Smartphone apps that turn photos into manga-style black and white pics are all the rage in Japan, but they don’t offer much beyond illustrated selfies. The Shirai Lab at the Kanagawa Institute of Technology, however, has developed a “Manga Generator” that uses a Microsoft Kinect to snap photos of people and immediately place them in their own customized one-sheet manga.
Starring in a comic is cool enough, especially with the large variety of layout options, but the Manga Generator uses adaptive “shader” software to create a completely custom comic based on movement. Using the Kinect, the software gauges the “mood” of the subject’s pose and changes the scene accordingly, adding visual effects (like the motion-indicative “dash” marks), background images, and character props on the fly.
The shader software, particularly the image quality, could still be improved, the team notes. But the layout software that automatically places word bubbles and narrative boxes around the subject is what they’re most excited about. The Manga Generator team hopes that their research will eventually be applied to e-books and interactive stories. For now, however, advertisers are already excited about attaching their name to custom comics. So if you’ve always wanted to channel your emotion and awesome poses into a comic of your very own, you may not have to wait much longer.DL