Read Your Movies As Automatically Generated Comic Books

A research paper from Dalian University of Technology in China and City University of Hong Kong (direct PDF link) outlines a system that automatically generates comic books from videos. But how can an algorithm boil down video scenes to appropriately reflect the gravity of the scene in a still image? This impressive feat is accomplished by saving two still images per second, then segments the frames into scenes through analysis of region-of-interest and importance ranking.

movie to comic book pipeline diagram

For its next trick, speech for each scene is processed by combining subtitle information with the audio track of the video. The audio is analyzed for emotion to determine the appropriate speech bubble type and size of the subtitle text. Frames are even analyzed to establish which person is speaking for proper placement of the bubbles. It can then create layouts of the keyframes, determining panel sizes for each page based on the region-of-interest analysis.

The process is completed by stylizing the keyframes with flat color through quantization, for that classic cel shading look, and then populating the layouts with each frame and word balloon.

The team conducted a study with 40 users, pitting their results against previous techniques which require more human intervention and still besting them in every measure. Like any great superhero, the team still sees room for improvement. In the future, they would like to improve the accuracy of keyframe selection and propose using a neural network to do so.

Thanks to [Qes] for the tip!

Manga Guide To SMD

For those that have always felt a bit treppidatious when approaching SMD, you can relax. Here’s a simple guide to walk you through your first shaky steps into surface mount devices. Distributed freely under the creative common license, the Manga Guide to SMD is an 18 page comic that has a goal of making SMD producers out of all of us. There’s a good visual explanation of what SMT is and why we use it, as well as a thorough walk through of how to solder the tiny devices with your soldering iron. They don’t go into dealing with a small reflow oven in this issue.

If this fits well with your learning style, you might also be interested in the Manga Guide to Electricity.

Working Tachikoma Brings The Manga To Life

This Lego Tachikoma drives and walks just like in the TV program. You simply must take a peek at the video after the break. We’ve watched it several times and don’t think there’s any editing magic going on. But the movements are so intriguing part of us thinks there’s something fishy about it.

Each leg has a wheel that is connected to a motor via chain drive. But the little guy isn’t constrained to smooth hard surfaces. When the going gets rough, he struts his stuff like an eight-year-old crossing the lawn in roller skates.

This is not just for show and you can build it yourself if you like. The link at the top has assembly instructions. You will need several specialized parts though, not the lest of which is the cement mixer drum halves that make up the rounded blue chassis pieces.

Not sure what the heck this thing is? Don’t feel bad, you’d need to be a fan of Ghost in the Shell to recognize it.

Continue reading “Working Tachikoma Brings The Manga To Life”

Robots From Dolls

Here at Hackaday, we may be somewhat divided in our opinions of Anime and Manga. We were all pretty impressed by this robot build(translated) though. We’re not totally clear on who actually did this build, but we can see a few pictures and a video on the site. The original doll looks to be roughly 3 or 4 inches tall, judging by the Eeepc keyboard that it is standing on. We counted 7 servos stuffed into this thing with a controller board hiding in the back of its hair. You’ll have to watch the video to see most of the details. It looks like there is one in the head, one in each shoulder, both hip joints,  and both feet. Though the motion at the end of the video is limited, we still think it is impressive. Creepy, but impressive.

note: the video is not embedded in the translated version. Just go to the non translated to watch it.

[thanks Francesco]