The DNA of our Yokai
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April 5th, 2022
  1. Akuma Origins’ backstory and lore
  2. Birth of the Yokai
  3. DNA of the Yokai
  4. Concept art and sketches

Lore

In a distant universe, we witness a brave species called Yokai - folk known around the universe for their skills in battle, loyalty to the shogun and their brothers and sisters in arms. The vibrant realm attracts plenty of travellers, merchants, and fortune seekers.

One of these souls is a legendary travelling merchant crafting weapons and jewellery, wielded by the bravest Yokai. During one of the merchant's travels, he was caught in a gruelling thunderstorm. Forced to seek refuge in a nearby cave, he stumbled across a huge vein of very shiny and strong ore - something never seen before. Unbeknownst to him, the ore was an ancient prison holding an evil spirit. While hastily mining the ore, he released the ancient spirit known as Akuma.

The quality of weapons and jewellery crafted from this ore was never seen before in the Realm. These pieces were highly sought-after artifacts by the wealthiest and bravest Yokai. Unbeknownst to them the curse that every piece held. Akuma was waiting in the shadows for the perfect moment to execute the curse.

Concept of the ore in to jewellery - December 2021
Concept of the ore in to jewellery - December 2021

Factions

Among the owners of these artifacts are some of the most powerful Yokai across the realm. Faction leaders, warlords, sorcerers and kings. The realm is controlled by local factions peacefully coexisting, each with its own leader also know as Legendary Yokai. Every faction is represented by its own symbol. The Yokai proudly wield their faction symbol everywhere they go. However, some Yokai chose not to be part of a faction, some were banished and others just chose to live life on their own terms. They are called wanderers.

Sketches of the factions, portraying the letter A - October 2021
Sketches of the factions, portraying the letter A - October 2021

Birth of the Yokai

The very first Yokai was born back in September 2021. A first sketch brought this brave warrior into this world. It created the baseline of where we are today. Every single Yokai is created by Mateo, artist and co-founder of Akuma Origins. Being an art-based project, it is important to zoom in on the artwork that is featured in this collection - and truly appreciate the design, details and story behind every character.

The first sketched Yokai - September 2021
The first sketched Yokai - September 2021

Each trait featured in our collection is designed by hand and carefully generated by a custom algorithm to make sure every single Yokai is completely unique. Mateo has been an artist for the biggest part of his life. This collection reflects his artistic career from origin up till now. Many traits reference his old work, taking great inspiration from pop culture, music, anime, and many of his peers!

As mentioned above, most of Yokai are representing a faction. There are 8 factions in total, as well as 8 base colors for every single trait. This idea stems from the idea to create thousands of unique Yokai with a very simple color pallet, and yet make every single one of them colorful and unique in its own way.

DNA of a Yokai

As stated above, Each trait featured in our collection is designed by hand and carefully generated by a custom algorithm to make sure every single Yokai is completely unique. We have implemented a system to make sure that no two Yokai look alike. Each is individually created and carries its own story.

We take great pride in the custom generative engine created for this project. As many of you know, this collection is created with only 8 pastel colors. To avoid a cacophony of colors, we decided that every Yokai should have a color palette existing out of 3 colors. For example [white; yellow; black] or [black; black; red]. This was quite a technical challenge to achieve and we are glad we made it happen in an efficient way! It took many iterations to perfect this process!

Base colors of our collection
Base colors of our collection

The possibilities with this algorithm are extrapolating in the millions. In our testing phases we generated multiple batches of 1000 Yokai, most of these amazing combinations will never be seen again. Lost in space forever. To fully align with Mateo’s vision of the Yokai, we developed a custom algorithm that draws the Yokai's traits from our pastel color palette. The algorithm decides the color palette of the NFT right before it starts randomizing that specific NFT. This allowed us to design an automated, yet curated process of creating our collection. The traits being drawn from this pool of colors truly diversifies the combinations - allowing us to create very colorful, yet serene characters.

First outline of the traits - September 2021
First outline of the traits - September 2021

Concept art and sketches

The following paragraph will dive deeper in some of the concept art and sketches that are the foundation of Akuma Origins today. Enjoy!

First Yokai sketch - September 2021
First Yokai sketch - September 2021
Hairstyle concept - December 2021
Hairstyle concept - December 2021
Concept of masks - October 2021
Concept of masks - October 2021
Concepts of headwear and masks - October 2021
Concepts of headwear and masks - October 2021
Jewellery concept art - January 2022
Jewellery concept art - January 2022
Concept art of the Portal - December 2021
Concept art of the Portal - December 2021
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