Movie to Web-Comic Conversion

I Just now got the idea that it might be fun (kind of impractical, almost certainly illegal, but fun nonetheless) to take screen captures from key shots in movies and digitally redraw them in Illustrator or a similar program, add in word bubbles and the like. Thus converting the movies into readable web comics.

Any input on such an idea?

(I have included a sample from the movie Hackers (The scene where Dade realizes there's another hacker on the computer network for the TV broadcasting station he's hacked into) as the basic idea of what it would be interesting to accomplish, the image quality is not that great because i just filtered the image in Photoshop as opposed to redrawing in it illustrator to save some time.)

(Also included a color version with Japanese text "Uso! Ha-ka- da." might not be exactly right basically a direct translation would be "lie! a hacker.")

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Step 1: Play a Movie on Your Computer.

This step is self explanatory. DVDs, Divx, Whatever.

Step 2: Collecting Frames

This step could take a rather long time. Pause the movie at frames that are A. Visually important to the plot. and B. Not going to be hell to redraw or edit digitally.

Step 3: Turning Screen Captures Into Art

Take all of your frames and redraw them in Illustrator (very very time consuming, but potentially worth it) or find a decent filter in photoshop to give them a comic book-style effect and batch process them (something tells me quality will be lost here). Now you have a movie's worth of comic book images to add word bubbles and narration bubbles to.

Step 4: Add Word/Narration Bubbles

Now that you have all of your Comic book styled images you need to add word bubbles to the characters as well as potentially adding narration bubbles. A copy of the script and a decent knowledge of the movie will help here. Load up your images one by one into Photo-shop, Illustrator, etc... and edit in such things, I imagine to save a little bit of time you could create a vector word bubble in Illustrator and resize it as you need it for all the dialog.



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    12 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I mean to create photo novel frome a short movie. Does this process not be copyrighted? Where is the owner’s right to appeal? Is it free to adapt?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I like this idea. It would be fun to do this, but totally take the story in a different direction than the original film.


    10 years ago on Step 1

    is it possible to keep the movie but just change the way it looks?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Your instructable hit the right chord with me. I've been considering similar options to create a web comic from pictures I've taken rather than from a movie. Neato!

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Step 4

    You could process the caps in Photoshop (there are several plugins that automate the kind of effects you are trying to do) then I would get a piece of software called Comic Life ( which has all the tools (panel layouts, word balloons, fonts, etc.) to build an online comic.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    use a combo of photoshop (Pics) illistrator(text) and frontpage (formating) cool idea though let us know how it works out (id use a move that you wouldn't get sued over night of the living dead for example)


    12 years ago

    You can try this in photoshop -- it generally works well for me: 1). Image -> Adjustment -> Desaturate (if you want black and white) 2). Image -> Adjustment -> Posterize (to 2 or 3 colors) 3). Image -> Adjustment -> Levels (to fix brightness and contrast) And voila! If you want to stylize it a bit more, try a filter. Fresco, a blur filter, or even a texture filter. Thanks, Nick

    3 replies

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    This way results in a better image, IMO. I use Fireworks, and this is still possible without the posterize tool. Just need to export to gif, and you can choose any amount of colors you want, with a dash of dithering to taste. Unfortunately, it only really works well consistantly if you do it for a B&W image - just take the 240 and divide that by number of export colors minus one and use those values for the saturation of your greyscale export colors. For example, if you've chosen four color comic, you should probably use 0, 80, 160, and 240 for the saturization of your export colors. If there's a way to do this automatically, I haven't discovered this in Fireworks. Otherwise, without a straight greyscale, I'm not sure how to pick your export colors other than just a straight guess.


    Reply 12 years ago

    Although... If it's for a comic, maybe you should only posterize down to 8 colors. It'll retain a little more detail that way.


    13 years ago

    Why not use photoshop and change threshold settings. That is much faster and easier and you get a picture that is almost similar to the one above.