Storytellers can become comics artists with Dashtoon AI
6 mins read

Storytellers can become comics artists with Dashtoon AI

Dashtoon uses AI to turn storytellers into comics artists

Dashtoon is a platform that helps people who have a story to turn it into a comic, even if they can’t draw. It offers aspiring comic creators AI tools to create comics and a platform to publish their work, making it available to readers who want to see new episodes every day.

Dashtoon, a startup based in San Francisco and London, has raised $5 million in seed funding to support its platform called Dashtoon Comic Reader. This platform helps people create comics, even if they can’t draw, and it plans to add about 1,000 new comic episodes each month. Dashtoon started making money in October and aims to earn $15,000 in the first month, to reach $100,000 per month in the next two to three months. They offer a freemium model, giving users one free comic episode per day for each comic.

Dashtoon AI
Dashtoon AI: Comic Creator

The startup was founded in December 2022 by Sanidhya Narain, Lalith Gudipati, and Soumyadeep Mukherjee. Before starting Dashtoon, Narain and Gudipati were part of the founding team at Pocket FM, where they worked on expanding the Indian audio content platform in the United States. Mukherjee has a deep-tech background, having worked at Morphle Labs, which focuses on cancer diagnosis robotics.

The idea for Dashtoon came about when Narain and Gudipati were at Pocket FM and used comic strips to promote audio content. They saw a strong interest from U.S. consumers in digital comics, which prompted them to explore the comic creation ecosystem. However, they realized it required a lot of skill and investment. The release of advanced text-to-image AI models like DALL-E 2 and companies like Midjourney and Stability.AI, which work on AI-generated art, inspired them to create a platform that could produce high-quality comics using AI.

CTO Soumyadeep Mukherjee

Dashtoon’s AI Creation Suite, built by CTO Soumyadeep Mukherjee, enables creators to turn their story ideas into digital comics. Writers can upload their storyboards and select characters from Dashtoon’s library or use their images to generate comic panels. This significantly reduces the time needed to create an episode, from 40-50 hours to just 5-6 hours. This means that comics can be published daily, increasing the chances of producing popular content. In the future, Dashtoon plans to add features that allow creators to generate storyboards and dialogues with AI, further reducing the time required to create an episode to under an hour.

Also Read | OpenAI has introduced Dall-E 3, the most recent iteration of its text-to-image tool

While Dashtoon Studio uses AI to help with storyboards and dialogues, it doesn’t eliminate the need for human creativity. Sanidhya Narain, one of the founders, explains that generative AI is like a helpful assistant for labor-intensive tasks, offering suggestions and options.

 Dashtoon Studio uses AI

Real creative work, like writing stories and designing characters, is still done by humans. Content creators are actively involved in conceptualizing characters, and they use Dashtoon Studio to bring these characters to life with different poses and expressions.

Although generative AI is increasingly used in creative tools, some people, especially artists, have concerns about AI-generated art. Dashtoon’s founding team was initially worried that readers might not enjoy AI-generated content. However, the reception has been positive so far. The critical difference, according to Narain, is that many AI products produce mechanically generated content with limited creator control. Dashtoon, on the other hand, gives creators complete control over their final product. Many comic fans understand that daily releases can be challenging for humans, and they are willing to accept AI-generated content as long as it’s enjoyable.

One common criticism of AI-generated content is that it may be based on stolen work from other artists. To address this issue, Dashtoon takes several measures to prevent copyright infringement. They populate their character library with their intellectual property, including digital art, hand-drawn characters, and photos. Additionally, the stories published on the platform must belong to the creator or Dashtoon. In the future, they may develop their foundation models and collaborate with data providers who adhere to copyright laws.

While there are other digital comic distribution platforms like Marvel Unlimited and Webtoon, Dashtoon aims to distinguish itself through its content library and the frequency of episode releases. It also seeks to build a strong native creator community, offering an alternative to traditional, labor-intensive methods of comics creation and distribution.

Also Read | Dall-E 3 AI Images Are More Bold, Detailed, and Fun

Dashtoon‘s initial focus is on long-form content in genres like romance, drama, and fantasy. As more creators join, they plan to expand into other genres within both fiction and non-fiction, including short-form illustrated content. Their approach involves working with published writers to adapt their stories into digital comics and graphic novels for publication on Dashtoon Comic Reader before growing a community of creators who publish directly on the platform.

In a statement regarding the investment, Naman Lahoty, a principal at Stellaris Venture Partners, pointed out that people spend more time on their mobile phones now, going from an average of 45 minutes per day in 2011 to a substantial 4 hours per day in 2021. This increase is due to the popularity of new types of content such as short videos, audio streaming (like podcasts), and casual games.

Also Read | An AI chatbot creator economy is introduced by Quora’s Poe

Looking into the future, Lahoty believes that webcomics are going to be the next big thing. He thinks that Dashtoon is at the forefront of this trend because its founders have the right combination of content creation, technology expertise, and experience in acquiring users worldwide to make this business successful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *