ASCII Art - An Enduring Internet Treasure
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 universally accessible. Perhaps that's why ASCII artwork is one of my all-time favorite computer topics.
I'm revisiting this topic because many of the websites that are home to this important part of Internet history are disappearing.
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, 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 via 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.
And let's not forget the Internet Tourbus logo, which was featured in the Tourbus newsletter starting in 1995.
_________ ____________ ________ __________ _____________ ___ _ / | / | | / | \ | "Why | Surf When / You Can | Ride The | Bus?" / | \ |__________|__________/__________|__________|___________/ | \ / /______|----\ | T h e I n t e r n e t T o u r B u s | | | | http://InternetTourbus.com | | | \________________________________________________________|______|____| / \ / \ / \ \___/ \___/ \___/
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 ::
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. :-)
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 his website, it was offline. But many of his ASCII movies are still available via the Wayback Machine's archive.
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:
- LG Beard's Weird Wonderful Wacky World of Ascii Art
- Famous Paintings (and many other ASCII art categories)
- The Great ASCII Art Library
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...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 1 Feb 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- ASCII Art - An Enduring Internet Treasure (Posted: 1 Feb 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved