ASCII Art - An Internet Treasure

Category: Cool-Stuff

Long before the graphical Web, people were creating computer images that required no special hardware or software to view. ASCII art is composed only of plain text characters, and can be sent by e-mail without attachments. Take a stroll into Internet history, enjoy some ASCII art, and learn how to make your own...

Keepin' It Simple...

I like the idea of delivering high tech stuff in a low tech medium. Aside from being immune to viruses, worms and web bugs, plain text is the way Al Gore intended email to be. Perhaps that's why ASCII artwork is one of my all-time favorite computer topics.

The term ASCII refers to a standard set of characters that are supposed to display the same on any computer. ASCII art is a unique form of expression ranging from the simple to the very complex. Using only the characters on your keyboard and some creativity, you can create images that are cute, funny or intricately beautiful.

SMILIES

ASCII Art

Smilies, sometimes called emoticons, are the most basic form of ASCII art. Smilies are textual representations of emotions that people commonly use in their e-mail. They're one way to express feelings in the otherwise emotionless world of e-mail. When you see a bunch of dashes, parentheses, and other punctuation marks that don't seem to make sense, try turning your head sideways. Smileys like the ones in the list below, are great ways to overcome the impersonal nature of the electronic medium.

:-) Smile       ;-) Wink       :-( Frown

These are the most common smilies, but there are dozens more. Check out the Unofficial Smiley FAQ.

COWS AND OTHER STUFF

One favorite subject of the ASCII artists is animals. Many people use them in e-mail or Usenet signature files just for fun. The eagle and the cat below are classic examples.

     /     \  __  /    ------
    / /     \(  )/    -----
   //////   ' \/ `   ---
  //// / // :    : ---
 // /   /  /`    '--
//          //..\\
       ====UU====UU====
           '//||\\`
             ''``
                        ("`-''-/").___..--''"`-._
                        `6_ 6  )   `-.  (     ).`-.__.`)
                        (_Y_.)'  ._   )  `._ `. ``-..-'
                      _..`--'_..-_/  /--'_.' ,'
                     (il),-''  (li),'  ((!.-'

There are also quite a few people who enjoy portraying cows ala keyboard. I've seen some hilarious ASCII cows, like these floating around in cyberspace.

          (__)
          (oo)          When cows laugh really hard,
   /-------\/           does milk come out their nose?
  / |     ||
 *  ||w---||
    ^^    ^^
                (__)
                (oo)    Mathematical Cow
       /---------\/
      / | x=a(b)||
     *  ||------||
        ~~      ~~

If you need a good chuckle, visit David Bader's COMPLETE GUIDE TO COWS, which is a large collection of ASCII cows, dating back to 1991.

FIGLETS

A figlet is a way to make large letters out of ordinary text. A program called FIGLET can use a variety of special effects to create text

| (_) | _____  | |_| |__ (_)___
| | | |/ / _ \ | __| '_ \| / __|
| | |   <  __/ | |_| | | | \__ \
|_|_|_|\_\___|  \__|_| |_|_|___/
  _   _     _   _   _   _
 / \ / \   / \ / \ / \ / \
( o | r ) ( t | h | i | s )
 \_/ \_/   \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/

You can learn all about figlets and create your own by visiting the FIGLET website.

ADVANCED ASCII ARTWORK

       .      .'
          :`...' `.,'  '
      `.  ' .**.  ; ; ':
      ` ``:`****,'  .' :
    ..::.  ``**":.''   `.               The examples so far have
  .:    `: ; `,'        :               been pretty basic, but there
    `:    `   :         ;               are ASCII artists who produce
      :   :   :        ;                some pretty amazing images.
      :    :   :     .:
       :    :   :..,'  ``::.
       `....:..'  ..:;''
        .:   . ...::::                  This rose is just one example
       ,'''''``:::::::                  of the work you can sample
                 `::::                  at the Signature Museum.
                   `::.
                    `::
             . ,.    ::::'      ,..
           .'.'  ``.  ::      .'.. `.
         '        .: ::    ,'.'     .
        .' ,'    .::::::   ,.'    .:::.
      .' .'  ..:'     ::: .,   .;'     ~
     ,;::;.::''        ::.:..::'
    ~                  ::;'
                       ::               The ASCII Art section there
                     ,:::               has pages devoted to
                       ::.              Animals, Christmas, Easter,
                        ::              Flora, Love. Misc, Music
                        ::              and People.  Find it at
                        ::

http://www.mwpieter.dds.nl/sigs

ASCII MOVIES

This next site is truly asciimazing. It's a condensed version of the original Star Wars movie, done with ASCII animation. STAR WARS in ASCIImation is achieved by displaying frames of painstakingly composed ASCII text one after the other. You MUST see this one, and of course "The Death of Jar Jar" as well. :-)

Roman Messmer in Switzerland has taken ASCII art to a whole new level -- ASCII Movies. Messmer has created scenes from The Matrix, Spiderman, The Terminator, Harry Potter, Nemo and others in stunning asciimation. When I last checked this site, it seemed to be either down or in flux. But at least one of his ASCII movies is still available. See The Incredibles for an example of this genre.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE

If you thought those were kind of nifty, you will be amazed at the ASCII images you can find hidden in the corners of the web. Many of them are in COLOR and incredibly detailed. Here's a sampling of what you'll find:

ROLL YOUR OWN

Wanna learn more about ASCII art? See the ASCII Art Dictionary. You'll find info on the various styles of ASCII art, how to create your own, and links to some other fun ASCII art pages. Have a little fun with ASCII art. It's a wonderfully rich, low-tech, and very accessible medium to express yourself!


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

ASCII art is one of the treasures of the early days of the Internet. I hope you've enjoyed this topic, and will pass along the link to others! Do you know of other ASCII art websites? Post your comment or question below...

 
How Else Can I Help You?   (Enter your question in the box above.)
 

Sign up now for AskBob Updates!

Boost your Internet IQ, keep up with the latest online trends... get your FREE subscription now!


Email:


Posted by on 24 Aug 2011


For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.
Need More Help? Try the AskBobRankin Updates Newsletter. It's Free!

Prev Article:
Personal VPNs for Anonymous Web Surfing

The Top Twenty
Next Article:
Should You Update Your Drivers?

Link to this article from your site or blog. Just copy and paste from this box:


Most recent comments on "ASCII Art - An Internet Treasure"

Posted by:

Mike
26 Aug 2011

You forgot the squirrel and tourbus logos from long ago. Yes, I've been a subscriber that long ...


Posted by:

D V N Sarma
27 Aug 2011

Bob
I remember there used to be one site which rendered old masters" paintings in ascii with colors.


Posted by:

Angel R.
27 Aug 2011

This IS cool stuff!!! Amazing...

8-)


Posted by:

K
09 Dec 2011

Hi Bob,

I'm using mutt e-mail client and as a signature I incorporated a piece of ASCII art. The problem is that whenever I send an e-mail to a yahoo address, the picture does not look as expected (it is correctly displayed in vim/emacs on my computer, but not in the e-mail box of the recipient). On the other hand, if I want to compose a message from yahoomail and copy/paste the ASCII drawing into the composer, it is displayed normally.
Any help is appreciated,
thank you


Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions

*     *     (* = Required field)

    (Your email address will not be published)
(you may use HTML tags for style)

YES... spelling, punctuation, grammar and proper use of UPPER/lower case are important! And please limit your remarks to 3-4 paragraphs. If you want to see your comment posted, pay attention to these items.

All comments are previewed, and may be edited before posting.

NOTE: Please, post comments on this article ONLY.
If you want to ask a question click here.


Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
RSS   Add to My Yahoo!   Feedburner Feed
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy -- See my profile on Google.


Article information: AskBobRankin -- ASCII Art - An Internet Treasure (Posted: 24 Aug 2011)
Source: http://askbobrankin.com/ascii_art_an_internet_treasure.html
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved

 
Free
Newsletter
Get the FREE  "AskBob Updates" newsletter!       Email:    (Details)