over 1,000 NFTs, including 5 sets of 5 and two collabs; one with WAX Whales, and one with CryptoStache – the latter of which a fan got tattooed!

My NFTs seem very simple but a lot of work goes into them.  That’s one of the main reasons I haven’t made more than I have – I literally couldn’t unless I quit my day job! Here’s an walkthrough of my process with Panther Bite, one of the NFTs from the 5th set of CryptoFlash.

Behind the Art: CryptoFlash

1) Line Drawing

First, you need a really solid line drawing. This is where a huge amount of the work happens. When you draw something this simple, each line has a lot of importance. Changing the shape of a head or eye can drastically change the vibe of a drawing, so I like to experiment a lot. I ended up with this panther head, and felt it was going to work well.

2) First Frame

My next step is always to make one completed frame. This lets me see any issues with colour that might pop up. For example, in Panther Bite, the whole head is black, so I had to use negative lines in order to define the face and show highlights.

I use a very limited colour pallet and am fairly consistent with it across my work. If it feels like I have to introduce a new colour, I usually re-think how to colour the piece, unless I really like the idea.

I added a new colour in my 5th set, which I felt was really necessary for the piece – and it came out great!

Behind the Art: CryptoFlash
Behind the Art: CryptoFlash

3) 4-Frame Loop

From here, I always draw the image 4 times and loop it. I re-use this 4 frame loop as much as I can, to reduce the work I have to do. I’ve found that 4 frames is just enough to keep the variations of the linework different enough whilst still not re-drawing too many times.

4) First Animation Pass

Here is the start of real animation. For each NFT, I have to identify what will be moving and work on it bit by bit. With Panther Bite, I started with the snarl. Breaking up the animation into pieces not only makes it easier, but also makes the end result better, as there is more consistency frame-to-frame than if you were re-drawing the whole image for each frame.

Behind the Art: CryptoFlash
Behind the Art: CryptoFlash

5) Second Animation Pass

Here, I added the bite. There’s one really fun frame in here – it’s called a “smear” frame. In 2D drawings you can’t easily add motion blur, so if something is moving really fast you can give the impression of motion blur by stretching and warping how some of the image is drawn. I don’t use this trick a lot, but when I do, I love it!

6) Third Animation Pass

I felt like the piece needed more motion in the animation, so I adjusted the animated head and re-drew the neck. This is what really makes the flash come alive.

Also, if something is moving, you’re less likely to notice inconsistencies with the piece from one frame to the next!

Behind the Art: CryptoFlash
Behind the Art: CryptoFlash

7) Colouring

Colouring is one of the most enjoyable parts of the process. I already have one frame done, so I just have to follow my own guide. Usually I kick back, have a smoke and watch a chill movie while I’m doing this. It’s really mindless, but very satisfying.

8) Shading

Shading adds a lot of depth to an image with just a few lines. I use the same line weight as the initial linework, set the colour to black, the opacity to 40% and just go to town. I have my one finished frame already, so I’m just following the guide once again.

The way I shade these is very special to me, as it was a big decision to shade the way that I do. I don’t shade in a traditional flash style (with gradients aplenty) – by simplifying it to just edge lines, it not only gives my pieces a unique look, but makes the animation easier for me as well.

Behind the Art: CryptoFlash

…and now we’re done!

Each one of these takes me up to 2 weeks to make. It truly is a labour of love, and something I’d likely be doing anyway, even if I wasn’t in the NFT space. Before minting on WAX, I was mostly doing flash on paper – I only decided to digitize and animate the flash because of the freedom that digital art and NFTs gave me.

I really enjoy making these, and I love all the people that I’ve met – creators and collectors alike. This could very easily be a life-long thing for me, but who knows – for now, I’ll just be working on the next one!

CryptoFlash – thank you ever so much for taking the time to show us how your NFTs come together!

I’ve followed his work right from the first set, and watching his fanbase grow over time with each new set has been a joy. This demo has given me a whole new level of admiration for his art, and I cannot wait to see what Set 6 has in store!

You can keep up-to-date with all things CryptoFlash by following his Twitter, heading to his website, or by joining his Telegram – and if you’d like to pick up a piece of his work yourself, you can view his NFTs here!