Dual licensed MIT/GPL2
That means that you don't need to code and draw anything particular for putting together a comic strip with StripThis!, except - obviously - if you're going to extend the word database.
The comic is composed on-the-fly using HTML elements, CSS transformations, custom fonts combined together starting from the specified script and that's why your webcomic is actually made with web. Since the comic is not rasterized, a lot of funny things can be done, like instant translations of your comic in different languages, thanks to Google Translate APIs (read "funny translated") and tooltips on balloons and characters.
StripThis! was put together without any particular characters anatomy, art style, layout and expressions set in mind: StripThis! was thought with a wide range of flexibility by design in order to minimize the inevitable coldness of something machine-generated - from panels to characters, everything is composed by a customizable set of little pieces that can be virtually of any number and with any kind of modifier, so the more you draw the various can be your comic.
Perfect. Since I've managed to create some sort of confusion, it is time for an example... For StripThis!, this comic script...
...it is shown like this...
Now, let's say the truth. First of all, the comic script is filled with script sugar, that are keywords that don't trigger any particular effect on the panels. Conjunctons like "and" or "with" are purely optional - if you've a mouse right now, just hover on balloons and characters to discover the trick.
Moreover the comic syntax is quite strict. For istance, the title have to be the first word of the script and, if you need more than one word, put them between quotation marks. The very next words of the same line are attributes of the whole comic and then, if you start or end a line with the panel word, a new panel is created and so on.
So there isn't any AI behind StripThis! but just a small number of rules, that are explained into the help section of the Comic Studio tool, included into the package. Oh, yes, this time there is a little editor shipped with this lib that can help you on visually browse the adjective/characters library and see in realtime what StripThis! understands of your writings before posting your comic.
There is a little more but I prefer to talk about that on...
StripThis! core is splitted in two parts:
As I said, there is Comic Studio, including a simple guide to the StripThis! rules, a Library Browser for checking which characters and adjectives are available in the current installation of StripThis! (yes, you can add your own characters, anatomies, balloons, adjectives, backgrounds, effects, layouts etc. and the library tool is automatically updated) and a box for writing comics and see in realtime how is rendered by StripThis!.
The Comic Studio integrates to the little PHP/MySql server included into the package. While the server features some nice functionalities, like serving multiple comic series and a writekey system (a quite raw security system that allows you to post comics only from specific URLs - notice that security is an euphemism) is probably not suitable for mass-distributing your comic but, If you need something to play it should be handy enough.
There is a sample-index.html too with a raw example of a web page showing both server integrated or serverless ways of rendering comics. Nothing fancy but gives the idea, I hope :)
Last but not least, I've also included a bunch of presets for backgrounds, characters, anatomies and effects. There are about 250 stencils, most of them hand-drawn by me (don't ask, please) that are used by the bundled StripThis! stencils for composing comics. There is an Inkscape file too for creating your own characters and export them in PNG, to be used in StripThis!.
The comics you can read on this page are written by me for fun (and for creating more examples). But if you want to try StripThis! before downloading the full package, you can have a look to the SandBox!. SandBox! is a free-for-all installation of the StripThis! server, where you can play with Comic Studio and share your creations with friends.
If you like it and you want to know how it works, improve its engine, add stencils or simply play offline, just download the package from the big button on the left sidebar of this site and start hacking.
Ok. You've found a very dirty bug. Or you've got a good new idea for StripThis!. Or you like drawing and you've done more b/w stencils for StripThis! and you want to share them. Or you have created more HTML effects and styles for StripThis! comics. More characters set? Do you've just published your StripThis! based webcomic? Or do you just want to chit-chat about anything? I give up guessing! Just feel free to write to contact me here (strip the numbers) or on Twitter for any particular reason!
When I was 20, I used to bring with me a black backpack in order to carry with me any kind of weird stuff to be used for doing stupid gags around with friends: from plastic UZIs (bye, Ciro) to conical asian hats.
One of these strange tools was a big wirebound notebook containing some sheets with pre-printed 4-koma panels. I used to draw humoristic (but more often cynical and bitter) comics on-the-go about what was happening in that moment. This book was ever in my backpack so any of my friends (and not) could ask and read the latest comic or the whole book.
Long time passed since that day (I'm 30 when I'm writing this) and, while my mom threw that book into the trash since was classified as unuseful stuff when I left my parent's house, the spare time is not as much as before and hobbies have grown so I can't do really everything I want to do. Moreover, going around with a black backpack sketching what is happening, gets more and more inappropriate when you find a job and you have to meet bosses and customers. Finding how to put together a funny comic about something that just happened is an impossible challenge and so that little game was sacrificed.
That's why I decided to put together StripThis!: sketch a simple comic as quick as before, without the needing of that backpack.
I've to thank you Bianca as usual - she found again a nice name for one of my projects so I promised to her to take a real coding pause after StripThis! since I'm probably abusing of her patience... So I really hope to keep the given promise ;)
This time I've also to thank my co-workers, since I've done the stencil samples starting from a set of portraits of them that I've done for the 2011 calendar of the company I work for. So thank you for helping me... without knowing!
There is a lot of people I've to thank too, but this time just find out for them into the characters library! Bye!