Scarecrow's ASCII Art FAQ

(If you know where Bob Allison is, contact me)
========================================================================
    | |     : :                  ::        \   \              ;;
    J J     : :                  ::         \   \            ;;
     L L    : :         __   _   _________   \   \          ;;
     | |    : :        /  |`| |`|___   ___|`-.\   \        ;;
     J J    : :       / . | | |  `-.| |`-. `-.`\   \      ;;
      L L   : :      / /| | | |     | |   `-. `-\   \    ;;
      | |   : :     / /_| | | |     | |      `-. \   \. ;;
      J J   : :    / ___  | | |     | |         `-\   \`-.
       L L  : :   / /`-.| | | |___  | |  _         \   \-.`-._
       | |  : :  /_/____|_|_|_____|_|_|_(_) _       \   \ `-._`:
       J J  : : |__________________________| `-.     \   \-.,-'
        L L : :      _  _  _ _       _  ___ `-. `-.   \   \ |
        | | :_:   /\(_`/ `-| |`-_/\-| )-_| `-. `-. `-. \   \|
        J J | |  /--\_)\_,_|_|__/--\|_\__|__  `-. `-._`-\   \
         L L|_| |___________________________|`-. `-._ `-.\   \
         | |   |    _____   ___      ___     `-.`-._ `-._ \ ,!`-.
         J J   |   |  ___|`/ _ \`-._/ _ \`--.   `-._`--._`-'||`-'
          L L  |   | |_   / /_\ \  / / \ \   `-._   `--. `-,+.`-._
       __-------_  |  _|`/ _____ \ \ \_/ /_._    `--._  `-.|X||-./
      |          |/|_|_./_/_____\_\_\_____/=\`-._     `-.  |X||.|
      |       _,--------------.____ -========\_(A)`-.._  `-|X||\
  Ool |     _|                     `         |_`--.    `-- |X||/
  /VK |    | | ALT.ASCII-ART: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS   / ||-.
========================================================================
[Subject:] (FAQ) Welcome to ASCII art
========================================================================

__  __   __     _,
\\  \\   / ___ '||  ___  ___ __  _  _   ___    _/|_ ___
 \\ /\\ / //_\) || // \)// \\ ||'||'|| //_\)    || // \\
  \/  \/  \\__,_||_\\__,\\_//_||_||_||_\\__,    \|_\\_//

              ___   ___ ____ ____
        /\   ((  / //  | ||   ||     ___  _,_ _/|_
       /_\\   \\  ((     ||   ||     __\\'||\) ||
     _/  _\\_/__)) \\__,_||_ _||_   ((_||_||_  \|_


Answers to frequently asked questions about ASCII art
========================================================================
On the Web, the FAQ and other useful documents can be found in the
ASCII art Documentation Archive (ADA), at the following locations:-
========================================================================
*** There is a wealth of information about ASCII Art ***
***         in the ASCII Documents Archive           ***
========================================================================
                 International Mirrors
========================================================================
http://www.sci.fi/~iltzu/ascii/ada/            (Helsinki, Finland)
http://www.ludd.luth.se/~vk/q/ada/             (Lulea, Sweden)
http://website.lineone.net/~martin.atkins/ada/ (London, UK)
http://votrezone.com/ada/                      (Calgary, Canada)
========================================================================
 -*+!%$%!+*-.-*+!%$%!+*-.-*+!%$%!+*-.-*+!%$%!+*-.-*+!%$%!+*-.-*+!%$%!+*-
========================================================================
Contents
========================================================================
 [1]  What's alt.ascii-art?
 [2]  What is ASCII art?
 [3]  What does ASCII mean?
 [4]  Why do all the pictures look strange?
 [5]  What font do you use for ASCII art?
 [6]  What program do you use for ASCII art?
 [7]  How do I draw my own ASCII art?
 [8]  Can someone do me some kewl lettering?
 [9]  Where can I find Figlet's address?
[10]  Can I copy or post that ASCII picture for myself?
[11]  What way works best to ask for a picture of something?
[12]  What should I know before posting to alt.ascii-art?
[13]  What to NOT post to alt.ascii-art? [da roolz]
[14]  Have a picture or graphic and would like it Asciified?
[15]  How do I convert a picture or graphic to ASCII art?
[16]  How do I put ASCII art on a webpage?
[17]  What are ASCII art signature files?
[18]  What is ASCII art animation?
[19]  What does ObAscii mean?
[20]  The ASCII Art Rough-Guide to m$.Outlook?
[21]  Where can I find pictures/tutorials/infos/chatrooms/experts?
[22]  Historacle's What types of ASCII art are there?
[X1]  The Ascii Art 10-Commandments

========================================================================
[1]  What's alt.ascii-art?  What's going on here?
========================================================================
    You're probably reading this because it's been posted to
    news:alt.ascii-art, news:alt.ascii-art.animation or rec.arts.ascii.
    If you're not, jump in and take a look.  In these Usenet groups
    people discuss ASCII art, request ASCII art, post ASCII art, post
    improved versions or variations of other people's ASCII art, and
    generally have fun.

========================================================================
[2]  What is ASCII art?
========================================================================
    ASCII art is any sort of pictures or diagrams drawn with the
    printable characters in the ASCII character set.
    (For a definition of ASCII, see Question 3.)

    :-) Probably the most common ASCII art picture is the smiley (-:
        but it can get a lot more sophisticated than that.
               ____
            .-" +' "-.      Here's a small ASCII picture of
           /.'.'A_'*`.\     a snow-scene paperweight,
          |:.*'/\-\. ':|    drawn by Joan Stark:
          |:.'.||"|.'*:|
           \:~^~^~^~^:/     If this picture looks very strange and
            /`-....-'\      you can't really tell what it is,
       jgs /          \     don't panic -- see Question 5.
           `-.,____,.-'

    People use ASCII art for a number of reasons. Here are some of them.
    *   It is the most universal computer art form in the world --
        every computer system capable of displaying multi-line text can
        display ASCII art, without needing to have a graphics mode or
        support a particular graphics file format.
    *   An ASCII picture is hundreds of times smaller in file size
        than its GIF or BMP equivalent, while still giving a good idea
        of what something looks like.
    *   It's easy to copy from one file to another (just cut and paste).
    *   It's fun!

========================================================================
[3]  What does ASCII mean?
========================================================================
    ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
      7-bit as defined in ISO-646 is a basic set of 128 numbered symbols
      which almost all kinds of computer can display. Here are the ones
      that are used for ASCII art:

    032 [space] 048 0   064 @   080 P   096 `   112 p
    033 !       049 1   065 A   081 Q   097 a   113 q
    034 "       050 2   066 B   082 R   098 b   114 r
    035 #       051 3   067 C   083 S   099 c   115 s
    036 $       052 4   068 D   084 T   100 d   116 t
    037 %       053 5   069 E   085 U   101 e   117 u
    038 &       054 6   070 F   086 V   102 f   118 v
    039 '       055 7   071 G   087 W   103 g   119 w
    040 (       056 8   072 H   088 X   104 h   120 x
    041 )       057 9   073 I   089 Y   105 i   121 y
    042 *       058 :   074 J   090 Z   106 j   122 z
    043 +       059 ;   075 K   091 [   107 k   123 {
    044 ,       060 <   076 L   092 \   108 l   124 |
    045 -       061 =   077 M   093 ]   109 m   125 }
    046 .       062 >   078 N   094 ^   110 n   126 ~
    047 /       063 ?   079 O   095 _   111 o

    There are other characters in the set (with the numbers 0 - 31 and
    127), but they can do bad stuff to Usenet readers, so PLEASE DON'T
    USE THEM in your pictures (except characters 10 and or 13 which
    are used to insert a new-line by a variety of Operating Systems).

========================================================================
[4]  Why do the pictures look strange?
========================================================================
    If one particular picture posted to this group looks faulty, but the
    rest of them look fine, then its most likely a problem with that
    particular picture, or with the poster's Usenet program. But if
    *all* the pictures look bad, then your Usenet reader may be set to
    display messages in a proportional font (see Question 5).

    *   If there are a lot of almost-blank lines in the picture, then
        the message is probably suffering from `wrapping'. This
        wrapping may be being done by your newsreader; see if it has an
        option called `wrap long lines' or similar, and make sure it is
        turned off. If this doesn't work, then the wrapping was probably
        done by the news program of the person who sent the picture, in
        which case there's not much you can do -- everybody else will be
        seeing the same thing.

    *   If there are a lot of < and > symbols in the  picture, with
        words like HTML, FONT COLOR, B, I, and so on inside them, then
        the picture has been sent in HTML format and your newsreader
        does not understand HTML (most newsreaders don't).

========================================================================
[5]  What font do you use for ASCII art?
========================================================================
    ASCII art is created using a fixed-width font (like on a traditional
    typewriter), because this is the only way to make it portable.
    However, several Usenet readers now display messages in a
    proportional font (where different characters are different widths).

    The following two lines tell you which kind of font you're using.
    The arrow ends up in a different place for different font types and
    is right most of the time:

    You are using a [Proportional] [Monospaced] font
    ................................. --^--

    Also, to see what your program is doing, look at these two lines:
    iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii|
    WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW|
    If they look the same length, you're using a fixed-width font and
    all should be ok. If the second line is longer than the first, you
    need to change your settings to use a fixed-width font.

        In Netscape Messenger, this option is set in
           Edit > Preferences > Mail & Newsgroups.
        In Outlook Express, the option is set in
           View > Options > Fonts  (see Question 20)
        In Forte Agent, the option is set in
           Options > Display Preferences > Fonts
        and Free Agent, the option is set in
           Options > General Preferences > Fonts
        The AOL newsreader can not, at the time of writing,
        display Usenet messages in a fixed-width font at all.

    Detailed information on how to configure other Usenet readers is
    available at the:
      ASCII-Art Documentation Archive (see the beginning of this FAQ).
    If all else fails, copy the text of the picture from
    your program and paste it into a text editor (such as Notepad).
    It's a hassle, but at least you'll get to see the pictures.

========================================================================
[6]  What program do you use for ASCII art?
========================================================================
    You can create ASCII art in any text editor,     [jorn barger]
    such as: Notepad in Windows,
    SimpleText or BBEdit in MacOS,
    nedit, vi, vim, or pico in Unix,                   _+m"m+_
    BEd or AZ in AmigaOS, edit in DOS,                Jp     qh
    or any of the various Emacs editors.              O       O
                                                      Yb     dY
    A  'quick-start'  program  for learning            "Y5m2Y"
    is JavE, a free Java program, that can be
    obtained from:-          http://www.jave.de

    Some editors have features which make them more
    suitable for  ASCII art  than others, but that is
    largely a matter of personal opinion. Features which
    are both useful for  ASCII art  and  available in many
    text editors, include the following:-

    *   Overtype, also known as overstrike: removes the need for
        you to constantly realign characters using the  Backspace,
        Space, and Delete keys. Try the  Insert key if there is one
        on your keyboard,  or  your program's Options or Preferences.

    *   Rectangular copy and paste: allows you to select rectangular
        sections of text (not just rows or parts of rows). On programs
        which have this feature, it is usually done by holding down a
        key such as Ctrl while selecting text.

    *   Find/Change: allows you to change all the characters of one
        value to another (eg: change all the ~s to "s).

========================================================================
[7]  How do I draw my own ASCII art?
========================================================================
    Unfortunately, there aren't many text books on the subject. :-)
    A good way to learn is to study how someone has made a picture.
    What characters are chosen and how the characters are laid out.
    How a texture is made.

    ########:::::::::::########   The best way to learn is to Practise.
    #########:::::::::#########   Draw your cat, your toaster, your
    ##########:::::::##########   partner, your musical instruments,
    ###########,---.###########   anything that will sit still long
    ##########/`---'\##########   enough.  Practice makes, if not
    #########/       \#########   perfect, then at least pretty good.
    ########/         \########   Whether you do small drawings (less
    #######:`-._____.-':#######   work involved) or large ones (easier
    ######::::: ( ) |::::######   to make recognizable) is up to you.
    #####:::::: ) ( o:::::#####   If you're interested in tutorials,
    ####::::: .-(_)-. :::::####   there are many available from the
    ###:::::: '=====' ::::::###   ASCII-art Documentation Archive.
    ########################Mk#
                                           _
    A good way to begin drawing is to      \`"-.
    type a row of spaces for however        )  _`-.
    wide you want your picture, and        ,  : `. \
    then copy this row and paste it        : _   '  \
    for however many rows high you         ; *` _.   `--._
    think the picture will get.            `-.-'          `-.
    Turn Overtype on and place the           |       `       `.
    cursor  somewhere in the middle          :.       .        \
    and begin drawing. This can save         | \  .   :   .-'   .
    using  Delete, Backspace, Enter          :  )-.;  ;  /      :
    and Space-bar keystrokes.                :  ;  | :  :       ;-.
    Saving this empty  `canvas' as a         ; /   : |`-:     _ `- )
    read-only file for future use can     ,-' /  ,-' ; .-`- .' `--'
    save you even more time later.        `--'   `---' `---' bug

    Another method is by tracing a picture either onto clear-plastic
    and sticking it onto the screen then opening an editor to trace
    under or using an editor which allows the loading of a background
    image to trace over, a process known as `water-mark'.

    You can also modify existing art. Take a piece of art you think
    could be improved.  Make a copy.  Now work on it.  When you are
    good at that, try to improve a really good pic. Then see if you
    can fix a damaged file.  Now take some small pics and put them
    together into a big composite image.

    When drawing ASCII art be aware that there are a few characters
    that differ in size, shape and position among fonts:
    ' apostrophe -- tilts southwest-northeast or vertical
    ^ caret -- differs in size and shape
    ~ tilde -- appears in the middle or top
    I aye   -- straight line in sans-serif, with strokes in serif
               try using the vertical bar (|) instead.
    # hash  -- hash symbol on most, currency on some old computers.

========================================================================
[8]  Can someone do me some kewl lettering?
========================================================================
    There is a program called Figlet which does that sort of thing
    automatically -- you type in `Jane Smith', and you get back

        ___              __,
       ( /              (          o _/_ /
        / __,  _   _     `.  _ _  ,  /  /_
      _/_(_/(_/ /_(/_  (___)/ / /_(_(__/ /_
     //
    (/

    in this and a whole lot of other fonts (see Question 9).
    The ASCII art text produced by Figlet can be quite stunning,
    so try it first before asking for help from the newsgroups.

    IF, however, Figlet doesn't produce the kind of results you want,
    THEN post to alt.ascii-art or rec.arts.ascii with your request and
    ensure that you include:
    *    that you have already tried Figlet or don't have access to it
         otherwise you will probably just get told to use it.
    *    a description of the kind of lettering you want, along with
         any other symbols or logos which you would like incorporated
         into it.

========================================================================
[9]  Where can I find Figlet ?
========================================================================
    The Figlet home page is at:-   http://www.figlet.org/
    and links to the FTP site:-     ftp://ftp.figlet.org/pub/figlet/
    where you can download versions of the program or source-code
    for many different platforms.

    You can run Figlet on the Web by going to one of the following sites
    and choosing your text and options on the Web page. Different sites
    offer different options (e.g. multiple fonts at once, justification,
    and limited line length). Some of these sites also provide an e-mail
    Figlet service for people with browsers which don't support forms.

    *    http://schnoggo.com/figlet.html
    *    http://www.network-science.de/ascii/
    *    http://home.cern.ch/~rigaut/FigletJava.html
    *    http://software.hixie.ch/utilities/cgi/figlet/figlet

========================================================================
[10]  Can I copy or post that ASCII picture for myself?
========================================================================
       .
      / \                     Don't assume that if somebody posts
      | |                     something to a Usenet group, that gives
      |.|                     you the right to use it however you like,
      |.|                     copyright laws still apply.
      |:|      __             For more information, see the article:-
    ,_|:|_,   /  )            Copyright Myths FAQ:
      (Oo    / _I_             `10 big myths about copyright explained'
       +\ \  || __|           in news:news.announce.newusers.
          \ \||___|
            \ /.:.\-\         It is also available at:-
             |.:. /-----\     http://www.clari.net/brad/copymyths.html
             |___|::oOo::|
             /   |:<_T_>:|    Generally, ASCII artists don't mind
            |_____\ ::: /     if you copy their pictures and
             | |  \ \:/       re-post them or put them on your own
             | |   | |        Web site, as long as you don't
     [nosig] \ /   | \__      make any money out of them.
             / |   \____\
             `-'
    Here are a few important considerations:-

    *   If the picture contains a few letters in one corner which don't
        seem to be part of the picture, they're the  artist's initials.
        DO NOT remove these initials -- would you cut away the part of
        a Van Gogh painting containing his name?  Leaving the initials
        on is a small price to pay for being able to use the picture
        for free.

    *   If you're going to use a picture in your signature file, or in
        a place (such as a log-in screen) which means you're going to
        be using it a lot, you should really e-mail the artist (or post
        to the newsgroup, if you don't know their address) and ask for
        permission, because otherwise people may get the mistaken
        impression that you were the one who drew the picture.

    *   If you find a picture you want to use, or post, but it doesn't
        have initials on it, a common method of marking has been to use
        the tag: Unknown. More recently the tag: [nosig] has been used.

    As for posting other people's ASCII art,
    after a discussion in news:alt.ascii-art       _     ___
    the following rules were agreed upon:         #_~`--'__ `===-,
    1.  If an ASCII ART picture has initials      `.`.     `#.,//
        on it, leave them on when posting it      ,_\_\     ## #\
    2.  If an ASCII ART picture doesn't have      `__.__    `####\
        initials on it,  mention  that  you            ~~\ ,###'~
        didn't  draw  it  when  posting  it.              \##'
    3.  If somebody  posts a picture without                  [nosig]
        initials and you have an original copy
        with initials on, feel free to re-post the original version.
        *   The re-post ought not to be taken personally, as we all
            know that ASCII art often loses proper credits.
            Responses to the re-post are not necessary.

    One contributor, name of Krogg, suggested the following:

    1.) Ultra polite:...ya make yer own ascii and use it.
    2.)  Very polite:...Ya contact the author and ask if ya
                        can use it...
    3.)       polite:...Ya use it but you keep the Credits
                        in there like they should be.
    4.)         rude:...Ya use it and strip credits.
    5.)    Very rude:...Ya use it and claim that it Is
                        _Your_ very own creation...

    You choose ... I think the default choice is #3 but you should
    make up yer own mind....

========================================================================
[11]  What way works best to ask for a picture of something?
========================================================================
    Give your request the subject:  `REQ:' or `[req]'
    Whatever you're looking for a picture of, in the message describe
    more exactly what you're looking for. Generally, the more specific
    you are, the more likely you are to get some response.
    If you just say something like:
         `can someone draw me a fish, please'
    then you may not get many replies, because people may not know
    what size or feel they're wasting their time by drawing something
    you won't want. If you don't have Web access, mention this fact,
    otherwise you may get replies consisting only of URLs for the
    kind of pictures you're looking for.
    If someone is rude back to you directly, then please be patient,
    since it may just be a troll trying to wind you up.
          __
        .'  ))  __-:!:-                If you have a picture
          .'  .'  ))                   and want it Ascii-fied
        ((__,'  .'  .ASCII! -:!:-      see Question 14 and 15.
        -:!:- ((__,'^*

========================================================================
[12]  What should I know before posting to alt.ascii-art?
========================================================================
    It doesn't matter if your ASCII art isn't particularly good; we'd
    like to see it anyway. We won't be rude about it (although you'd
    better tell us what it is, or we might ask :-), but if it shows
    potential, you may find that other people will `re-diddle' it --
    change a few characters, make it a bit better, and re-post it.

    HOWEVER, there are a few things you should check before you
    post to news:alt.ascii-art any piece of ASCII art
    (see also Question 13).

    *   Are you sending it as PLAIN TEXT?
        Turn off "send MIME message" and select "PLAIN TEXT only".

    *   Is it under 72 characters wide? Most news readers can only show
        lines which are under either 72, 76, or 80 characters wide, so
        if your picture is wider than 72 characters it may get wrapped
        [see Question 4]. Also remove any unnecessary space characters
        from the end of each line of the picture, to prevent lines from
        being too long (and getting wrapped) without your realizing.

    *   If it IS over 72 characters wide?
        Then a warning in the subject line [wide:110] or whatever the
        original picture width and Check Your Post Output Line-Wrap
        settings.  [for Outlook see Question 20]
        Previous versions of this FAQ used a system to prefix posts
        such as: [pic] [info] [req] [big] which may be used as a guide
        when providing warnings.

    *   Have you used any TAB characters or Control Codes?
        Inserting control codes (ASCII characters 0 to 31) in a picture
        can sometimes achieve interesting effect on your computer screen
        or news reader, such as reversing text or changing its colour.
        DO NOT post any of these pictures to news:alt.ascii-art, post to
        news:alt.binaries.pictures.ascii instead for two reasons:-

        1.  the effects that the control codes have on your news reader
            are almost certainly going to be  different  from those on
            the thousands of other news readers that other people use

        2.  on some news readers, control codes can cause  messed up
            displays, messages not appearing, or (in some cases) the
            news reader crashing.

    *   If your first line starts with one or more spaces, stick a
        dummy line (such as -- or .) above it, to prevent the spaces
        from being ignored by your news program (this only applies to
        some news programs, and only to the first line of the
        message).

    If you're not sure about whether your message will turn out ok,
    post it to a test group (such as news:alt.test or news:misc.test)
    first and make sure that you can read it ok, also using a different
    newsreader, if you can.

    [See Question 10 for advice on posting someone else's ASCII art.]

========================================================================
[13]  What to NOT post to alt.ascii-art? [da roolz]
========================================================================
[13.1]            ASCII art is a very simple medium.

             /\       /    /\  /   /            /\  /\   /
             \/\ \   /\    \/\ \/\ \   \  \  __ \/\ \/_ /\
              \   \/   \ o  \    /  \/  \  \     \   \    \
            _  _                                         _  _
      ___ (~ )( ~)   The following List of Items       (~ )( ~) ___
     /   \_\ \/ /      should NOT be posted to          \ \/ /_/   \
    |   D_ ]\ \/         the Usenet groups:-             \/ /[ _G   |
    |   D _]/\ \                                         / /\[_ G   |
     \___/ / /\ \   news:alt.ascii-art                  / /\ \ \___/
     mark (_ )( _)  news:alt.ascii-art.animation       (_ )( _) JavE
            ~  ~    news:alt.ascii-art.endless.blabla    ~  ~

                    news:alt.binaries.pictures.ascii

        NOTE: alt.binaries.pictures.ascii supports posting of ASCII
            software tools or fonts (in ZIP format) and binary images
            of ASCII or other FontSet (in GIF format) and any other
            ASCII art related material, but no Spam, in relation to
            discussions in the alt.ascii-art newsgroups.
            Use the subject header: [abpa] for easy identification.

                      -= List of Items =-

    *   Binaries, Trojans, Zombies, Virus, Spam.

    *   ANSI,`extended ASCII' or `high ASCII', and non-Western font art.
        Post it to news:rec.arts.ascii (see Section[13.2]).
        Many computer systems have an extended character set of 256 or
        more characters, based on the ANSI, Unicode or BIG5 character
        sets and having the first 128 characters possibly identical to
        ASCII. These characters should not be sent to news:alt.ascii-art
        because many computer system types do not display them properly,
        even those that do, do not display them in a standard way, for
        example, the Windows ANSI character set is different to the
        Macintosh ANSI character set. Capture and send a GIF of it to
        news:alt.binaries.pictures.ascii or put it on a Web page and
        post a reference to it to news:alt.ascii-art.

    *   HTML (HyperText Markup Language) which Web pages are written in
        can be read by some Usenet readers, particularly those built-in
        to Web browsers, allowing colours and animations in ASCII art,
        however, few newsreaders support it and to many appears as a 
        jumble of  and are totally unrecognizable,
        If you have a picture which uses HTML for a particular feature
        such as colors or animation, put it on a Web page and post
        the URL address of the page to news:alt.ascii-art.

    *   JAVA, JavaScript, Flash, GIF or whatever animated ASCII art.
        This relies, not only on the newsreader being able to display
        HTML, but also being able to run Java or JavaScript.
        Put it on a Web page and post the address to
        news:alt.ascii-art.animation and news:alt.ascii-art

    *   Proportional Font ASCII art screws up on many readers' displays
        Post it to news:rec.arts.ascii (see Section[13.2]).
        Send a GIF of it to  news:alt.binaries.pictures.ascii or put it
        on a Web page and post a reference to it to news:alt.ascii-art
        

    Finally, do not use any control codes, non-ASCII characters,
    or word-processor-type formatting in your postings. These are
    particular to your editor or computer system they will almost
    certainly not have the intended effect on the systems the rest
    of us use (they may even crash some Usenet readers).


    ====================================================================
[13.2]  What can I post to rec.arts.ascii?
    ====================================================================

          /\  /   /     /\  /\   /  /    /\  /   /
          \/_ \/  \     \/\ \/_ /\  \/\  \/\ \/\ \   \  \
           \   \/  \/ o  \   \    \   / o \    /  \/  \  \

    The official charter for rec.arts.ascii, as sent in the newsgroup
    control message, is:

      The group news:rec.arts.ascii will be an appropriate group for
      postings to include, but not be limited to, the following:

      o  All forms of ASCII art including, but not limited to:
         -  Standard ASCII art.
         -  Animations.
         -  ANSI color graphics.
      o  Discussion about pieces of art.
      o  Requests for specific pieces of art, and their fulfilment.
      o  Questions and answers covering:
         -  Creating and viewing ASCII art.
         -  Locating FTP sites for ASCII art and related files.
      o  Discussion about artists in the field.

    rec.arts.ascii is a moderated group meaning that all posts are
    reviewed before being sent to the group. That work is done by a
    robo-moderator which filters Spam and checks the posts have the
    correct format before approving them.  It can also target a
    specific poster's traffic for human moderator approval.

    Subjects must be tagged either:
    [PIC] for pictures
    [REQ] for requests for others to draw pictures
          (people replying with pictures change the tag to [PIC])
    [DIS] for general ascii art related discussion and replies.
    [ADMIN] for the moderator to post important information.

    >>  NOTE: Please read:-

            http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/asciiart/guidelines.txt

    >>  for concise up-to-date list of permitted subject tags
    >>  and usage before posting.

    The robo-mod also checks that the posts are in PLAIN TEXT only,
    that line length is set to LESS than 80 characters UNLESS the
    phrase [long lines] is in the BODY of the post, when the LIMIT
    is then raised to 200 characters.

    Cross-posting is permitted provided that:
      o - it is to no more than three groups
      o - the followup-to header is set to only one group.
    Cross-posting to other moderated groups is NOT permitted.

========================================================================
[14]  I have a picture and I would like it Asciified?
========================================================================
    In this case, post a request to news:alt.ascii-art asking for
    someone to `asciify' it, but
            PLEASE DON'T POST THE PICTURE ITSELF
    to save downloading time for people reading the messages,
    if possible give the URL (Web address) of the picture instead.

    If you saw the picture on a Web page, you can find out its URL by
    right-clicking on it (on the Macintosh, right-clicking,
    Ctrl-clicking, or holding down the mouse button) and selecting
    `Open this image' (or its equivalent for your Web browser), then
    copy the URL from the Location bar to your news program (make sure
    you copy it exactly).

    If the picture is not on a Web site anywhere, put it up on your own
    site (if you have one), or get a friend to put it up on their site,
    and post the URL to alt.ascii-art. If you can't do this, post your
    request to the newsgroups and wait for someone to reply, then post
    the picture to news:alt.binaries.pictures.ascii or e-mail to them.

========================================================================
[15]  How do I convert a picture to ASCII art?
========================================================================
[15.1] programs:
    There are computer programs available which convert graphics files
    of a variety of formats (often GIF) to ASCII art. They go by names
    such as ascgif, gifa, gifscii, and gif2ascii.  Do a Web search for
    any of these programs to find places where you can download them.

    Try:
        gopher://twinbrook.cis.uab.edu/1A/atools.70
        ftp://ftp.simtel.com/.
        http://www.jave.de/.                         <== new

    Many think that you just put a GIF into a converter program and
    out comes a perfect ASCII pic.  Here are some things you can do
    to improve the chances of getting a good conversion:-

    o   Use an 8 bit grey scale or color image instead of a 2 bit B&W.
    o   Use an image with a wide, even distribution of tones.
    o   Keep it simple, like a face or close-up of an object.
    o   Avoid busy backgrounds.  Generally avoid bright backgrounds.
    o   Use an image that is tightly cropped, without a lot of waste.
    o   Be prepared to quickly run through a series of conversions,
        you will probably not like 9 to 11 out of 12.
    o   It helps to do touch-up work on the converted picture,
        concentrate on the focal points and important areas.

[15.2] tracing:
    Another method is by tracing a picture, either onto clear-plastic
    and sticking it onto the screen then opening an editor to trace
    under or using an editor which allows the loading of a background
    image to trace over, a process known as `water-mark'.

[15.3] image2html:
    There are computer programs and web-servers available which convert
    graphics files of a variety of formats (often GIF) to HTML colored
    TEXT art for use on web-pages. Do a quick search on your favourite
    web search-engine.

========================================================================
[16]  How do I put ASCII art on a webpage?
========================================================================
    HTML, the language used in Web pages, can display ASCII art using
    the "pre-formatted text" tags <PRE> </PRE> like this:-

    <HTML>
    <HEAD>
    <TITLE> Ascii art on a webpage
    </TILE>
    </HEAD>
    <BODY>
    <PRE>
        .----------------------------------------.
       :      __                                  :
       :   =='_))  __-:!:-     (your ascii here)  :
       :     ,.' .'  ))-:!:-                      :
       :    ((_,'  .'-:!:-                        :
       :   ~^~~~^~~^~~~^~                         :
        `----------------------------------------'
    </PRE>
    </BODY>
    </HTML>

    HTML can be used to add special effects such as colours, font size,
    and blinking text. For full instructions on how to do this see:-

    http://llizard.crosswinds.net/ascii-art/asciionpage.htm

========================================================================
[17]  What should I know about signature files?
========================================================================
    A signature file (or `sig' for short; not to be confused with the
    initials added to an ASCII picture) is a small, personalized text
    file which an e-mail or news program can add to the end of every
    message a person sends -- the equivalent of a letterhead for dead
    tree (paper) mail (or snail-mail). Usually it contains little more
    than the person's name, organization and e-mail address, maybe an
    inspirational quote of some sort and some people like to incorporate
    ASCII art into their signature files as well.

        _ _      _    _ _  _ ___ ___           \|/ ____ \|/
       | | | ___| |  (_) \| | __/ __|           @~/ ,. \[email protected]
       |_  _|___| |__| | .` | _|\__ \          /_( \__/ )_\ Mike
         |_|    |____|_|_|\_|___|___/[Figlet]     \__U_/    Jittlov

    The lack of importance in relation to global warming, violence in
    society, and so on, can be the subject of heated arguments. To be
    brief, (almost) no-one will complain if your signature file is four
    lines long or fewer -- and it is quite possible to draw good ASCII
    pictures which are that small.
                 _______________________________________________
        (@) (@)    `) There are a lot of web-pages on this with )
       ^  < >  ^    (   google search ascii sig.         _______)
          ===        `----Richard James-----------------'

    Some e-mail/news programs don't allow you to have a signature file
    which is longer than four lines, while others just complain. Five or
    six lines may be acceptable, but  any longer, and you're starting to
    take the risk that your signature will be longer than some of your
    e-mail messages; this wouldn't really make sense on paper, so it
    isn't really acceptable in cyberspace either. The exception is in
    messages posted to news:alt.ascii-art itself -- we're used to seeing
    long sigs, so we won't complain.

       -'*((,,.-'*((,,.-'*((,,.-'*((,,.-'*((,,.-'*((,,.-'*((,,.-

    But, no matter what the length of your signature, make sure it's
    fewer than 72 characters wide, otherwise it may end up a horrible
    mess (see Question 8).

========================================================================
[18]  What is ascii-animation?
========================================================================
    An animated image produced by a sequence of changing ASCII pictures.
    The speed will depend on the system you are using.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
     o   \ o /  _ o         __|    \ /     |__        o _  \ o /   o
    /|\    |     /\   __\o    \o    |    o/    o/__   /\     |    /|\
    / \   / \   | \  /)  |    ( \  /o\  / )    |  (\  / |   / \   / \
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Ascii-Animation transports vary a lot. The earliest known portable
    types used the Control-Codes of the (often .VT or .ANS) terminal
    screens for either `paging' or `direct cursor addressing'.
    Sometimes found as c-code in .sigs, which, when compiled and run
    produce moving patterns or images.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
                      o         _        _            _
           _o        /\_      _ \\o     (_)\__/o     (_)
         _< \_      _>(_)    (_)/<_       \_| \      _|/' \/
(_)>(_) (_) (_) (_) (_)' _\o_
----------------------------------------------------------------- -Animation uses Java or Javascript. * To find out how to animate ASCII art using JavaScript, see:- http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Marina/4942/faq_hta.htm http://llizard.crosswinds.net/ascii-art/animation/animlesson.htm * To find out how to animate ASCII art using Java, see:- http://www.jave.de/. http://www.jave.de/javeplayer/. ======================================================================== [19] What does ObAscii mean? ======================================================================== ObAscii = Obligatory Ascii Obligatory: [adj] compulsory (of a ruling) having binding force Ascii: [slang] ascii-art picture A funny way to remind people to put a drawing in their post. This means an ascii in every post! (especially off-topic threads) Failure to comply can result in flaming! This implies that if you don't include an ascii in your post you deserve to get flamed! ==================================================================== The concept of ObAscii has been around since the creation of the usenet group news:alt.ascii-art and it's purpose is to provide some on-topic content to an otherwise off-topic posting. ==================================================================== *NOT* The 1st ever! ObAscii : ==================================================================== From: Matthew Thomas [email protected] Date: Thu, 08 Oct 1998 13:50:09 +1300 Organization: University of Canterbury.nz (opinions are my own) ^ ,' \ [snip - 3rd party flame ] L""/ ` | BOLLOCKS!!! J | J L I am staying out of this as much as | | . , possible, Colin, because I really ... | | `v_L.' // ,>'--\'_ :. \`' \ - /-. [snip - rant/rave] / /`""| :. ),' `- ( ,-' \ Anyway, I think a lot of this ) ,' ,' h flaming would decrease if everyone / / / `)--.. was required to post a (different) \/ / \ <) obligatory ASCII pic in each message
< , L<' -- at the very least, it would slow
F/ _/ ,' the flames down.
L ,-' \
| ___L So, to start the trend, here's my
/ ( F
J ___,' L ObAscii: the Statue of Liberty.
| ,' |
F ,' |
(_,--..__ mt-2|_
,' `"`--.._\
,' / \
/ (_
[snip - .sig of Matthew Thomas] ======================================================================== [20] The ASCII Art Rough-Guide to m$.Outlook? ======================================================================== Microsoft's Outlook Express program has a number of flaws, including * deleting spaces from the beginning of lines, and * inserting the word `file://' in unexpected places which make it very difficult when using it for ASCII art. Whether these are bugs or features we don't know and a registry patch to fix some of the flaws in Outlook Express is available from the ADA. ==================================================================== How to get rid of blue-lines in OE5: 1. Press the decode button twice when viewing a blue-struck image. Because, after ROT13, OE will not parse links and so 2 x ROT13 returns everything back to normal, but without the blue lines. 2. Create a button in your toolbar so you can do it quickly. In OE 5.5-6.0 the URL parsing code is slightly better and doesn't foul as many images as previous versions. ==================================================================== How to stop Ms.Outlook giving wrapped output or the ascii-art you are sending is wider than 72 characters: 1. Tools menu 2. Options 3. Send 4. Both of these Mail and News format 5. Plain text settings ____ 6. Automatically wrap text at |____| ==================================================================== How to set your Outlook Express 6 to view ASCII art correctly: 1. On the TOOLS menu, click OPTIONS 2. Select the READ tab 3. International settings 4. "Use default encoding for all incoming messages" [tick] 5. Set the FONTS to display as western european. set both the PROPORTIONAL font and FIXED-WIDTH font to LUCIDA CONSOLE, and FONT SIZE to SMALLER 6. Click OK, then OK again. ==================================================================== How to set your Outlook Express 5 to view ASCII art correctly: 1. On the TOOLS menu, click OPTIONS 2. Select the READ tab 3. Click the FONTS button near the bottom of the box 4. For the languages UNICODE, WESTERN EUROPEAN and USER DEFINED set both the PROPORTIONAL font and FIXED-WIDTH font to LUCIDA CONSOLE, and FONT SIZE to SMALLER 5. Click OK, then OK again. ==================================================================== How to set your Outlook Express 4 to view ASCII art correctly: 1. On the TOOLS menu, click OPTIONS 2. Select the READ tab 3. Click the FONTS button near the bottom of the box 4. For the languages UNIVERSAL ALPHABET, USER DEFINED and WESTERN set both the PROPORTIONAL font and FIXED-WIDTH font to LUCIDA CONSOLE, and FONT SIZE to SMALLER 5. Click OK, then OK again. ==================================================================== NOTE : If LUCIDA CONSOLE is not available as a font, pick another from the list of available FIXED-WIDTH fonts. Examples of fixed-width fonts 1. ANDALE MONO commonly available with ms.windows: 2. COURIER NEW 3. LUCIDA CONSOLE 4. LUCIDA SANS TYPEWRITER 5. OCR A EXTENDED If you have followed the above steps correctly, you should now be able to view and create ASCII art as it should be. ======================================================================== [21] Where do I find ASCII art pictures, tutorials and information? ======================================================================== There are a number of ASCII art Usenet groups:- news:alt.ascii-art news:alt.ascii-art.animation news:alt.ascii-art.endless.blabla news:alt.binaries.pictures.ascii news:rec.arts.ascii are English-speaking ones that are widely used. alt.ascii-art [original ASCII art discussion group] alt.ascii-art.animation [is about animating ASCII art] alt.ascii-art.endless.blabla [an off-topic follow-up troll-trap] alt.binaries.pictures.ascii [ASCII art sofware/image drop-zone] rec.arts.ascii [primary moderated ASCII art group] Lots of ASCII artists put up libraries of their own and others' ASCII art on their Web sites, as well as tutorials on how to draw ASCII art: The DMOZ Open Directory Project ASCII art sites: http://dmoz.org/Arts/ASCII/. Allen Mullen has links to many of these sites at: http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/2695/links.htm. The Ascii-Art Dictionary at: The Ascii-Art dot com at: http://www.ascii-art.de http://www.ascii-art.com The Ascii-Art Document Archive (address as listed in the header) There is an on-line panel of experts at: The ASCIItorium http://www.ludd.luth.se/~vk/cgi/asciichat/ And webrings: http://artcode.org/ascii/index.php http://webring.org/ascii/ Also IRCascii.8bit: http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Marina/4942/ascii.htm http://www.bluedwarf.net/ (irc.bluedwarf.net#ascii) http://www.remorse.org/ (irc.efnet#ascii) ======================================================================== [22] Historacle: from the old-old FAQ v1.2 March 14, 1994 ======================================================================== What types of ascii-art are there? o Linedrawing - like stickmen o Lettering - like Figlet does o Grey scale pictures - These create the illusion of grey shades by using letters for their light emitting value. Here is an example of how they break down by light intensity: (Jorn Barger's light value scale) Darker .'`,^:";~ Lighter bright /|\ -_+<>i!lI? /|\ dark letters | /\|()1{}[] | letters on rcvunxzjft on dark | LCJUYXZO0Q | bright background \|/ oahkbdpqwm \|/ background Lighter *WMB8&%$#@ Darker o 3-D images - Can be viewable by people with similar vision in both eyes. You try to focus as if you are looking at the back of the monitor. The image should pop into focus and create a 3-D illusion. Other 3-D images are viewed by putting your nose on the monitor glass. o Geometric Article - Text is formed into meaningful shapes. o Picture Poem - A geometric article that is also a poem. o Page Making - Text and graphics are intermixed, as in a magazine. o Picture Story - A story told with accompanying ASCII pictures. o Color - You can view color ASCII pics, if you have a color screen and 'ANSI' color compatible software, or Web access using HTML. o Color Graphics - You can view color ASCII pics if you have color o Animation - take a look at [dead-link snipped] o Color Animation - take a look at [dead-link snipped] o Scroll Animation - This is an animation that is made to be viewed by scrolling down. The image plays out as the screen is redrawn with the next 'page' of the image. o Overstrike Art - It contains carriage returns without line feeds at times. The print head can overstrike a line on the paper that has already been printed on. This allows for darkening, and for placing different characters at the same place on the paper. This kind of art is obviously only printed. ======================================================================== [X1] -------------------THE ASCII ART FAQ TEN COMMANDMENTS------------------- \\\\`/// / _ _| 1. Thou shalt read the FAQ. (\'('\/') 2. Thou shalt not remove the ______/( >(__ initials from any ASCII art. /`- \ \_=__| `\ 3. Thou shalt not claim ownership / /__( _____\ _____ of someone else's ASCII art. /_ \.____ ," "." ",__ 4. Thou shalt read the FAQ. | / _\__/_ - / \ 5. Thou shalt ask permission \/ /____ \ASCII ART FAQ /// before using someone else's ) / / \__\ - | ASCII art. '-.__|_/ ///| I VI | 6. Thou shalt not sell someone \_ | | | else's ASCII art. | | II VII | 7. Thou shalt read the darn FAQ. \ | | | 8. Thou shalt not post someone / | III VIII | else's ASCII art without making \ | | | clear that you didn't make it. \_ | IV IX | 9. Thou shalt not assume that \| | | ASCII art isn't art at all. | V X | 10. Thou shalt read the FAQing FAQ. |______b'ger______| ======================================================================== |||| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |||| END O F T H E A S C I I A R T FAQ |||| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |||| ============================================================================ ASCII ART FAQ by Jorn Barger 11 December 1993 ============================================================================ ASCII ART FAQ by Jorn Barger Purpose: to promote more creative use of the ASCII character set on Internet, especially for _page layout_ and _animation_, and the development and distribution of tools to facilitate this. Justification: Ascii art will continue to be the appropriate, populist technology for graphics on Internet, for some years to come... so we might as well get good at it! (There's still lots of untapped potential...) There's such a range of newsreading environments, that few of the ideas offered here will work the same for everyone. If we want to do this right, we need to get a sense of where these differences are most serious. (White-on-black displays vs b-on-w, for one...) ****************** Contents of FAQ: ****************** - Samples of page-layout and animation - The ASCII character set: problems and potential - The line-draw character palette - Line-draw ascii fonts - Esthetics: texture, gesture - Greyscale character palettes - ASCII anti-aliasing - An 'asciify' algorithm for anti-aliasing pbm bitmaps, with sample This last topic may have the most *practical* utility-- it should allow archives of GIFs and JPEGs to offer compact catalogs of thumbnails *in the form of simple text files*. Thruout the faq, I'll be raising questions about things I don't know, that I'd like to be able to answer in future updates. Feedback is *very* welcome. Here's some samples of ascii page-layout: 1 9 9 3 The central |"| bargraph shows >>>>>>>> |m| < =--------- the total |m| 1 This rightmost bargraph, number of |"| |m| < . turned sideways, shows newsgroups, | | < |m| 2 . the *distribution* of daily log 10 | | 9 |m| < . volume for all newsgroups. (groups_total) | | < |m| 3 ] (msgs_per_group) (~5000) | | < |m| < ] |m| 6 | | 4 ]] Here, most newsgroups are >>>>> |m| < | | < ]] still way under 100 msgs This leftmost |m| < | | 5 ]]]] per day. One group in ten bargraph is |m| 3 | | < ]]]]]]] tops this level. a logarithmic |m| < | | 6 =--------- display of |m| < |_| 0 100 200 total Usenet |m| 0 msgs/day/group readership, |_| (subs_total) 5000 groups (~1,000,000) 1 million readers 1 9 8 8 1 9 9 3 1 9 9 8: the nightmare? (wild guesses) |"| |"| |"| |m| < =--------- |m| < =--------- |m| < =--------- |m| 1 |m| 1 |m| 1 ] |"| |m| < |"| |m| < . |"| |m| < ]] | | < |m| 2 | | < |m| 2 . | | < |m| 2 ]] | | 9 |m| < . | | 9 |m| < . | | 9 |m| < ]] | | < | | 3 . | | < |m| 3 ] |m| < |m| 3 ]] | | < | | < . | | < |m| < ] |m| < |m| < ]]] | | 6 | | 4 ] |m| 6 | | 4 ]] |m| 6 |m| 4 ]]]] | | < | | < ] |m| < | | < ]] |m| < |m| < ]]]]]] |m| < | | 5 ]] |m| < | | 5 ]]]] |m| < | | 5 ]]]]]]]] |m| 3 | | < ]]]] |m| 3 | | < ]]]]]]] |m| 3 | | < ]]]]]]]]] |m| < | | 6 =--------- |m| < | | 6 =--------- |m| < | | 6 =--------- |m| < |_| 0 100 200 |m| < |_| 0 100 200 |m| < |_| 0 100 200 |m| 0 msgs/day/group |m| 0 |m| 0 |_| |_| |_| 500 groups 5000 groups 50,000 groups??? 100,000 readers 1 million readers 100 million readers Current editors/ word processors assume that you want your text elements to hug the left margin, effectively a 'sideways gravity' that must be carefully counteracted. It's easy to screw up (which the warlorders call 'tabdamage'). If your wp offers typeover-mode, that's likely to work better than insert-mode, for preventing tabdamage. Here's a primitive animation (that also illustrates the use of lineweight to simulate depth). The protagonist is just a circle with a heavy ascii lineweight, abstractly representing a character named Joy Hoy: _+m"m+_ Jp qh O O Yb dY "Y5m2Y" The faster your modem, the nicer this works: ========================================================================== . :: :: .. : . .::::.: :: - :. :':::::.:::: /-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/ | :':'::.::::::.: - . , . . . | \- - :''::':'::: ... _/ | . . <^o^o^^o^> . . | ] \- -::'::'::.::/ | . <^o^^o^^o^^o^> , | : ..\:::':'::/ | . . <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> . | ] : .. _ -=_ | , H.:. /.../..:H . . | ] : ./ \ | . . . I://.//./ /::I , | ] :/ \ | . H:.: /.//...:H .. | ] / / \ \ | :. I.:/.//.//..:I .: . _+m"m+_ | ]/ / \ | . , H:../// /./::H . .. Jp qh | / \ \ | ., . I./:/../// .:I , . , O O ___|/ / \ \|____;__H:. ////:/./:H_________ Yb dY "Y5m2Y" / __________________ / __________ _______"_____ =======_=======_===_===__________ ========================================================================== ========================================================================== . :: :: .. : . .::::.: :: - :. :':::::.:::: /-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/ | :':'::.::::::.: - . , . . . | \- - :''::':'::: ... _/ | . . <^o^o^^o^> . . | ] \- -::'::'::.::/ | . <^o^^o^^o^^o^> , | : ..\:::':'::/ | . . <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> . | ] : .. _ -=_ | , H.:.//... ..:H . . | ] : ./ \ | . . . I://.//. //::I , | ] :/ \ | . H:.://.//...:H .. ] / / \ \ | :. I.:/./ .//..:I .: . _+m"m+_ / / \ | . , H:../////./::H . .. Jp qh J888888888888h | ., . I./:/../ //.:I , . , ______ O O / 88 \\\ \ \ \ 88 |____;__H:.// //:/./:H_________ Yb dY 88 \\\\\\ \\\ \ 88 "Y5m2Y" / 8 \\\\\\\\\\ \\ 8 _________________ / J888888888888888888h __________ ______"______ 8OO8XX [YBNNDY] XX8OO8 ==_======_====_===__________ ========================================================================== ========================================================================== . :: :: .. : . .::::.: :: - :. :':::::.:::: /-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/ | :':'::.::::::.: - . , . . . | \- - :''::':'::: ... _/ | . . <^o^o^^o^> . . | ] \- -::'::'::.::/ | . <^o^^o^^o^^o^> , | : ..\:::':'::/ | . . <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> . | ] : .. _ -=_ | , H.:.//.../..:H . . | ] : ./ \ | . . . I: /.//.// ::I , | ] :/ [==] \ | . H:.://.//...:H .. | ] / / [d==b]\ \ | :. I.:/.//.//..:I .: . | ]/ / " " \ | . , H:.. ////./::H . .. | / _+m"m+_ \ \ | ., . I./:/..////.:I , . , __________|/ / Jp qh \ \|____;__H:./ ///:/./:H_________ O O / Yb dY _________________ / "Y5m2Y" __________ _______"_____ =======_=====_=====_===__________ ========================================================================== ========================================================================== . :: :: .. : . .::::.: :: - :. :':::::.:::: /-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/ | :':'::.::::::.: - . , . . . | \- - :''::':'::: ... _/ | . . <^o^o^^o^> . . | ] \- -::'::'::.::/ | . <^o^^o^^o^^o^> , | : ..\:::':'::/ | . . <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> . | ] : .. _ -=_ | , H.:.//.../..:H . . | ] : ./ w \ | . . . I://. /.///::I , | ] :/ \ | . H:.://.//...:H .. | ] / / \ \ | :. I.:/.//./ ..:I .: . | ]/ / \ ' . , H:../ ///./::H . .. | / \ _+m"m+_ . I./:/..////.:I , . , __________|/ / Jp qh __H:./// /:/./:H_________ O O / Yb dY _________________ / "Y5m2Y" __________ _______"_____ ___===_====_======_===__________ ========================================================================== ========================================================================== . :: :: .. : . .::::.: :: - :. :':::::.:::: /-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/ | :':'::.::::::.: - . , . . . | \- - :''::':'::: ... _/ | . . <^o^o^^o^> . . | ] \- -::'::'::.::/ | . <^o^^o^^o^^o^> , | : ..\:::':'::/ | . . <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> . | ] : .. _ -=_ | , H.:.//.../..:H . . | ] : ./ \ | . . . I:/ .//.// ::I , | ] :/ \ | . H:.://.//...:H .. | ] / / \ \ | :. I.:/.//.//.. ! .: . | ]/ / \ | . , H:../// _+m"m+_ . . | / \ \ | ., . I./:/.. Jp qh . , __________|/ / \ \|____;__H:./ // O O ____ Yb dY / "Y5m2Y" _________________ / __________ _______"_____ =======_===_=======_===__________ ========================================================================== ************************* The ASCII character set ************************* The American Standard Code for Information Interchange supplies a character-assignment for each number from zero to 127 (7F in hexadecimal). As I understand it, Internet protocols are optimized for this seven-bit range--if you're trying to ftp an eight-bit-wide file, you have to specially request 'binary' transmission. (So the opposite of binary, here, is *ASCII*.) Only the numbers from 32 to 126 (20 to 7E hex) are defined as *printable* characters (the others are defined as control codes): 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F =-------------------------------- 2 | ! " # $ % & ' ( ) * + , - . / <- <- <- 20 hex is the 3 | 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 : ; < = > ? blankspace 4 | @ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O 5 | P Q R S T U V W X Y Z [ \ ] ^ _ 6 | ` a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o 7F is non-printing 7 | p q r s t u v w x y z { | } ~ <- in the US ("rubout") Unfortunately, this narrow standard ignored the needs of many other cultures: the British 'pound' sign, letters with accents in French and Scandinavian alphabets, etc., which led them to introduce slight modifications to the standard, making the following symbols (at least) non-universal: {^ ` { curly brace 1 ^ caret ` backquote #| } # hatch/hash mark | pipe } curly brace 2 ~\ ~ tilde \ backslash ]$[@ [square brackets] $ dollarsign @ at-sign [The test-graphic is vaguely a woman with a rose in her teeth, on my screen anyway...] Furthermore, even within the US, different typefaces assign significantly different shapes to some characters, for example: "|" (C7) is sometimes drawn as a continuous line, sometimes broken in the middle. [email protected] [email protected] (So this becomes a "^" (5E) may be anything from [email protected]@.. to [email protected]@.. 'Pinocchio' smiley: ....... [email protected]@. { ;^) Similarly with "<" and ">". ....... @[email protected] (...doesn't it?)) Depending on your character set, any of these may be the blackest black: @#%* (I'm often seeing people choosing "#", which on my screen looks totally blotchy.) Any of these may display at different heights: ~^*-=+ Lettershapes may have serifs or not, and ascenders and descenders may be straight or curved. (Proportionally-spaced fonts, as opposed to monospaced, are of course *hopeless*. On the Mac, I favor Monaco 9, for its simplicity. Courier is another normally-monospaced family.) Even monospaced fonts may display with different aspect ratios (v:h), at least within GUIs, which can turn circles into ellipses and squares into rectangles. Different newsreaders may space the lines differently, too, with the same outcome. (What was the IBM- monochrome aspect-ratio?) For Internet transmission, you can assume the display is 80 characters wide, although if you trim this a bit it will allow images to be e-quoted without wrap-around. (If you use all 80, can the CR cause wraparound in some pagers?) Normal screen height is 24 or 25 lines, but when you're laying out a page you should assume you'll use a control-L before and after each screenful of text, to maintain the alignment, and this turns out to limit the height to 22 lines. ********************************************* Line-draw vs. greyscale character palettes ********************************************* Most ascii art so far has leaned almost entirely on less than twenty of the available characters-- what might be called the 'line-draw' character palette: / \ | - _ = . : ' ` " ~ < > ( ) [ ] Here's a cute example of the potential of this palette, a pastiche that re-combines an incredibly cool self-portrait by Jonggu Moon and a state-of-the-art dragon (off rec.games.mud, I think, but I got it 2ndhand and missed the credit). Notice, though, how the lines are mostly the same weight, creating a flatness: _ __,----'~~~~~~~~~`-----.__ . . `//====-_ ___,-' ` -. \_|// . /||\\ `~~~~`---.___./ ______-==. _-~o~ \/ ||| \\ _,'` __,--' ,=='||\=_ ;_--~/_-'|- |`\ \\ ,' _-' ' | \\`. '-'~7 /- / || `\. / .' //// || | \\ \_ / /- / || \ / / ____ O-O--= | \\.`-_/ /|- _/ ,|| \ / ,-' ( ^ _/\_ --_ \ `==-/ `| \'--===-' _/` /\~-\/ \ `-| /| )-'\~' _,--~' /|`/ _ \_ \ '-~~\_/ | | `\_ ,~ /\ / | : U_/ / / \ \__ \/~ `\__ \(__:__ \_/ _,-' _/'\ ,-'~____-'`-/ ``===\ [email protected]===== ((->/' \|||' `. ~`-/ , _|| | | \_ ~\ `^---|__i__i__\--~'_/ / | | __-^-_ `) \-.______________,-~' / /| | //,-'~~`__--^- |-------~~~~~' | | | | //,--~~`-\ |__| |__| /#_) |#\ Tools for pasting clip-art *with appropriate 'hidden-line removal'* do not exist, so one must settle, for now, for a word processor with rectangular cut and paste. (Nisus on the Mac, MS Word in recent upgrades?) The animation sample at the beginning of this FAQ uses mostly linedraw, but also a bit of greyscale in the foreground (darker lineweight) and in the far-background (lighter weight). *Greyscale ascii art normally assumes you're displaying dark letters on a light background*. This won't be true for many pc-monochrome monitors. (Here's a page, again. Notice also how a degree of 'random noise' adds to the sense of realism, like avoiding using too-straight lines or too-symmetrical shapes.) ========================================================================== . :: :: .. : . .::::.: :: - :. :':::::.:::: /-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/ | :':'::.::::::.: - . , . . . | \- - :''::':'::: ... _/ | . . <^o^o^^o^> . . | ] \- -::'::'::.::/ | . <^o^^o^^o^^o^> , | : ..\:::':'::/ | . . <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> . | ] : .. _ -=_ | , H.:.//... ..:H . . | ] : ./ \ | . . . I://.//. //::I , | ] :/ \ | . H:.://.//...:H .. ] / / \ \ | :. I.:/./ .//..:I .: . _+m"m+_ / / \ | . , H:../////./::H . .. Jp qh J888888888888h | ., . I./:/../ //.:I , . , ______ O O / 88 \\\ \ \ \ 88 |____;__H:.// //:/./:H_________ Yb dY 88 \\\\\\ \\\ \ 88 "Y5m2Y" / 8 \\\\\\\\\\ \\ 8 _________________ / J888888888888888888h __________ ______"______ 8OO8XX [YBNNDY] XX8OO8 ==_======_====_===__________ ========================================================================== ************************ ASCII fonts (linedraw) ************************ Here's some ascii fonts that use only the linedraw palette. (I'd like to collect full alphabets for these.) Notice that they all use the underscore for the topline of the letters, so an almost-full line of blank must be left above them: ___ _ _ _ _ _____ | || |_ ___ _| ||_| ___ __ _| |_ / ___\ ___ __ ___ ___ | | || .\/ ._\/. || |/ ._\| \|_ _| | / __ / _ \ | / \ / _ \ |___||___/\___/\___||_|\___/|_|_| |_| | \_\ \ | __/ | /\ | | __/ \_____/ \___/ |_| |_| \___/ _ __ __ __ _ __ ___ __ __ ___ _ _ | |/ / / _| / _|| | / \ | __|/ _|/ _|| __|| \| | | ( ( (_ ( (_ | |_ | __ || __|\_ \\_ \| __|| | |_|\_\ \__| [] \__||___||_||_||___||__/|__/|___||_|\_| ___ __ __ ___ ____ ___ ____ _____ ___ _____ ___ ____ / \| | |/ \| \ / \ / ___| ___|/ \|_ _|/ \| | | =+= | =+= | =+= | =+= | =+= | \__ \| ___| +=+ | | | | +=+ | +=+ \___/|__|__|__|__|__|\_\__|__| |___/|_____|__|__| |_| |__|__|____| /\ ___/\___ ___ __ __(__) __ _______ _/ __/\ \/\ / \ | |/ ___\/ \/ ___/ \___ \_/ \/ _/\ \| _/ /| | \ / ____ _/ | \ \/ \ \_/ / \_ \| | | \ \/ _/ \ ___/\__|| \____/| |\__/__|__| \_ | \/ |____/ |__| |____/|__| /\ ___ (__)_____________ ___________ \ \/\ | |____ \____ \/ \_____ \ _/ \ | | _|/ / _|/ / _/\ \__|/ / \ \/ \| | \_ \_\_ \_\_/ /\_ \_ \__|| |__| |\___/ |\___/____/ |\___/ |____/ |__| |__| |__| Here's an especially readable box font (in tumbling-dice mode): __ ____ __ ____ __ __ /\ \ / \_\ / /\ / \ \ / |\ / /\ / \_\ / /\ |_| / / /| /\ \ \ / ||/ / / / /\ | |\ \/ /_/_ / / / \ \/ \ \ / |/ / / / \/ |_| \ __ \_\ /_/ / \ /\ \_\ / /| / / / /\ ./_/ \ \ \/_/_\_\/ \ \ \/_// / | / / \ \/ |_| \ \_\ /_/\ \ \_\ /_/ /|_/ / \__/_/ \/_/ \_\/ \/_/ \_\/ \_\/ And an impressively tiny one: ________ ________ / /_ __/\ /\ \__ _\ /___/_/_/\/ \ \___\_\_\ \___\_\_\/ \/___/_/_/ Warlorders call most ascii fonts "BUAFs", for butt-ugly ascii font. (buaG substitutes G-for-graphic.) I'm on the lookout for fonts that might pass for butt-beautiful, and I'll settle for butt-bearable... :^) Here's my new favorite (anybody know Jules?): _| _| _| _| _|_|_ _|_|_ _| _| _| _| _| |/ \|_ _| _| _| _| _| _|/ \| \|_|_/ \|_|_/ _|_|_| \|_|_| \|_|_/ For page-layout, the linedraw palette is useful for making boxes and frames, which adds to a screen's 'page-appeal' in the same way a picture-frame sharpens the look of a wall-poster. ********************* Texture and gesture ********************* I experienced a personal ascii-art epiphany last winter, on seeing a few signatures where people used this: _/ as a tile, which provides an amazing sense of *texture*: _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ Another (flatter) sort of texture: The same, randomized: *::*::*::*::*::*::*::* ::*:::::***::::::::::: *::*::*::*::*::*::*::* :::::::**::::::*::::*: *::*::*::*::*::*::*::* :*::*:*::*::::*::::*:: *::*::*::*::*::*::*::* :::*::::::*::*:*:::::: *::*::*::*::*::*::*::* ::*:*::::*:*:::::::::: *::*::*::*::*::*::*::* ::::::*:*::::*:::::::: *::*::*::*::*::*::*::* *::::::::**:::::::::** *::*::*::*::*::*::*::* ::::*::::::*:::::*:::: If your wp's macro-language includes a random-number function, you can generate textures by writing a 'Spatter' macro that fills a rectangle with the letters of any string, randomly scattered. _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ As far as I know, _/ _/ _/ the first appli- _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ cation to allow _/ _/ _/ _/_/_/ _/ the use of a mouse _/ _/ _/ to draw ascii _/ _/_/ _/ _/ *gesturally* will _/ _/ _/ _/_/ be Matt Mora's _/ _/ _/ _/ AsciiPaint (for Mac), _/ _/ now in beta. (Watch _/ for announcements.) _/_/ It made this easy: _/ _/ _/ ***************** ASCII greyscale ***************** ASCII art has its roots in the technology of *mosaics*. Most mosaics use small elements with a single, solid colorshade. By this standard, ASCII offers 95 shades of grey! (When I was small, a design firm in my town built a hi-tech mosaic mural for the Wright Brothers museum in Dayton, Ohio, a wall-sized version of that classic b&w photo of their first flight, built out of inch-square tiles in about eight shades of grey-- only instead of solid greys, they used (fractally) tiny black-and-white 'icons', which represented other scenes from the Wrights' career, covering a scale from very light to very dark...) Here's an approximate, partial greyscale ascii palette (still assuming white background): .'`,^:";~ -_+<>i!lI? /\|()1{}[] (I'm looking for feedback about where this doesn't work, rcvunxzjft for non-Mac-Monaco displays.) LCJUYXZO0Q oahkbdpqwm *WMB8&%$#@ (If an eighth bit were available to toggle the background color between black and white... would this help a lot?) Of course, more than eight shades of grey is probably overkill, not least because the lettershapes contribute so much distracting 'noise' that fewer is probably better. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@ @@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@ @@@@@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@ The more you @@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@[email protected]@ squint, the better @@@@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@ this looks! @@@@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@ Notice that it @@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@ uses only three @@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@ greys (or a @@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@ 'black', a white @@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@ and one grey.) @@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@ @@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@ [This example is @@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@ far from being @@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@ optimized, even at @@JJJJJ[email protected]@[email protected]@@@ this low res...] @@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@ @@@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@ (Aren't the J's @@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@ annoying?) @@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@ @@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@ @@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@ [email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@......JJJJJJ.......... [email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@..JJJJ....JJ.... [email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@..............JJ.... Here's the [email protected]@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@[email protected] same image [email protected]@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@JJ.. in negative, [email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@JJ.. for pc-monos: [email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@JJ.. [email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@JJ.. (The whites [email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@JJ.. just aren't [email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@JJ.. very white!) [email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@JJ.. [email protected]@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@JJJ.. [email protected]@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@JJJ.. [email protected]@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@.... [email protected]@@@@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@.... [email protected]@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@J.... [email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@JJ.... [email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@J...... [email protected]@@@@@@JJ...... [email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@........ [email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@.......... [email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@............ ********************* ASCII anti-aliasing ********************* The oddities of the ascii lettershapes, though, need not be purely noise. One can also view ascii as a palette whose elements combine both linedraw and greyscale effects. This might be thought of as anti-aliased greyscale, and ought to allow at least doubled resolution, both horizontally and vertically. (I wonder how this works on other screens?): (((&(&(&(&(&(((&@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@(((((((((((((((((((((((@ ((&(((&((&(&((@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&(((((((((((((((((((((@ (&(&((&(&&((@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&((((((((((((((((((@ ((&(&(@&@&@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&&(((((((((((((((@ &(((&&&@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@(((((((((((((((@ (&(&(@@@&&@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@5::""[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&((((((((((((((@ ((&(&&@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@:::::::[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&(((((((((((@ (&(&@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@#[email protected]@88b_::::::[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@((((((((((@ ((@&@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@#L""#[email protected]@@)::..8<"[email protected]@9>"[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&(((((((@ (@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@3::))::)@@::: :Yh":::::[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@m((((( @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@33:)::::(@@:::. :"?::::[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@(@((K(((( @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@3)::::::[email protected]@|::. ..::::[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@(@((@(((@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@3J)::::/[email protected]@|::.. ..:::([email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@((@@&((@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@3J)::::[email protected]:=).. .:::::@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&((((@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@33J):;;cO8::::.... :::::[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&((((@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@m888mme_=;:::[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&@(((@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@88OOOO:@@@88P":::::::[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@(@@@(@((@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@88OOJJ):::::::::::[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@(@@@(&((@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&&88888):::::[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@(@@@@((@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&&88888 @@@@@&&@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@(@@@&((@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&[email protected] [email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&@&8&8888833 88888&@@&@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@&@@ |@@@@@@@^^~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~^^@@@@@@@@| |@@@@@@^ ~^ @ @@ @ @ @ I ~^@@@@@@| |@@@@@ ~ ~~ ~I @@@@@| Here's a superb white-on-black |@@@@' ' _,[email protected]< @@@@| anti-aliased image I just got |@@@@ @@@@@@@@w___,[email protected]@@@@@@@ @ @@@| in the mail. |@@@@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ I @@@| |@@@@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@*@[ i @@@| |@@@@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@[][ | ]@@@| |@@@@ ~_,,_ [email protected]@@@@@@~ ____~ @ @@@| |@@@@ _~ , , `@@@~ _ _`@ ]L [email protected]@@| |@@@@ , @@[email protected]+ @@@ww``,,@[email protected] ][ @@@@| |@@@@, @@@@[email protected]@@ @@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@[ @@@@| |@@@@@_|| @@@@@@P' @@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@[|[email protected]@@@| |@@@@@@w| '@@P~ P]@@@-~, [email protected]@^'],@@@@@@| |@@@@@@@[ _ [email protected]@Tk ]]@@@@@@| |@@@@@@@@,@ @@, c,,,,,,,y ,[email protected]@[ ,@@@@@@@| |@@@@@@@@@ i @w [email protected]@@@@ @@@@@@@@| |@@@@@@@@@@`,P~ _ ~^^^^[email protected]@@@@ @@@@@@@@@| |@@@@^^=^@@^ ^' ,ww,[email protected]@@@@ [email protected]@@@@@@@@@| |@@@_xJ~ ~ , @@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@| |@@ @, ,@@@,_____ _,[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@| |@@L `' ,@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@| Here's a playful anti-aliased ascii font (3*3): ! i-, ,=_ :\ = - --= ,-, i i ! i ! / i \ / i=: :=\ : | ) |- |- | _ :_: : | =: : !""! j t |_) Y_- :=' o-= o Y-) ! ! i \-Y i \ =-- + + = : ,-, i- ,-, :-, ,-> ==- i i i i ! ! \ / i i <-= |\| [ ) :_) [ ) i_; "-, | | | \ / :/\: = ':' / : + "=" | "=t ! \ o_) ! "=" + ! ! j t ! o-= An anti-aliasing character palette should include these 'diagonals': JhjtY A new anti-aliasing algorithm! Happily, as I was working on this faq, I ran across Rob Harley ([email protected]), who had some handy code for converting b&w bitmaps according to a mapping like this: .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] @. @. @. @. @@ @@ @@ @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ , . _ - i v g - c i s = e z m [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] .. .. .. .. [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] @. @. @. @. @@ @@ @@ @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ ' ! / 2 ! ] / d / ( / K Y 4 Z W @. @. @. @. @. @. @. @. @. @. @. @. @. @. @. @. .. .. .. .. [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] @. @. @. @. @@ @@ @@ @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ ` \ | L \ \ ) G ! t [ b + N D W @@ @@ @@ @@ @@ @@ @@ @@ @@ @@ @@ @@ @@ @@ @@ @@ .. .. .. .. [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] @. @. @. @. @@ @@ @@ @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ .. [email protected] @. @@ ~ T 7 X V Y Z 8 f 5 P K * M A @ The most important factor in these assignments is not the letter shape alone, but the overall pixel density. On my Mac, these rows form an approximate greyscale, from 2 pixels per char, to six: 2 _ivc=!/|\~ 3 gjez2]/(YL\)t[+T7Vf 4 mdK4ZGbNDXY5P* 5 W8KMA 6 @ <-- remember, this choice varies widely: @#%&* Theoretically, these substitutions could turn 22*80 ascii resolution into 66*160. See rec.misc for the sourcecode and further details. Here's the output: i`it)v|[[[[(//s+)`(-\\/[email protected]@@@@@@dmKK(c!(/-[2=/cct/!-v\!_L\)| ]-!/(!-)\L\)v|c5(!,[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@dK/]!c\\\v|i\/cT\v((c- ]!`/v\//(-|t\[email protected]@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@bLt\\|)c/2-vv)/it\. --/-,\,\v\,|)/v/[email protected]@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@bK!v!-( )-!.[/cT //.\--'--|-/c([email protected]@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@s\\\\-||/v!c\. -,-|\`||\-\/[email protected]@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@b.),`-,-/c-`i !,\!-!-!'[email protected]@@@@@@P[+~**[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@b/./`c-/.\7- --'.-- -/,[email protected]@@*P!` \'[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@i.\\'.\.c ',`,`\'-,[email protected]@5`- -- `[email protected]@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@_\-|-\c- '. -.,`/[email protected]@K- ` - )[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@c-----/ - `- [email protected]@Ai [email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@b! \`|-` `-,'- [email protected]@@[, '[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@[/-,-/. -` .-/[email protected]@@A) -)[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@\' _\ - ` ,[email protected]@@! '-!([email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@[(/s[. - i\[email protected]@@Z- ' ! [email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@)(4)` , -|[email protected]@@@!\ ' ` |[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@XNYZ- [email protected]@@@A-, ' `)([email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@D)8A[ )[email protected]@@@@\ ,-'-/[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected][ ]][email protected]@@@d|- ,ii.c,, [email protected]@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@(@8[ [email protected]@@@@( .i!vGG_ [email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@[email protected] )/[email protected]@@[email protected]@dP~~~T4( [email protected]@7`[email protected]@@@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@LM8[ \[email protected]@@@@[email protected]@d*@@@bVi [email protected]@@@@@*ff/\[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected][ ,\\[email protected]@@[email protected]~t` !*~!`. -MA) '~'.).` `,'[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@AKb[ ,`[email protected]@@@@@ -`,,gvZ`` A//- ..c\+\` i][email protected]@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@8[ i\@[email protected]@@@D \!' [email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@[email protected]@@@8M[ [email protected]@@@@@ '!- '-)[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@M8i [email protected]@@@@- v , ,\[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@Z2| @[email protected]@@@[email protected][ // [email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@bmi @@[email protected]@[email protected]@@P- -=/. /[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[ @[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@\- . _)g2i -(([email protected]@@@@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@K[ @@@[email protected]@[email protected]@)i 'c,,[email protected]@bK )X)[email protected]@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@[email protected][ @[email protected]@@@@[email protected]/i- [email protected]@@@Mc .,\c=)[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@A[ @@@@[email protected]@@@@@('c\` PPK((,i]v|-\-v)[email protected]@@@@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@[ @@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]!--c)s_, ,([email protected]\`- .-N]/[email protected]@@@@@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@@@[email protected][ @@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@/- !''~~Vff*N5f -` -,\))[email protected]@@@@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@[ @[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@2-- ,,_JJ/i)/- |/v)[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@[email protected][ @@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@d!, 'VV\)\\)\7(-)[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@[ [email protected]@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@[email protected] `-\\/v)[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected][ [email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@m -)!/[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@[ [email protected]@[email protected]@@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@Ks ,-/[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected][ [email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@[ )[email protected]@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@[ ([email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@M[ [email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@[email protected]@@/[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@[ M/[email protected]@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@[|t*[email protected]@@@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@@[email protected]@@[email protected][ [email protected]@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@D.\'([email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@[email protected]@[ [email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@..-!/))ZK5AK4)AY(/XY/[email protected]@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@[ [email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@@@@@@L,-,\!]]\X(5)Z/7c\\t5/[email protected]@@@@@@@[email protected]@@@@@[ [email protected]@@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@@@@@@@KDLt! !,-|t'(-\\!,\/,\[email protected]@@[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@[ [email protected] =----------=- ,!. --=----=----=----=----=----=----=----=----=----=----= Jorn Barger j't Anon-ftp to genesis.mcs.com in mcsnet.users/jorn for: <:^)^:< K=-=:: -=-> Finnegans Wake, artificial intelligence, Ascii-TV, .::.:.::.. "=i.: [-' fractal-thicket indexing, semantic-topology theory, [email protected] /;:":.\ DecentWrite, MiniTech, nant/nart, flame theory &c! =----------= ;}' '(, -=----=----=----=----=----=----=----=----=----=----= ============================================================================ [ Note: There has been some reformatting of the text to make it fit within 76 columns to avoid linewrap, and, the sub-headings have been re-done to make them clearer. Otherwise the original text has remained unchanged. ] -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ASCII ART NOT LOOKING RIGHT? READ THIS! -------------------------------------------------------------------------- >>> If you can`t see what a picture is, take a read through this... -------------------------------------------------------------------------- First check... do the following two lines look the same length: MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM| IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII| If they don`t, you are using the wrong font... use one of these, making sure you have the right list for your system: Windows: FixedSys (Supplied with Windows) Courier New (Supplied with Windows) Courier (Supplied with Windows) Lucida Console (Supplied with Microsoft Win95 Plus!) Topaz New Monotype.com Terminal Lucida Sans Typewiter OCR A Extended OCRB Amiga: Topaz (In ROM) Courier (Supplied with WorkBench 2+) Pearl Siesta XEN (Comes with MagicWB) XCourier (Comes with MagicWB) ascii tiny AppleMac: Courier Monaco ZTerm Acorn: Corpus (in Resources) Homerton (in Resources) System (in Resources) [Taken from the MiniFAQ] If you can`t find any of the fonts listed, just try different fonts until the MMM line and the III line above line up. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Second Idea: Are you using Outlook Express? Microsoft, in their infinate wisdom, decided that noone ever needs a single space at the start of a line, so they made Outlook Express zap it when the message is displayed. In the following examples, assume the line of 'i' is the left margin, as if I used the true margin outlook express would just zap the lines! With a 'normal' newsreader: i ||||| i| o o | i| > | i| \_/ | i \___/ With Outlook Express: i||||| i| o o | i| > | i| \_/ | i\___/ Which of the above does the following look like to you? ||||| | o o | | > | | \_/ | \___/ If you _are_ using Outlook Express then I`m afraid there`s not much you can do about it... it`s hard coded that way. You`ll have to copy it to Notepad and put all of the spaces back in by hand. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Next: Does it have lots of words in pointed brackets, like and ? If so, it`s an HTML Rich Message, and since your newsreader doesn`t seem to support HTML, you`ll need to copy everything from the to the into a text editor or wordprocessor, and save it in plain text format with a filename ending in .HTM and view it in a web browser. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Does every other line look sort of ok to make a pic? It`s possible that you or the poster are experiencing Word Wrap, where long lines are continued on the line below... causing effects like this: Assuming the word wrap limit was set to eight (which is not likely, it is usually set to about 80) ...this: ||||| | o o | | > | | \_/ | \___/ would become this: ||| || | o o | | > | | \_ / | \__ _/ because when the lines reach column eight, they are 'wrapped' onto the next line. You may or may not be able to fix this. If it is *your* word wrap settings that are at fault, you can probably either turn off or increase the word wrap limit in your newsreader. However, if the wrapping was done by the newsreader of the poster, unfortuately there is nothing you can do and everyone will be seeing it this way. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- The next possibility is what we call 'Tab Damage', where the artist has used the TAB key instead of pressing space repeatedly. The reason this causes a problem, is because everyone can usually set the size of their tabs to any number, so if I made this picture with TAB setting of 8 characters, (and only used TAB on some of the lines) ||||| | o o | | > | | \_/ | \___/ it may come out like this with a tab setting of 4: ||||| | o o | | > | | \_/ | \___/ Yet again there`s not a lot you can do, apart from go through the pic and change all of the TABs into the correct amount of spaces. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- The artist may have used 'extended ascii' characters, or some sort of control codes. This is not the place to go into detail of what these are, but all you need to know is that these differ from system to system and can cause all manner of problems, from strange looking pics to crashed newsreaders. There is no fix, and if it crashes your newsreader, just delete the message. :o( -------------------------------------------------------------------------- If all of these things don`t apply to you, then you need to post a plea for help, stating which picture you are having problems with (if it is a specific pic) and make sure you say you have read and tried this file, or you will probably be told to read it. The final possibility I will suggest is that it is not your fault at all... and It`s just a bad picture! If this is the case, it`s the creator`s fault... you could have a go at improving it for them! Note that if you do, It`s common practice to add your initials/name to the picture in addition to that of the original artist`s, for example if you were jms and you were diddling a pic by mga, you would change the 'mga' to 'mga/jms'. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- PICTURE VIEWING HELP, WRITTEN BY MARTIN ATKINS LAST UPDATED THURSDAY JULY 13th 1998 --------------------------------------------------------------------------