In a several months-long AI-empowered project, the DuckByte team has constructed a manga-themed world in a standalone website: Kuraidreams.com. The site features a captivating universe centering around Kurai, a spirited and sassy emo teenager who is navigating post-apocalyptic Tokyo in the year 2091.
Accompanied by her fashionable best friend Rin and the enigmatic blue-haired boy Hiroshi, she embarks on a journey confronting demons, dragons, and inner angst, all while seeking peace and purpose in an uncertain world.
This carefully curated website immerses visitors in the vivid aesthetic of a possible future world.
Overview - KuraiDreams.com
The journey of Kurai Dreams weaves ancient and future dystopian lore into a new thread of modern day story telling
It all began with a single image and a vision to narrate the tale of Kurai, a spirited and sassy emo teenager navigating post-apocalyptic Tokyo of 2091. Joined by her stylish confidante Rin and the mysterious blue-haired Hiroshi, she sets forth on a quest, facing demons, dragons, and inner turmoil, all in the pursuit of peace and purpose amidst an uncertain world.
Unique elements of this project – Inspiration fused with technology generating:
- Story Telling
- Web Design
- Manga Style Comic book
All alchemized into a virtual manga-themed world at the URL Kuraidreams.com.
Each journey begins with an inspired idea, and there’s no lack of creativity and inspiration at DuckByte.
Sample images of the color-rich website pages:
Midjourney meets Photoshop meets Canva.
In the middle of developing the website ecosytem we were inspired to create a graphic novel version of the story. We discovered a robust comics design toolset on the Canva.com website. We had already been using Midjourney, the premium AI art development program, to create images for the website, and so we extended our image inventory into a far more visual version of the story.
Many hours were spent pushing the capabilities of current AI art tools to support character refinement and consistency, meticulously crafting a visually immersive world for our characters. Many panels involved layering Midjourney generated art in Photoshop to seamlessly integrate characters into a shared scene. This process often required the magic of emerging tools for image background removal, and subsequent intricate layering of images and captions in Canva.
The eventual result was our our Collectors Edition, a 364 page story board style book, published on Amazon.
It became a rich array of magical scenes for our characters to play in, and every page pops with visual story telling.
The Graphic Novel
The next wave:
While we loved the magnum opus that resulted in our Collectors Edition, it didn’t fit the formatting expectations of most graphic novel readers. It had a large illustration for each moment in the story, and while it remains the definitive edition, we decided to pour all of that visual and story content into a more traditional, multi-pane comic format.
The result is a 88 page graphic novel with its own blend of dynamism and fascination.
Here are some sample panels.
(See more on Kuraidreams.com)
Since our images were so compelling we decided to offer some Kurai Dreams themed clothing, posters and other products in a print-on-demand structure. This resulted in multiple waves of designs, redesigns, and refinement of designs. The production of the two books improved our designs such that older versions were retiredm and we ended up with a fascinating collection that we hope will appeal to story fans. Here are some sample designs:
In addition to all of the above, we also engaged in a significant process of video authoring which entailed a number of AI enhanced and just plain work steps:
- Used ChatGPT to identify 8 moments in each of our chapters that would benefit from an image. (8 images x 12 chapters =96 moments)
- Used ChatGPT to author corresponding descriptions of each image in the context of the story.
- Used ChatGPT to rewrite each description in the voice of a 17 year old emo girl.
- Used that text as input to the ElevenLabs.com AI voiceover toolset and chose an appropriate voice to convert each bit of text to an .mp3 audio file.
- Used Midjourney in the Discotd ecosystem (premium AI art tool) to create multiple candidates for each of the final 96 images
- Made final selections.
- Used Pikalabs.org tool inside the Discord ecosystem to animate each image into a 3 second video file.
- Imported 7 animations into each of the 96 videos using the Anmoto.com video authoring toolset, adding a music background and the appropriate .mp3 voiceover file.
All of that resulted in 96 videos that we deployed on KuraiDreams.com and also as a drip of social media posts on TikTok and Instagram.
The full video storyline can be started here, and completed using the “Parallel Universe” links at the bottom of that page.
Sample Page of Video Links:
Kurai Dreams - Promotional Video
From the DuckByte team…
“Collaborating on this project was great fun, but it also expanded our engagement with cutting edge AI visual design and text authoring toolsets. In effect we have added print-on-demand products, book publishing, video authoring and Amazon/TikTok/Snapchat marketing to our client-available toolset.”