Author Topic: Text to ASCII Art Generator is a online text conversion tool text to ASCII Art  (Read 3556 times)

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Text to ASCII Art Generator is a an online text conversion tool for changing ASCII text into ASCII pictures.

What this is: An online text conversion tool for changing ASCII text into ASCII pictures. The output can be used to decorate emails, online profiles, IMs, video game walkthroughs, geek t-shirts, text drawings, text links, text reminders, text readers, text messaging type stuff, banner art, code comments, etc etc - basically, whatever you can think of. These are just some ideas.
How to use: Unlike most text conversion software, instead of two steps (entering text and hitting a button), here all you have to do is enter text into the textbox in the top panel and your output will be generated as you type.

What are FIGlet Fonts? What are AOL Macro Fonts?

FIGlet Fonts: You can get the full story there. In a nutshell though, in the early 90's, a group of people came up with the idea of creating ASCII Art text. They created a standard font format for the art and a program that would allow you to create your own fonts and type in other people's fonts. The phenomena spread and 100's of people created ASCII Art FIGlet fonts. These fonts make up the bulk of the fonts you see in this program. They are created with monospaced text, and they should look good in any font size. If you want to create your own FIGlet font, JavE is a good freeware program that will allow you to save your work in the FIGlet font format.

AOL Macro Fonts: In the late 90's, little hacking programs known as "proggies" became popular in the underground warez scene of AOL (examples: AOHell and Fate-X). As these programs became more popular, many begain to feature "Macro Shops", which were ASCII Art development areas. The user could develop their own ASCII Art and then scroll the text in an AOL chat room. Most "Macro Shops" included a feature that allowed the user to type in large ASCII Art text. These fonts had no connection to FIGlet fonts, and since they were developed for AOL, they were made to look good in point size 10 of the Arial font (which AOL used at the time). This was a non-monospaced environment, so these fonts were harder to create and they do not look good in anything outside that point size and font. They also may appear different on different computers. Back in the day I always thought these fonts showed a remarkable amount of artistic talent and they are what inspired me to write this program (though after discovering FIGlet fonts, I find many of them to be just as good if not better than the AOL fonts). I did my best to track down as many of the AOL fonts as I could. What you see listed here is what I was able to find (they were remarkably hard to find - and I thank everyone who helped me out!). If you like the AOL ASCII Art style, you can find more of it at these links:'s AOL ASCII Art Gallery; Remembering Pepsi.

"Featured FIGlet Fonts" vs "Regular FIGlet Fonts"?
There are so many FIGlet fonts that I thought it might be advantagous to group the top ~15% of them in one area. This grouping was based on my own opinion, feed back from users, and what I'd seen used on the net. I felt this might be a good way to highlight certain fonts and to hook the causal visitors into checking out more fonts before surfing off elsewhere. If you enjoy the fonts, be sure to browse through all of them, as there are tons of good ones that aren't listed in the featured section. In fact, I kind of agonized on what should go in that section, and slimmed it down some since I didn't want to divide things up too much.

What is "Character Width" and "Character Height"?
These apply to FIGlet fonts only. FIGlet fonts can be designed to allow characters to overlap or be "smushed" together. The font designer controls the type and level of overlap. You can override the font author's default design by changing the settings for "Character Width" and "Character Height". Below is a description of the various choices.

    "Full" - No character overlap.
    "Fitted" - Characters are moved toward each other until they almost touch.
    "Smush (U)" - Universal Smushing. Smushing moves two characters toward each other until their edges overlap by one character. In universal smushing, the latter character's edge overrides the former's edge.
    "Smush (R)" - Rule-Based Smushing. Similar to Universal Smushing except the smushing is based on a set of rules (5 for vertical, 6 for horizontal). These rules allow font authors more control over how their letters are smushed. When you select this option from the dropdown, it turns on all possible smushing rules. Font authors can pick and chose which rules to turn on or off, so this option may produce different results than the "Default" option if the font author has chosen to use Rule-Based Smushing.
    "Default" - The character overlap the font author originally intended for the font.

Didn't this used to be called "Text Ascii Art Generator"?
Yes. I originally couldn't think of a name for the app, and I thought ASCII Art of pizza is called "Pizza ASCII Art", so what this app generates should be called "Text ASCII Art". However, the name was a little awkward, and I noticed some people were calling it "Text to ASCII Art Generator" (I guess they assumed I forgot a word). When I saw this I realized that was a better name. While coding up version 2.0, I decided to rename the app to add in the "to" and to capitialize the "ASCII" part.

TAAG Reboot
Posted on June 7, 2012 by patorjk   

The HTML Frameset tag is officially obsolete in HTML5. Since their inception, frames have drawn the ire of many web designers, though I’ve always had a soft spot for them. When I first learned how to use the frameset tag back in ’98, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I was able to do all sorts of trickery with it, like creating an online midi player and storing data between page loads. When I heard people go on about how they sucked, I ultimately knew they were right, but I felt like they were throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Times have changed though, and as HTML has evolved, the gap framesets filled has been replaced by better technologies. Knowing their fate was sealed, I decided to overhaul the one app I had here that was still using them – the Text to ASCII Art Generator (TAAG)*. The new version was written from scratch, but with the aim to keep the same look-and-feel. This time around I also wanted to implement the full FIGfont spec, which surprisingly has a lot to it.

The main part of the spec that I didn’t implement last time was the vertical layout rules. These rules allow font authors to “smush” letters together vertically. Below you can see an example done in the “Standard” font.

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

This can be fun to play around with, but it’s not always what you want. Therefore, I decided to also allow users to control which horizontal and vertical layouts they wanted a font to use. Exploring what layout looks best is actually kind of fun.

The other main part of the spec I left out last time was the loading of non-standard letters. Most fonts don’t implement characters outside the normal ASCII range, but the FIGlet spec allows authors to define whatever unicode character they want, and some fonts implement quite a few extra characters. For fun, I went ahead and added unicode character #3232 to a few of the fonts, so that people could make a FIGlet look of disapproval:

   _____)        _____)
  /_ ___/       /_ ___/
  / _ \             / _ \ 
 | (_) |           | (_) |
  \___/ _____ \___/ 

I’m probably too easily amused. Anyway, there are quite a few other updates, but if you’re interested you can read about them here.

I’ve also decided to open source the JavaScript FIGlet driver I wrote for this app. There were no other open source full-spec implementations of FIGlet that I could find, so I figured it could be useful.

Latest rebuild:
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