Strip Generator

Strip Generator - composition screen for the comic Combinatoric smArt

The Strip Generator is web-based comic strip authorware. It can be used to arrange original dialog in frames alongside a library of character and object icons. It requires no login, and every composition is immediately available for viewing on submission to the database.

Strip Generator provides a stock art library mechanism and a method of quickly pointing flexible word balloons at actors - streamlining a process of mixing text and image that is possible but complex in GIMP, Photoshop or Illustrator. Like those editors, Strip Generator allows layer control, with mostly freeform composition constrained by some limits - for example, all characters must be aligned flush with the ground for reasons that aren’t clear. The interface also has some innovative features, such as control buttons that lock to the selected object.

Perhaps due to the open design, of the thousands of submissions, most are test material or crude compositions. One recurrent story is 1. Conflict! 2. Gunfire! 3. Death! The gun icon is hanging in the object gallery, and so for some it needs to go off by the third panel. Yet examples also include reproductions of movie scenes, illustrations of song lyrics, and punchline routines that start to resemble newspaper or web comics.

In addition to meta-commentary on the design environment and mocking the medium conventions, there are also some pieces that read more like traditional comic strips, with a timed mix of exposition and illustration. Some examples deal with incompetent computer users, the mental lives of goldfish, and canine philosophers.

This post comes with the WRT original creation used to test the interface, more a Scott McCloud-style meditation than a Far Side or Peanuts:

Combinatoric smArt

Strip Generator - composition screen for the comic Combinatoric smArt

“What is combinatoric art?”

“Can I create it by channel surfing TV?”

“By choosing my own adventure book?”

“Are behaviors that remix art enough, or does there need to be a generator, an algorithm?”

“Would the algorithm have to be on a computer? Could it be a deck of cards?”

“Maybe it happens anywhere we consider process or system more important than product.”

“Any time we look at a collection of ends and say of the means:”

“‘How beautiful!’”

via Drawn!

7 Responses to “Strip Generator”

  1. 1 Christy Dena

    Funny and clever strip Jeremy. :)

    There is also StripCreator, which I’ve used in class to create strips quickly. Though, it looks like you’ve got alot more options with Strip Generator. I’ve added Strip Generator to the IES List.

  2. 2 Sigmund

    hey there! surfing through the links and i see youve made quite a nice description of the tool we made. thax :)

    about the static of the Y axis, it was my idea and something to just keep something that all comics would have in common - aligned characters, and in my oppinion it is required, for i cant imagine how much chaus there would be if i let it all be flexible :)

    before the generator hit the world it was a local thingie and we made quite exelent comics, playing and testing the boundries, and there is also a selection of the weekly comic, where you can see all the best ones!


  3. 3 Jeremy Douglass

    Thanks for the reference - I followed up on it. Actually, I may survey a couple others at some point. We need a word other than Generator or Creator for these text-image juxtaposition kits. I’m thinking of McCloud’s “juxtaposed pictoral and other images in deliberate sequence” definition of comics - although his basic definition omits words, obviously I’m interested in this kits as combining pre-existing graphics with free-form text.

    Perhaps we should call them Sequencers - or better, Juxtaposers, as distinct from combinatoric output programs like Generators.

  4. 4 Jeremy Douglass

    Thanks for stopping by!

    The Y axis really does help to maintain a commonality between them. Everyone who has done a project like this seems to pick a different line in the sand between order and chaos, and the technical capabilities of your system really push towards the chaos end!

    Did you also do all the art, or was it made by a team / borrowed / user contributed?

  5. 5 Sigmund

    all graphics are mine, well except for the two grafitties, which i borrowed from guys from the same crew i’m in (ZEK)- but traced it myself :)

  6. 6 WHAK'd has another online comic strip maker ;)

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