ASCII art and pictures: programs, generators and tips

ascii_google.png Web geeks got all excited recently thanks to the discovery of a Google Easter egg – if you search for the term ‘ascii art‘, the Google logo turns into an example of what you’re searching for – cool, eh?

Even if you have heard about this particular Google gift, you might not have been absolutely sure what it referred to. ASCII art is a type of graphic art that involves making pictures and designs from ASCII character coding, in other words, making art using the characters on your keyboard. You’ll probably have seen it around the web before, but what you might not have realized is that it is entirely within your reach!

Whether you are creatively challenged or an artistic maestro, there is a method for you. If you fall into the first group, you can skip the hard bit and download yourself a nice little generator that will do much of the work. Ascgen, for example, is a tool that allows you to upload any image and produce an ASCII version within seconds. You can then edit the image until you are totally happy with it, and voila – you have your first ACSII masterpiece!

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Textaizer is not strictly an ASCII program, but it does give you results that are very similar to one and, more importantly, it is very modifiable. This program also allows you to upload your images, but you have the added advantage of being able to specify the text you want to use to make the image. This means, for example, that you could use your name to create an ACSII image of yourself – very cool!

If you are the more creative type, you won’t need a program at all. In its most raw form, ASCII just requires a computer, keyboard and a text editor (such as Windows NotePad or something more advanced such as these) – not exactly what you would call complex. Many experienced ASCII artists suggest that the best way is just to begin experimenting, but it takes a while to master. If you feel that you’d like a little guidance on the road to ASCII fame, there are a wealth of online tutorials to help you on your way. Check them out here, here and here.

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