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A WUT-born idea takes the world by storm

One of the "comixified" videos, photo: comixify.ai

One of the "comixified" videos, photo: comixify.ai

Developed by a team of the Warsaw University of Technology Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology, the Comixify algorithm for converting video to comic is a real hit. The authors have been very busy over the last few months advancing their project and it has already claimed some awards.

Since the scientific paper describing the idea was published online on December 12, 2018, the Comixify website has hit hundreds of thousands of visits and has generated over 40,000 cartoons. Private individuals and companies around the world became interested.

The algorithm has established itself as a tool to capture treasured moments in a fresh way or to create unique gifts. And brands have started to use it in their marketing communication. Comixify has even been found helpful in therapy of autistic children.

How does it work?

The video-to-comic conversion is a two-stage process involving a selection of the most representative video frames (based on an algorithm for online content popularity prediction and reinforcement learning) and style transfer (using the generative adversarial network (GAN) model).

The Comixify idea emerged over a year ago. Adam Svystun, Maciej Pęśko and Paweł Andruszkiewicz started to work on the concept as part of their diploma project efforts supervised by Tomasz Trzciński, Ph.D., Eng. in consultation with Prof. Przemysław Rokita, Ph.D., D.Sc., Eng. All authors are affiliated with the WUT Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology, or more precisely with the Institute of Computer Science, Department of Computer Graphics.

New functionalities

Initially, the algorithm enabled conversion of a video (up to 25 minutes) posted on YouTube or saved in a file (up to 50 MB) and uploaded directly from a user computer into a one-page comic. The current conversion capabilities have grown to include videos published on Twitter or TikTok.

Since the launch in December last year, the authors have streamlined the comic download and sharing process to make finished cartoons easier to post on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. The Comixify website now shows the latest cartoons created by other users with an option to add ratings. Speech bubbles can now also be added. You can either insert captions from a random selection available in the database or enter custom text. And if you want to have a comic version of an entire video, just write to the authors to discuss the details. The Comixify YouTube channel has posted cartoonized versions of a clip from The Intouchables and the Cold War trailer.

 

Success story

Our scientists’ project has received recognition from experts.

It was listed among the most prominent Artificial Intelligence trends in 2019 published by CB Insights, a tech market intelligence and forecasting platform. At the LSE Polish Economic Forum in London, Comixify was the winner in as many as three categories in the Startup Challenge, winning the Main Award (awarded by the judging panel), the Audience Award and the Social Impact Award. It also qualified (as one of seven ideas) for the international startup accelerator program run by Betaworks, a platform known for investing in widely popular online projects such as Giphy, Tumblr or Medium. In addition to a three-month accelerator program, Betaworks provides access to experienced professionals from the world of online technologies and an investment to help Comixify spread its wings and fly higher.

What is next for Comixify?

The team is now focused on leveraging the social potential of the project by building a community of users who will be returning to the website and who will watch and rate cartoons created by others.

The primary target markets for the authors are North America and Asia. Their plans include upgrades to improve the user experience on mobile phones and ultimately, the release of a mobile app.