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This generative AI turns any story into a comic

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This generative AI turns any story into a comic

Thirteen years ago, as an assignment for a journalism class, I wrote a campy short story about a man who eats luxury cat food. Now I’m sitting here watching a generative AI called Lore Machine bring my words to life.

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“We identify scenes, locations and characters, as well as mood. This process can take up to two minutes,” says Lore Machine’s website. The company’s AI analyzes the text, extracts descriptions of the characters and settings mentioned, and then passes that information to an image generation model that spits out a kind of illustrated storyboard at the end.

After more than a year of development, Lore Machine is now available to the public for the first time. For $10 per month, users can upload up to 100,000 words of text (up to 30,000 words at a time) and use them to generate 80 images for short stories, scripts or podcast transcripts. Power users get 2.24 million words and 1,792 images in the Enterprise package for $160 per month. The illustrations can be generated in different styles, from manga to watercolor to eighties TV series.

Zac Ryder, founder of creative agency Modern Arts, has been using a pre-release version of the tool since Lore Machine founder Thobey Campion introduced it to him. Ryder sent him a script for a short film, and Campion turned it into a 16-page graphic novel overnight using Lore Machine.

“I remember when Thobey shared his screen. We were all completely overwhelmed,” says Ryder. “It wasn’t so much the aspect of the image creation. It was the level of the narrative. From the flow of the narrative to the emotions of the characters – it was right straight away.” His agency is now using Lore Machine to develop a fictional universe for a manga series based on a text by the creator of the Netflix series “Love, Death & Robots”.

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Lore Machine uses well-known generative artificial intelligence techniques. A language model scans the text and identifies descriptions of people and places as well as the general mood of the text. A version of Stable Diffusion then creates the images, all within a few clicks. This makes it one of a whole range of user-friendly tools that hide the amazing power of generative models behind a simple web interface.

“It’s a lot of work for users to keep up to date with new AI tools, and the interface and workflow are always different,” says Ben Palmer, CEO of production company New Computer Corporation. “Using a tool with a unified interface is very compelling. I have a feeling this is where the industry will end up.”

(Bild: Lore Machine / Will Douglas Heaven)

Thobey Campion founded the company behind Lore Machine two years ago to work on a blockchain version of Wikipedia. However, when he saw how well the generative models were received by people, he changed direction. Campion used the freely available text-image model Midjourney to create a comic version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The project went viral, but it wasn’t fun.

“My wife hated the project,” he says. “I was up until four in the morning every night trying to get the images right. The problem was that text-to-image models like Midjourney generate the images one at a time. This makes it hard to maintain consistency between different images the same characters. Even determining a specific style for multiple images can be difficult.”

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