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Google Art Creator 170

Li0nHeart writes: "Remember ascii art? It's still there, and Google is helping them out. Because Google colorizes search-terms you can make very interesting ascii art in the groups." Here is a website dedicated to creating this art and some examples.
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Google Art Creator

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  • by Forge ( 2456 ) <> on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:16PM (#4009208) Homepage Journal
    Whoever created this site is in serius need of a real job or a demanding girlfriend.

    Some people just have way too much time on their hands.
  • by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:20PM (#4009219) Homepage Journal
    ... is how long until the goatse ascii image tunrs up?
    • I've been seeing it in various IRC channels for a long time now.

      I haven't decided who's sicker.. the original site, or whoever went and made an ASCII version of it...

      • I've been seeing it in various IRC channels for a long time now.

        I haven't decided who's sicker.. the original site, or whoever went and made an ASCII version of it...

        It was popular on /. some years ago to, until the lameness filter started being /really/ limiting, which also unfortunately cut out the opportunity for legitimate ASCII art. :(
  • by acceleriter ( 231439 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:22PM (#4009230)
    that [] is a hack. Absolutely without a worthwhile purpose, an intellectual exercise that has taken something designed for one thing and perverted it for another purpose entirely. Five stars!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Granted, it's a cool idea and nicely implemented, but does anyone else think this isn't really ASCII-art? I mean, what's the difference between aa ae ao bart and a very low res color bitmap? ASCII-art uses the shape of text mode characters to form the image, not color. If it's not white on black or black on white then it's cheating.
      • this is really more like ANSI art than ASCII..
        though i still consider ANSI to be a great art form.
      • Actually, when I saw those pictures, it kind of made me wish Google allowed searches to include symbols (and other short items that normally get filtered out). It would be really cool to create ASCII art that looks good with or without Google (and an even better hack to create something that appears to be one thing without Google and something completely different after it's been colored).
      • Agreed. Reminded me of low-res Apple ][ graphics. Clever on the part of whomever thought it up!

  • This is creativity... so simple, yet so clever. I like it :)
  • Going to the main site [] (broswer experiments), you can quickly find yourself face to face with an online version of that Microsoft paperclip thingy []. Great.
  • special groups?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:27PM (#4009245) Homepage Journal
    is there gonna be somehting like on the near horizon??
  • by Heraklit ( 29346 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:27PM (#4009249) Homepage Journal
    Well, since the google admins even let you see all the interface messages in Klingon [] or Elmer Fudd [] if you like, they might just love the idea... :-)
  • With all the discussions on the FC mailoing list about the art work not fitting together, this should be a great standard for every body to follow, with buy an expenive 3D modeler or Photshop!
  • aalib (Score:4, Informative)

    by funkhauser ( 537592 ) < minus physicist> on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:30PM (#4009260) Homepage Journal
    I think aalib [] get's my reward for geekiest thing ever. I mean, it took ascii art, which is in itself pretty geeky, and single-handedly made it completely obsolete. You can render anything with aalib, your pr0n included, and it comes out as beautiful ascii art. What more could you ask for?
    • aalib is great, i just wish it had color though.
      • Isn't that left as an excerice for the reader? Somebody should hack in colour support in aalib.

        No, not me. I don't know enough C (-8
    • Re:aalib (Score:2, Interesting)

      Everyone should have a look at bb, a demo for the aa library. It's quite impressive! It is several minutes long, and features incredible things such as mandelbrot fractals! It also shows several of the aa lib features, such as anti-aliasing, random snow-like noise, dithering, etc.

      Chances are it's installed on your distro (if you use a majort one). Just type "bb". It has several modes, including the X (as in XC Window) mode. It even has sound!

      First time I discovered it we were a dozen in the lab, staring in amazement at the screen and calling colleagues over to see it :)
  • by silverhalide ( 584408 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:32PM (#4009267)
    IMO, the best thing from the BBS days was the top-notch ANSI art -- the stuff that took baseline ASCII and added ANSI color and extended characters to make some really cool stuff. Some of those guys could create some amazing images (anyone remember iCE, ACiD, and all those groups?). Actually, iCE is still around and cranking out some top-quality ANSI -- []. Check 'em out, pretty impressive.
    • Ah, yes, and the ANSI animations - quite possible because of the tediously slow data transfer rates of the day. On the BBS we ran, The Igmeister Zone, we spruced up the code so every once in awhile when the user least expected it, an ANSI animation of the Energizer Bunny [] would come marching across the screen - of course right around the time they came out with the bunny.
      • ANSI animation of the Energizer Bunny
        Although it wasn't an animation per se, I remember using a huge, scrolling picture of the Energizer Bunny as my board's logoff screen. I had probably borrowed it from an <ACiD> art pack. (ANSi Creators in Demand.)

        ACiD, iCE and the myriads of smaller groups were probably best known for making ANSI ads for "elite" boards. That was the term used for a BBS carrying pirated software... Sadly, this reminds me that people were already pirating programs online -- back in the days when 2400 baud was considered high speed.


      • we spruced up the code so every once in awhile when the user least expected it, an ANSI animation of the Energizer Bunny [] would come marching across the screen

        This reminds me of NetBunny [] an old Mac system extension that if installed on a group of macs on a LAN would send the bunny marching across the LAN moving from screen to screen.
    • There's also an ancient app called "ACiD Draw" ... I have a copy lying around somewhere; works great :] I think it can still be found from Google, but I haven't looked in ages...
      • TheDraw will always remain the best ANSi editor of all time.
        • Wrong. Thedraw's only supported 25line Ansi, or was it 50? AcidDraw had a 1000 line limit, along with almost all of TheDraw's features. It would even let you view the ANSI as a GIF, meaning it would basically just raise the resolution on the picture. It was pretty sweet.
          Note, I'm not even saying that AcidDraw was better than TheDraw, Hooptie's program was the best, and I can't even remember what the heck it was called. How do I know all of this? Click on my name to view my info, you'll see.
          • Wrong. Thedraw's only supported 25line Ansi, or was it 50? AcidDraw had a 1000 line limit
            Actually, TheDraw's limit was 100 lines. You could configure it for either 23, 25, 50 or 100... Can you tell that I used it a lot?

            But from the perspective of an ANSi artist, I'm sure that AcidDraw and the other editors meant for artists were more convenient. However, speaking as an ex-SysOp (for 7 years) I can assure you that SysOps preferred TheDraw and its interface -- simple yet powerful.

            As a programmer, I also used it to draw menus and backgrounds for my text mode apps. It could save in many useful formats, such as straight to C or Pascal source.

            Non-artists had no use for huge line limits, since BBS screens and textmode apps were limited to 25 lines... Unless of course you really wished to annoy your users. ;)

            • I used TheDraw quite a lot too. I mainly had to use it when AcidDraw would muck up the Ansicodes that the BBS software I ran used. I was no Sysop for 7 years, but was for about 2. From 1993-1995, then I stopped and went online. IRC kicked ass compared to a single node BBS.

              In the Art scene (Ansi/Ascii), it was not uncommon for us to have a 1000 line banner as an entrance onto the BBS. For kicks, you might want to check out some of the old Acidpacks from ( 1996 was probably my favorite year.

              Indeed, I did forget that TheDraw saved to C/Pascal, now that I think about it, it was also the only one to let you record animations. Hooptie's drawing program may have also let you do animation, but it's been so long that I can't remember.

              All in all, good memories. Let me also give you a couple of my favorite ansi artists (well, favorite off the top of my head). Lord Jazz, Killahertz, Beastie, Jed... hrm, well, go look at those, while you're looking, you will see plenty ;)

              • All in all, good memories.

                Ever had to enter the ANSI escape sequences manually in DOS's edit? ;)

                Even though I wasn't in the scene, the name Lord Jazz does ring a bell... I'll be sure to look for the others. I still have lots of ACiD packs stored away on backup tapes somewhere, as I used to offer them for download on my board.


    • The only ANSi GR00P I remember is CLaP!...
  • Profit! (Score:3, Funny)

    by ender1598 ( 266355 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:35PM (#4009275)
    Step 1: Make a cool site that gives people the capability to create ASCII pictures easily distributed worldwide through Usenet and visible with the Google toolbar.
    Step 2: Submit to the hordes at Slashdot.
    Step 3: .....
    Step 4: Profit!!
    • Re:Profit! (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Step 1: Re-tell tired joke
      Step 2: ???
      Step 3: Karma whore!
  • by MrP- ( 45616 ) <> on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:36PM (#4009280)
    Sorry, but there's some part of my brain that forces me to promote my application whenever there is a story about ASCII art.

    MosASCII [] (windows, shareware $8)

    Sorry! =P
  • by acceleriter ( 231439 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:36PM (#4009283)
    Back in my day, we had punch cards. We could use the 029 to make pictures with the holes. If by some rare good fortune we had access to the printer, we didn't have any ASCII art. We had EBCDIC art. And liked it.
  • Heh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mornelithe ( 83633 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:37PM (#4009285)
    "Remember ascii art? It's still there, and Google is helping them out."

    Remember Alf? He's back! In pog form!
  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Informative)

    by AaronStJ ( 182845 ) <AaronStJ@gmail.cUUUom minus threevowels> on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:44PM (#4009312) Homepage
    Looks like his site is Slashdotted. However, since the art is all based on google groups, it's still a long way from slashdotted. :)

    Here's what he's come up with:
    Bart []
    Lincoln []
    Spam []
    • Re:Slashdotted (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mr.DorkESQ ( 598361 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @08:35PM (#4009753) Homepage
      Ermm, the guy who made the website did not create any of the pictures in your post.

      I made Bart and Lincoln

      And some dude named nathan made the Spam Can

      I also did my self portrait

      Here is a link to it

      Or you can go to and search for the following
      string in the following order;

      aa ae ao ea ee eo oa oe oo dork

      The way I did these was, I made a photoshop color table, indexed an image with the table and then resized the image. I then layed the whole thing out in excel saved the file as a CSV opened the CSV with a text editor and removed the comma's.

      You can tell my images from the ones created with the app because I used "aa ae ao ea ee eo oa oe oo" as my search string.

      I prolly won't do any more since it has gotten too easy and the novelty has worn off.

      And BTW I got slammed by the dudes in for calling it ascii art.

      Tim (i'm trying to figure out why my first post got mod-ed down to redundent) Mr.Dork
      A silly flash animation
      • Hehe. That "dude named Nathan" would be me. The way I did it was I made a small image in The GIMP, zoomed in a lot, then typed in the right letter pair for the pixel and copied the line to make it the right height. Wish I'd been able to do something a bit more automatic, but I haven't mastered enough in Linux yet to manage it.
      • Ermm, the guy who made the website did not create any of the pictures in your post.
        Oops, sorry about that. I just posted the links he had on his page as examples from my address cache. Didn't meant to misrepresent authorship.
      • You can tell my images from the ones created with the app because I used "aa ae ao ea ee eo oa oe oo" as my search string.

        Just curious... why use lower case vowels? When I was doing stuff like this (many, many years ago now), it was accepted that you use varying characters for their different densities. Obviously since you're using Google, you can't use punctuation, but I'd have thought that "MM" or "WW" would be better choices than "aa", "ae", etc.

        • I used a e and o because they are simular in sive and I needed nine search terms. I wanted the image to be unviewable in the original format. I suppose you could use M, W and V or V, X and Y and get the same result. I thought the more rounded letters would look better. I think Stuart, the guy who put together the java app, was just following my lead. Tim aka Mr.Dork
      • Did you mean:

        I find it rather amusing that Google would correct the spelling on a bunch of basically random letters... Especially when:

        Your search -
        aa ae ao eaee eo oa oo oo dork - did not match any documents.

        I always wondered if they checked if the corrections brought in more results - now I guess I know that they don't. Presumably they look for keywords that are similar to ones presented that have a higher hit rate on the web than the ones given. And, for the terminally lazy:

  • GREAT ASCII ART xD (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Linuxb0y ( 528260 )
    ASCII Pr0n []
  • There's no way a site dedicated to ASCII art was going to take being posted on the front page of /. That's cruelty to websites, that is.


  • I'm feeling sadistic (Score:2, Informative)

    by Rufus211 ( 221883 )
    Since the host already seems to be down, I'm feeling a bit sadistic and have thrown up my own mirror (running of my home cable modem!): []
  • by cascino ( 454769 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @06:03PM (#4009366) Homepage
    With all these Google stories in the past couple of months, isn't it about time we had a "Google" topic category? (yeah, it's OT, deal with it)
    I dunno, seems to make sense to me. (heck, we have a Mac OS 9 category that's had what... three stories?)
    I even made the icons:
    Google Topic Icon []
    Sample Screenshot []
    It might be a bit small, but you get the idea :)
    • try going to slashcode's page on sourceforge and submit that as a feature request. I've done similar [] for a wireless topic, and also attached an image [].
      • No offense, but you're going to need a better icon than that. Not that the current icons are that great, but you'll need a nicely AAd image with a drop shadow.

        Slashdot should also change the Microsoft icon. While the general consensus around here is that Microsoft is bad, having a "Bill Gates Borg" icon form Microsoft reflects poorly on the community.

        Also, the icons need to be more uniform. They all feature different pictures at different angles and different sizes. Some icons have objects that extend past the edges of the canvas (a definate no-no for icons).

        The icons need:
        - A distinct and consistant style
        - To be easily understood by shape, not color
        - Representative of what they represent (duh)
        - Unique
        - Non-Photographic

        Other Slashdot UI problems:
        - Don't put category icons at the top. The're confusing and don't serve much of a purpose
        - Sections vs. Topics: Sections are a good idea but should have a different name. They should be more integrated into the design. Perhaps a "tab" system would work. The main page could itself be a "section".
        - Meta Moderation: Why should "Duplicates are fine" need to be in big type? USERS DO NOT READ INSTRUCTIONS. Duplicates are NOT fine. The script should give users only unique comments.

        There are a lot more issues but I don't have time to discuss them right now.
        • Yeah, I know the icon kinda sucks :). It was a five second spur-of-the-moment kinda thing, done w/o the help of Gimp or Photoshop (from my computer at work). And I agree about the Microsoft (and other) icons.
          About the Meta Moderation system... IANASCE (I Am Not A Slash-Code Expert), but I believe the reason duplicates exist is because there can be more than one moderation for each comment to be meta-modded. For example: if you rate my comment "-1 Shitty Graphic Design" but somebody else rates it "+1 Insightful," then two seperate meta-moderations need to be made.
          To the non-discerning viewer, however, this appears to be a simple duplicate.
          • About the Meta Moderation system... IANASCE (I Am Not A Slash-Code Expert), but I believe the reason duplicates exist is because there can be more than one moderation for each comment to be meta-modded. For example: if you rate my comment "-1 Shitty Graphic Design" but somebody else rates it "+1 Insightful," then two seperate meta-moderations need to be made.

            I think he understands that; he's just saying it's a shitty interface design.

            You're correct in saying that the require seperate meta-moderations, but there is no requirement that they have to be presented to the same user at the same time. A simple dedup of comment ID's would solve the problem and eliminate the need for that big screaming bold text.

            • Yes, that's exactly what I meant. Rule #1 of UI design is that users don't read instructions. Rule #2 is that if you can solve a problem with code rather than placing the burden on the user, you should do it (Automatically filling in city and state from zipcode in a form is an example of a good use of this rule). Rule #3 is that a good UI should be like walking - once you learn how to walk you can go anywhere in the world without having to re-learn. Good UI designs both copy and lead. The re-use familiar components and existing behavior but enhance it with new features. A good example would be the Internet Explorer "rebar" - it was similar enough to existing toolbars as to not confuse the user, but it offered additional usefullness (especially to those with small monitors). Another example would be the smart menus in Office 2000 - they follow the same familiar menu layouts but automatically hide unused options to keep the menus uncluttered (although I think that the Office menus should go one step further by making certian menu items that are important never disappear, like New, Open, Save, Print, and Options).

              The more that I think about it, the more that I don't like how meta-moderation works. I think that meta-moderation should be automatically "forced" upon moderators - when you get mod points you should have to meta-mod ten posts before you can moderate.

              I'm not a UI expert, but from experience and research I've learned quite a bit.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "It might be a bit small, but you get the idea :) "

      It must be pretty rough telling that to your girlfriend.
    • Just noticed that has a Google topic: Topics
  • Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes!

    Search for: aa ae ai ao au ea ee ei eo "Calvin"

    in about 3-9 hours.

    Ahhhh... stupid search engine tricks! Someone should right a book about this shit. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    TxtImg [] directly converts JPG and GIF images into text images. It doesn't use intensities -- it actually correlates the font image with the original image.
  • On my Online RPG website, I have an app availible for free download that allows the players to create ASCII art with their mouse. I wrote it because I noticed a growing trend to create ASCII art and out it in their player profile for others to see. I figured that doing it in a text editor was too time consuming especially with the color codes. Anyway, you might want to check it out. It's a Windoze app but it works fine under Wine 2.0 ;)


  • Long live ATASCII []!!! Long Live Atari!!!!
  • by BigJimSlade ( 139096 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @07:15PM (#4009543) Homepage
    Not that I don't appreciate ASCII/ANSI art... in fact, I do appreciate it. However, this stuff sucks. Compare to this guy's ASCII interpretations of Disney characters. [] While the novelty of Google highlighting the letters in cute, it's not very eye catching, IMO. Bring back the BBS art scene! Bring back ANSI art!
  • Search Google Groups for

    aa ae ai ao au ea ee ei eo "Google"

  • by pinr ( 596626 )
    Oldest and still the best
  • Poor server (Score:2, Funny)

    by brandonsr ( 550431 )
    You know, slashdot must be the only site on the internet that can bring down a server who's largest source of graphics comes in ASCII form.
  • alt.ascii-art was one of the first newsgroups I ever posted to. A search on Google Groups returns a post showing my first attempt at ascii art []!

    It appears to be a Mac Classic. I'm not sure whether it's thinking or exploding.
  • Real ascii art (Score:2, Informative)

    by lamery ( 598414 )
    Forget stick drawings of cartoon characters, for many years there have been groups formed around oldschool amiga ascii and newschool ascii which uses high characters. Sadly the scene has fallen off, but there are still active groups, most notably "Mimic", producing art. There's something far more entertaining looking at a 1000 line color ascii with perfect curves which took hours to create than there is viewing a few hundred automatically generated characters which if you squint looks like something you could just see in jpg anyways. Do yourself a favor and check some out... features an archive of almost every ascii pack created, be sure to check out the mimic and remorse directories. [] has tools you'll need to view and draw (aciddraw) as well as web based access to the ascii archive. enjoy.

  • You can actually see the invention. First message is something about trying to spam the Google search engine [] by repeating the word Travel [] in a posting. He probably found out that this results in a brightly coloured posting and the next day he tries this one [], which, as far as I can see, the official first Google-art posting.

    Next thing you know: a whole thread dedicated to Google artwork. []

    Oh, by the way: this guy seems to promote two web sites about (you guessed it) travelling, you might want to see promoting tourism [] and the world's best travel search engine []. (Hope this helps him :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you like Jerkcity, then check out ASCII Art Farts [], new art daily...

    Satisfied customers:

    Mr. Spock []

    Dilbert []

    Disney []

    The J-man Himself []
  • How about (Score:2, Funny)

    by johnty ( 558523 )
    art using graphs on statistics of sites which get /.ed?
  • Google mirror (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by plaa ( 29967 )
    Well, as the site seems slashdotted, you might try out the Google mirror [].
  • What I'm wondering is, since several people are doing these pictures, will they get a standard going so that certain letter combinations and orientations of the search query will always yield the same colors? If so, it would make a search for the color codes reveal all pictures encoded with them.

    Step 1: People agree that sz is yellow, xq is red, etc...
    Step 2: Everybody who does this art puts the entire color code in their art so searching google for "sz xq ae pz ..." returns all pics encoded with that scheme, including pics encoded with only a subset of the colors.
    Step 3: Make a website or newsgroup or bulliten board with links to the pictures.

    And voila! Now everybody can see everybody else's work and all but the privacy seekers are happy. Yeah, those concerned with privacy will make their own color codes, intentionally different and obscure.

    You know what would be cool is using a kind of steganography to embed a color message in normal text. Then when you search using the "query key" you see the highlighted image on top of the plaintext one. Man this is awesome stuff.

  • I Still remember Thedraw, PCboard, Remote Access, Proboard and Frontdoor ...

    These where the times a 2400 baud was still enough and good programs where zipped or arj'd to a 200k file ... I used to have my own board and ascii art on it for over 5 years. It was bliss though when the 14k4 and (the Zyxel) 19k2 came out :) ...

    Guess we'll never see that good time anymore code used to be clean and small instead of whistles-bells and unmaintained ...
  • is probably the best site on the net for current art packs by various ascii groups..

The absent ones are always at fault.