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Archive-name: ascii-art-faq
Posting-Frequency: Weekly
Last-modified: Mon, 22 Aug 1994
Version: 3.6

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    1   What is ASCII art?
    2   Why use ASCII art instead of a GIF?
    3   What is ASCII art used for?
    4   What are the different kinds of ASCII art?
    5   What is the best way to view ASCII art?
    6   How can I learn to make ASCII art?
    7   Are there any ASCII tools?
    8   Where can I get ASCII tools?
    9   Where can I find ASCII art?
   10   How do I use FTP, Gopher and the World Wide Web?
   11   Can I get The Scarecrow's files via email?
   12   Is it OK to copy ASCII art?
   13   How do I make those big letters?
   14   Where can I get Figlet?
   15   How can I make Gray Scale pictures?
   16   Where can I get Gray Scale converters?
   17   How can I make better Gray Scale conversions?
   18   What do those filename extensions mean?
   19   What is 'uuencoding'?
   20   How do I save and 'uudecode' a file?
   21   How do I view animations and color images?
   22   How do I put an animation in my plan?
   23   How do I make a sig?
   24   How do I have my sig automatically added to my posts and email?
   25   What should I know about posting ASCII Art?
   26   Where is this FAQ available?
   27   Who made this FAQ?


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    /\   | | | | | |\  |  ____) | \  /\  /  | !____  | | \ \   ____) ||\/
   /_/_  !_! !_! !_! \_! !_____/   \/  \/   !______! !_!  \_\ !_____/ |/\_

   1  What is ASCII art?

   Standard ASCII art is made by using only letters, numbers, punctuation
marks and symbols such as:

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
  a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
  \ | - _ + % @ < ; ! = # . , : > ( ] / $ ^ ' ` " ~ ) [ { } ?
   These characters are part of the ASCII (as - kee, America Standard Code for
Information Interchange) set.  This part of the ASCII set, is called the
'printable set' (characters 32 to 126).  There's also non-standard ASCII art,
which contain 'contral codes'.

   ASCII art is popular, with a number of ASCII art groups on the various
information services.  Before computers, ASCII art was made on typewriters,
teletype machines, and was created typographically.

   2  Why use ASCII art instead of a GIF?

   ASCII art is used because:

o  Standard ASCII art is the only type of graphics easily transmitted and
   instantly viewable on any terminal, emulation, or communications software.

o  If you can view text, you can view ASCII art (as it is made up of standard
   text characters).  No conversion or special software required to view.
   Non-standard ASCII art requires that the file be saved and "cat'd".  See
   Questions 20 and 21.

o  ASCII art is compact, a few K, not 20, 50, 100 or more K!

   3  What is ASCII art used for?

   ASCII art is used for many things, like:

o  EDUCATION - A periodic table or molecular model for example.

o  CROSS CULTURAL COMMUNICATION - Pictures are international.

o  BBS & SERVER SCREENS - Login and logoff screens, MUDs, promos, etc.

o  ENTERTAINMENT - Like a birthday 'card', holiday greetings, invitations,
   congradulatory messages, children's picture stories, etc.

o  VISUAL AID - Such as a wiring diagram, floor plan, illustrated
   instructions, or flow chart, to eliminate a long involved explanation with
   a graphic.

   4  What are the different kinds of ASCII art?

   The first four use the standard printable set, and can be viewed anywhere,
anytime, on any equipment.  They are:

o  Line drawing - Such as the stickmen above.  This type of image is made
   using characters for their shapes.

o  Lettering - Large and styled, like the title "ASCII ART FAQ" above.

o  Gray Scale picture - These create the illusion of gray shades by using
   characters for their light emitting value (assuming you are viewing light
   characters on a dark background).  For example:

   Lighter  <-                                                 ->  Darker

o  3-D images - They can be viewed by people with similar vision in both eyes.
   You try to focus as if you are looking at the back of the monitor.  The
   image should pop into focus and create a 3-D illusion.  Other 3-D images
   are viewed by putting your nose on the monitor glass.  See ASCII Art
   Resources for info on where to get 3-D programs.

   Other forms of ASCII art using the standard printable set include the
following four:

o  Geometric Article - Text is formed into interesting, meaningful shapes.

o  Picture Poem - A geometric article that is also a poem.  See the swan in
   the examples at the end of ASCII Art Resources.

o  Page Making - Text and graphics are intermixed, as in a magazine.

o  Picture Story - A story told with accompanying ASCII pictures.  Created
   using ASCII art page making techniques.

   There are also non-standard types of ASCII art which cannot be viewed
immediately upon receiving.  They contain 'control codes' for color or
animation.  They must be 'uuencoded' to be posted or emailed.  For further
information, see Question 19.

   The three types of non-standard ASCII art are:

o  Animation - You see an animated image produced by a sequence of changing
   ASCII pictures.  Animation speed depends on the system you are on, and
   modem speed, if used.  "ANSI" (American National Standards Institute)
   escape sequences can be found in ASCII Art Resources.

o  Color Graphics - You can view color ASCII pics, if you have a color screen
   and ANSI color compatible software.  Check to see if your software supports
   ANSI color, and how it is enabled.

o  Color Animation - For an example of color and animation together, take a
   look at the file called "Vortex" in the Scarecrow's FTP site.

   Examples are in ASCII Art Resources.  Send any kind of ASCII art you may
have to:

   But wait, there is yet another kind of ASCII art:

o  Overstrike Art - It contains carriage returns without line feeds at times.
   The print head can overstrike a line on the paper that has already been
   printed on.  This allows for darkening, and for placing different
   characters at the same place on the paper.  This kind of art is obviously
   only printed.

   5  What is the best way to view ASCII art?

   For best results in viewing ASCII art, try the following:

o  A 'non-proportional' font, also called a 'mono-spaced' font.  This is a
   font that displays the same number of characters per inch, no matter what
   the actual width of the characters.  If you are viewing with a mono-spaced
   font, the two lines below should appear the same length.


   If they don't look the same length, try another font.  Names to look for on
   various systems include: Courier, System, Monaco, Line Printer, etc.

o  A small, say, 9 point font, will help to increase the apparent resolution,
   and the illusion of gray scale images.

o  Viewing from a distance of a meter or more.

o  Use light characters on a dark background.  Many ASCII pictures are meant
   to be viewed light on dark.  This allows the artist more control over the
   light, and the viewer sees less glare than you would get from a light

   And in some instances:

o  While most gray scale pics are made to be viewed light characters on a dark
   background, some will be dark on light.  This is because it is meant to be
   printed with dark ink on light paper.  Use dark characters on a light
   background, or print out the picture.

o  While most ASCII pics are made to be viewed on a monitor that displays 80
   characters across, some ASCII art is wider, say, 81 to 132 characters
   across.  It is meant to be printed.  Use a small, say, 4 point type, and
   view dark on light, or print out the picture.

o  While mast ASCII art is either ready to view, 'cat' or print, you may find
   art that has been saved as a picture in a bitmap, EPS, GIF, or other binary
   format, which must be viewed or printed with the appropriate software.

   There are a few important things to remember when making, viewing, or
talking about an ASCII art image.  And they're obvious but almost always

o  Even though different fonts may all be mono-spaced, they ARE different, and
   can give a picture a different look.  Some artists may mention the font the
   picture was made with.

o  A font may be serif or sans-serif (serifs are the little feet on the
   characters.  The ascenders and descenders may be straight or curved.  And
   characters may be wider or narrower.

o  The weight, or heaviness of characters can vary.  Serifs can make them look
   heavier.  Often effected by weight inconsistencies are symbols like:  # $ @

o  Shapes can vary too:
   The more onsistent shapes are:  - / \
   The more inconsistent shapes are:  ~ ^ * & | ' [ ] < > 0 l y

o  Fonts from different countries may have different characters in them.
   Characters that may not appear in a font are:  ^ ` # | { } ~ \ [ ] $ @

o  Different systems display text differently.  If you look at a picture on a
   terminal at a Unix site, and then bring it home and view it on a Mac, it
   will look different.  On the Mac, it will have a greater aspect ratio.  In
   other words, it will be displayed shorter top to bottom. Even though it
   contains the same number of lines.

   See ASCII Art Resources for an aspect ratio chart.

   6  How can I learn to make ASCII art?

   Unfortunately, there aren't many text books on the subject. :-)  A good
way to learn is to study how an artist has made a picture.  What characters
are chosen.  How are the characters laid out?  How is a texture made?

   You can also modify existing art.  Take a piece of art you think could be
improved.  Make a copy.  Now work on it.  When you are good at that, try to
improve a really good pic.  Diddle a GIF conversion.  Then see if you can fix
a damaged file.  Now take some small pics and put them together into a big
composite image.

   If you're working from scratch, the following may help you:

o  Decide what you want.  Block out the sizes ond shapes of things so you can
   get the proportions right.  Do it now, not later, you'll save work.

o  Add detail.  Concentrate on the focal point and important parts of your
   drawing.  ASCII art is low definition, so you'll have to make the pic big
   if you want detail or real smoothness.  Take a tip from master cartoonists,
   just try to suggest things, don't try to replicate them. Too much detail
   can end up looking confusing.

o  One of the biggest helps is knowing how to shape things.  For example, you
   can curve a horizontal line with just:  _ - "


o  Slanting vertical lines is easy.  These four line are all made with a few
   characters, like:  / , _ - ' "

           /                 ,'                ,-'                   ,_-'"
          /                ,'               ,-'                 ,_-'"
         /               ,'              ,-'               ,_-'"
        /              ,'             ,-'             ,_-'"
       /             ,'            ,-'           ,_-'"
      /            ,'           ,-'         ,_-'"

o  Then there's smoothing, also called "anti-aliasing".  This is where special
   care is taken to use characters for their shapes.  With this technique, you
   can smooth out a font, or an object like the one below.  Notice how the
   sides on the object are curved using:  d b ( ) Y

                       XXXX                         d88b
                     XXXXXXXX   <- Turn this      d888888b
                    XXXXXXXXXX                   (88888888)
                     XXXXXXXX      Into this ->   Y888888Y
                       XXXX                         Y88Y

   Popular fills are:  8 M H

o  Use areas of characters for patterns, tones, and contrast.  For example, on
   the map sig below, notice how there are four nice tonalities.  There is a:

   - Dark tone with spaces
   - Dark quarter tone with the :
   - Mid tone with the /
   - Light tone with the #

   There is no light quarter tone, that's to accentuate the light tone.

   Also Notice the dimensional effect made by the spaces to the right of the
   continents and letters.

:::::::::::::::// ::// :://////// ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
:::::::::::://///////// // ://// ::::// :::://////////////// :::::::::::::::::
:::::::::::::://///// ::/ ::// ::::://////////////////// :/ ::::::::::::::::::
::::::::::::://///////// :::::::/ ////////////////////// :::::::::::::::::::::
::::::::::::://///////// ::::::::://////////////////////// / :::::::::::::::::
:::::::::::::////////// :::::::::::// //////////////////// / :::::::::::::::::
::::::##### ::#### //#### ::##### ::##### :#### :##### ///#### / ## :## :## ::
::::## :::::## ////## :## :## :## :## ://## ///:## :## /## :## :## :## :## :::
::::##### :## :://###### :##### ::#### /## ///:##### ::## :## :## :## :## ::::
:::::::## ## ::::## :## :## ## ::## ///## ///:## ## ::## :## :## :## :## :::::
::##### ::#### :## /## :## :## :##### /#### :## :## ::#### :::######## :::::::
::::::::::::::::://////// ::::::::::://///// ::::::::::/ ::::// ::::::::::::::
:::::::::::::::::://////// :::::::::::////// :::::::::::::::::// :::::::::::::
::::::::::::::::::://///// :::::::::::////// / :::::::::::/// / ::::::::::::::
::::::::::::::::::::///// ::::::::::::://// / :::::::::://///// ::::::::::::::
:::::::::::::::::::://// :::::::::::::::// :::::::::::://////// ::::::::::::::
:::::::::::::::::::::// :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::// :/// :/ ::::::::::::
:::::::::::::::::::::/ :::::::::::::::/ ::::::::::::::

   Here are a few tips, that taken together, can make an instant ASCII artist
out of anybody:

o  A quick way to make a pic is to photocopy a drawing onto plastic.  Place
   the plastic over your monitor to act as a guide for placing characters.

o  Ease your work by making a file full of lines of spaces.  Now copy that
   file.  Open a copy and start working.  You'll see that it's easier because
   you can now go where you want and replace the spaces with characters.  You
   have eliminated endless space bar pressing.  Remember to strip all trailing
   spaces when you're done.

o  Use a mouse to move more quickly from character to character and to delete
   bunches of characters and large numbers of lines.

o  To avoid variation in characters, weights, and shapes found between
   different fonts, use the following characters:  / ! ( ) ? = + - _ : ; , .

o  Use 'block editing' if you can.  Some software allows for a square or
   rectangular chunk of text to be cut, copied and pasted.

o  It may be better to work on your own computer (if it has more appropriate
   hardware and-ar software), and then upload it to your host.

   Also, see Jorn's "asciitech" file, available at Jorn's and Scarecrow's FTP
Sites.  Send any ASCII art techniques you know to:

   7  Are there any ASCII tools?

   Not many.  The Emacs editor offers some help, if you know how to use it.
Q-Edit is an ASCII editor with block cut and paste.  And TheDraw can do some
ANSI tricks but is limited by RAM size.

   There are Unix and DOS scripts for flipping an ASCII pic (like "modasc" by
Ric Hotchkiss).  BBSdraw is available for the Amiga.  So is CygnusEd, which
allows column editing.  And also the TPU editor for VAX.  And then there's
"mdraw.el" for GNU Emacs 19 under X, that lets you draw ASCII with a mouse.

   8  Where can I get ASCII tools?

   You can get TheDraw at:

   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/msdos/screen/

   You can get "mdraw.el" at:

   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/flee/mdraw.el

   9  Where can I find ASCII art?

   You can FTP and Gopher ASCII art (single pics and archives of dozens or
hundreds of images).  FTP'ing is easy.  Gophering is easier.  See Question 10
for further info.  ASCII art is available from many sites, including:

   o  FTP Sites:

             Scarecrow's FTP Site
   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/Scarecrow
             Has all the Scarecrow's files, Steve Sullivan's Small ASCII Pics,
             Gifscii for many systems, Figlet (and all the fonts I know of),
             Color Graphics, Animations, and Chevalier's Picture Stories.
             Plus a folder of 'How-To' and techniques files Row, Normand and
             others, FAQs, Escape Sequences, Emacs Code, etc.

             See Question 11 for a table of all the Scarecrow's files, showing
             file name, size (uncompressed), version, name it has at the
             Scarecrow's FTP site, and the subject line for email requests.

   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/ascii/art/pictures

             Jorn's FTP site
   ->  Host:
       Path: mcsnet.users/jorn/ascii-art
             Has Scarecrow's files, plus other ASCII art files, and the
             technically oriented "asciitech.aa".

             Chris' FTP site
   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/ncsu/chking/Archive
             Contains all the Scarecrow's files, all of Steve Sullivan's
             files, and Gifscii for many systems.

   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/local/n1ka0/animation

   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/ascii/art/movies

   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/msdos/demos/ansi
             Color graphics

   o  Gopher Servers:

             ASCII Art Bazaar
   ->  Host:
 Menu Items: 11, 1
             Over 12 megabytes, thousands of pieces in many categories.

   ->  Host:
 Menu Items: 7, 1

   o  World Wide Web:

             Chris' WWW Page
    ->  URL:

             Scarecrow's ASCII Art WWW Link
    ->  URL:
             Has links to Chris' site, the Bazaar, and the Figlet server.

   o  Mailing list:

             ASCII Art listserv list
   -> Email:
    Message: subscribe asciiart

   o  FTP Mail Servers:

   -> Email:

   -> Email:

   The Scarecrow's recommendations:

o  If you're short on disk space, I would suggest you save this FAQ and get
   just those files containing the type(s) of art you are interested in.

o  If you have a bit more disk space, you may want to get the Best of the
   Scarecrow's ASCII Art Archive, and the ASCII Art Reference file.  And
   select a number of files from Steve Sullivan's Small ASCII Pics.

o  If you have some disk space to spare, you should get all of the SAAAs, and
   the ASCII Art Resources file.  You can also get all of Steve's Small ASCII
   Pics.  Megabytes of art. With the SAAAs, AAR, and SAPs, you'll be an ASCII
   art expert and collector, instantly!

   Disk space is often limited, so store ASCII art compressed (it should
compress 3:1).  View it when it's compressed by typing: "zcat FILENAME | more"
for .Z and "gzcat FILENAME | more" for .gz files.

   10  How do I use FTP, Gopher and the World Wide Web?

   If you have FTP at your site, and you want to FTP over to say, Chris King's
FTP site, on most Unix based sites, you would, at the prompt:

o  Type: ftp

   Notice that "ftp" was typed twice.  The first is the command, the second
   is a port of the address.  If you're already at an ftp prompt:

   Type: open

o  When the connection opens, it'll ask for your name.  This is 'anonymous
   FTP' so:

   Type: anonymous

o  When it asks for a password, type your email address.  You should be in.

o  Now, 'Change Directory' to Chris' ASCII art folder:

   Type: cd pub/ncsu/chking/Archive

o  Now to list the folder's contents:

   Type: ls

o  Let's say you want a file called "Funnies", you would:

   Type: get Funnies  

   The file will be transfered to the host you FTP'd from, in the folder
   you were in when you started that FTP session.

o  When you're done:

   Type: bye

   It will say goodbye and quit.

   You may have to decompress or uudecode the file first.  See Question 20 on
how to do that.  Now you can view or download the file.  For how to view
animations and color pics, see Question 21.

   Two helpful things.  Type "cd .." to go back out of a folder.  Type "pwd"
('Print Working Directory') to see where you are.

   Gopher is even easier.  Say you want to check out the Bazaar.  You:

o  Type: gopher

o  Use the up and down arrow keys or number keys to pick the menu item you

o  Use the right arrow (or return key) to enter a selection, and the left
   arrow to back out.

o  In this case we pick "The Continuum", which is #11, and press the right
   arrow or return.

o  After we enter The Continuum, we see the ASCII Art Bazaar, so we pick it
   (it's #1) and press the right arrow or return.

   Once in the Bazaar, you can browse the menus and view the art on screen
without having to download anything just to see it.

   Using the World Wide Web is as easy as Gopher.  For example, let's say you
want to check out the Scarecrow's ASCII Art WWW Link, you would do the
following on a Unix based system using lynx:

o  Type: lynx

o  Use the up and down arrow keys to select what you want to see.

o  Use the right arrow (or return key) to enter a selection, and the left
   arrow to back out.

   You can do as with Gopher, but you can also access links to other web
sites.  For example, there's a selection that will take you to Chris King's
web archive of ASCII art.  And one that will take you to the Figlet server.

   11   Can I get The Scarecrow's files via email?

   Yes.  If you do NOT have FTP, Gopher, or WWW, you can get files by email.
To receive  _  send email to with the subject line  _
           \ /                                                  \ /
            Y                                                    Y

                             Current        Name of file on  Subject line
File Name                    Version  Size  Scarecrow's FTP  for requests

ASCII ART FAQ                    3.6  46 K  FAQ              REQUEST FAQ
ASCII Art Resources              3.6 153 K  AAResources      REQUEST RESOURCES

   The following 4 archives contain everything in the Scarecrow's edited

Scarecrow's ASCII Art Archive    1.0 349 K  SAAA1.Z.uu       REQUEST SAAA 1.0
Scarecrow's ASCII Art Archive    2.0 362 K  SAAA2.Z.uu       REQUEST SAAA 2.0
Scarecrow's ASCII Art Archive    3.0 369 K  SAAA3.Z.uu       REQUEST SAAA 3.0
Scarecrow's ASCII Art Archive    4.0 364 K  SAAA4.Z.uu       REQUEST SAAA 4.0

   The following files are subsets of the above archives (if you have the
above archives, you don't have to get these, unless you want them):

Best of the SAAAs                1.0 610 K  BestOfSAAAs.Z.uu REQUEST BEST
Best of the ASCII Pics           1.0 205 K  BestPics.Z.uu    REQUEST PICS
Most Often Requested Edition     1.2 107 K  MORE             REQUEST MORE
The Scarecrow's Funnies (humor)  2.1  68 K  Funnies          REQUEST FUNNIES
The Scarecrow's Font File        1.0 127 K  FontFile.Z.uu    REQUEST FONTS
Best of Scarecrow's Sig Gallery  1.2 207 K  SigGallery.Z.uu  REQUEST SIGS
Best of Scarecrow's BBS Gallery  1.3  88 K  BBSGallery       REQUEST BBS
Best of Scarecrow's GIF Gallery  1.1  62 K  GIFGallery       REQUEST GIFS
Best of Scarecrow's 3-D Gallery  1.0  30 K  3-DGallery       REQUEST 3-D

   ASCII Art Resources contains descriptions of the above files.

   When requesting files, please be sure to use the subject lines above.  That
way I won't accidentally delete a request thinking it's something from a list
server I don't want to see.

   When writing to me about other things, please use a good strong subject
line.  If you are responding to my reply, please try to include some of what
we have both said, or I may have no clue what it's about.

   And please be patient.  If your message is the first I see when I open my
mailbox, you'll get an answer right away.  If it's the 137th, it may take a
little longer.  I answer most mail the same day.

   If you don't get an answer, please try again, as I may have pressed the
wrong button.  And it's easy to press the wrong button because I handle
tons of mail each week.

   12  Is it OK to copy ASCII art?

   ASCII art that is posted is considered copyrighted by the poster.  But
since the post goes around the world, and copyright laws vary, you'd have
trouble enforcing it in some places.

   Even when ASCII art is copyrighted, there is a general agreement among
most of us that it is OK to copy and clip, repost and pass it around.  It is
generally used AS IF it were Public Domain.

   All that mast artists ask is that their credit be left on the art.  Until
recently, it was common for the creator's credit to be lost.

   For example, you could make an instant sig with a piece of existing art, a
FIgletized name, a quote, and your email address.  The one thing that is
generally considered bad is to copy somebody's sig, only changing the name and

   The above assumes the art is being used for non-commercial purposes.

   13  How do I make those big letters?

   You can make lettering like the above subtitle "ANSWERS" by hand, or use a
program called Figlet.  With Figlet, the letters you type are automatically
turned into big letters.  Figlet stands for Frank, Ian and Glenn's LETters.
                                            "      "       "       """
   Figlet is available for use on some host systems.  If it is not, you can
obtain Figlet and fonts from the sites listed in Question 14.  There are about
50 fonts for use with Figlet.  Figlet fonts have an .flf suffix.  There are a
number of examples of Figlet fonts in the ASCII Art Resources file.

   Figlet is currently in version 2.1, available for Unix, DOS, and Amiga.

   Some other hosts have a program called "Banner" which performs a similar

   14  Where can I get Figlet?

   You can get Figlet and fonts from:

   o  FTP Sites:

   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/figlet
             This is the official site.

             Scarecrow's FTP Site
   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/Scarecrow/Figlet
             Has Figlet, utilities, and all the fonts I've found.

   o  Figlet WWW Server:


   o  Figlet Mailing List:

   -> Email:
             Receive fonts, update notes, and Figlet chat.  Run by Ian Chai.

   15   How can I make Gray Scale pictures?

   You can make them from scratch if you are a very good ASCII artist.  An
easier way is to use a program called ASCGIF.  There is also Gifscii (with
versions for many systems), ANSIrez, GIF2ANSI, and gif2txt for the PC.

   These programs make an ASCII pic from any GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
image (or image you can convert to a GIF).  Most converters require the GIF to
be in 87a format.  GIFs in 89a format, must be converted to 87a format first.

   The exception to the GIF converters is a bitmap converter for Windows
called Pixel Characterizer (version 0.5) by Shi Y Chen.

  16  Where can I get Gray Scale converters?

   You can get Gifscii for many systems, and the source code from:

   o  FTP Sites:

             Chris' FTP site
   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/ncsu/chking/Archive

             Scarecrow's FTP Site
   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/Scarecrow/Gifscii

             Both Chris' and Scarcecrow's sites have Gifscii 2.2 for MSDOS,
             Unix (Sun), Macintosh, Amiga, Digital Alpha, Digital VAX, as well
             as the c-source code.

   You can get ASCGIF from:

   o  FTP Sites:

   ->  Host:
       Path: archive/usenet/sources/comp.sources.misc/volume30/ascgif

   ->  Host:
       Path: usenet/comp.sources.misc/volume30/ascgif

   You can get GIF2ANSI and gif2txt from:

   o  BBS Sites:

   ->   BBS: Exec-PC (414) 789-4210
       File: GIF2ANSI.ZIP, in the "Mahoney MS-DOS" file collection.

   ->   BBS: Aquila BBS (708) 820-8344]

    If you do NOT have FTP available, you can get Gifscii by email.
To receive  _  send email to with the subject line  _
           \ /                                                  \ /
            Y                                                    Y

      File Name                       Version   Size    Subject line

   o  Gifscii for the Mac                 2.2 - 37 K    REQUEST GIFSCII MAC
   o  Gifscii source code                 2.2 - 51 K    REQUEST GIFSCII SOURCE

   17  How can I make better Gray Scale conversions?

   Most of us start out thinking that you just put a GIF into a converter
program and out comes a perfect ASCII pic.  Would you believe ... there are
some things you can do to improve the chances of getting a good conversion.

   The following is not a complete list, but it is what I have learned in
making many conversions:

o  Use an 8 bit gray scale or color image instead of a 2 bit B&W image.

o  Use an image with a wide, even distribution of tones.

o  Keep it simple, like a face or close-up of an object.

o  Avoid busy backgrounds.  With exceptions, avoid bright backgrounds.

o  Use an image that is tightly cropped, without a lot of waste.

o  Be prepared to quickly run through a series of conversions.  You will
   probably not like 9 to 11 out of 12.

o  It helps to do touch-up work on the converted picture.  Concentrate on the
   focal points and important areas of the picture.

   Send any gray scale conversion techniques you know to:

   18  What do those filename extensions mean?

   A file may have some of the following elements in its name:

   File name (may change      Usually implies    "uu" and "uue" for uuencode,
   when file is uudecoded). _   a color pic.   _ "xx" or "xxe" for xxencode.
                             |      |         |
                                |        |  |
   Usally implies animation. ___|        |  |__ For Unix Compress, may also
                                         |      be .gz, .zip, etc.  A .zip
   Tape archive format may contain ______|      file may contain more than
   more than one file.  Must be 'untarred'.     one file.  Must be 'unzipped'.

   For further information, on how to save, uncompress, untar, unzip, and view
files, see Questions 20 and 21.

   19  What is 'uuencoding'?

   Color graphics and animations must be processed to change the control codes
to regular printable ASCII characters before they can be sent as text (which
any information service can handle).  This processing is called 'uuencoding'.

   The file is processed back again after it is received.  This is called
'uudecoding'.  See Question 20 on how to save and 'uudecode' a file, and
Question 21 on how to view animations and color images.  A uuencoded file may
look like:

   permission mode _______       ______ filen ame to be given to decoded file
                          |     |
   begin line ____ begin 644 filename
   encoded data __ M"AM;-#LV2"`@("`@+R`@7`H;6S$[,3%("AM;,CLQ,4@@("`@<("\*&ULS
   end line ______ end

   20  How do I save and 'uudecode' a file?

   Type the name of the file where I have "FILENAME".  On a Unix system, the
process is usually as easy as:

   To save a file:

o  In your newsreader, you can type "s FILENAME" and choose a filename. In Elm
   you'll get a "save file to" prompt.  In Pine, you'll be asked for a folder
   name.  Pine's 'folder' is actually a text file, so go ahead and name it.
   Give your new file a unique name so the it isn't appended to, or doesn't
   overwrite, any existing file.

   To uudecode a file:

o  Type "uudecode FILENAME".  This may change the file's name.

   To uncompress a file:

o  You need to decompress a file if it has a suffix such as .Z or .gz
   (among others).  For .Z, type "uncompress FILENAME" and for .gz, type
   "gunzip FILENAME".

o  Sometimes a number of files will come packed together in a .zip or .tar
   file.  You need to unzip or untar it by typing "unzip FILENAME" or "tar
   -xvf FILENAME".  You will now have a number of files.  To just read the
   contents of a .tar file, type "tar -tvf FILENAME".

   For info on viewing animations and color images, see Question 21.

   21  How do I view animations and color images?

   To view animations and color images:

o  Type "cat FILENAME" and press the return.

o  Alternatively, if you want to view an animation compressed as a .Z file,
   you can view it without decompressing it by typing "zcat FILENAME", and for
   .gz compressed files, by typing "gzcat FILENAME".

   To slow down an animation while viewing on your Unix host:

o  Type "cat -u FILENAME" and press the return.

   Note: Host sytem speed, terminal speed, and modem speed all affect
animation speed.  To view color, you need a color screen and ANSI color
capable software.

   See ASCII Art Resources for info on programs to slow animations, and how to
view animations that you have downloaded to your PC or Amiga.

   22  How do I put an animation in my plan?

   On most Unix systems, name the file you want to be used as ".plan" and put
it in the top level of your home folder.  It does not work with all finger
commands.  Many systems will munch anything except CR and LF.

   To test your 'planimation', finger your account with your full address, not
just your login.  Type "finger" and not "finger foo".  Putting an
animation in your plan is not universally recommended.

   23  How do I make a sig?

   There are no rules for making sigs.  Most sigs contain items like:

o  Name, nickname.
o  Email and mail addresses.
o  ASCII art pics, borders.
o  Work and school names, disclaimer.
o  Phone, fax, and pager numbers.
o  Quotes and jokes from the poster and other people.
o  Info about the poster's .plan, FTP site, WWW home page, pgp key.

   You might simply 'Figletize' your name, pop in your addy and a pic, and
presto, instant sig:

       |     'Go Johnny Go'       ||      ___|
       |         |                ||     /                  _)  |    |
       |   _ \   __ \   __ \     \||/     __  \   __ `__ \   |  __|  __ \
   \   |  (   |  |   |  |   |    /()\          |  |   |   |  |  |    |   |
   ___/   ___/  _|  _| _|  _|    \__/    _____/  _|  _|  _| _|  __| _|  _|

   If you're going to have your sig automatically included in your posts and
email, remember that some systems only allow up to 4 lines in the sig.  For
info on how to have your sig automatically included, see Question 24.

   If you want to use a larger sig on systems that only allow 4 lines, you
will have to insert it manually.  On most Unix based systems, this is as eany
as pressing Control-R and typing the names (or full pathname) of the file to
be inserted.

   Speaking of sig length, there is a rule of thumb of 4 to 6 lines.  Try
to keep sigs around this length for posts, reserving the long ones for email,
and post to the ASCII art groups.

   24  How do I have my sig automatically added to my posts and email?

   On most Unix systems:

   For posts:

   Name the file you want to be used as ".signature" and put it in the top
level of your home folder.  Your news software should pick it up.  Note: some
systems are set up to allow only four lines in a posted sig.

   For email:

   Name the file you want to be used as ".signature" and put it in the top
level of your home folder.  If you have done this for the above use in news
posts, you need to, in additon, do one of the following:

o  If you're using Elm for your email, and elm doesn't pick up your sig, you
   need to put the following in ypur elmrc:

   localsignature = ~/.signature
   remotesignature = ~/.signature

   If you don't have an elmrc yet, go into Elm, press the 'o' key to get to
   the options screen.  Press the '>' to save your configuration.  Press 'i'
   to go back to the index, and quit.  This will create the elmrc file in the
   .elm folder.

o  If you're using Pine (with Pico) for your email, place the following in
   your .pinerc file:


o  If you're using vm (in emacs) for your email, place the following in your
   .emacs file:

   (setq mail-signature t)

   Note about sig usage: Try to use short sigs for posts to newsgroups.  If
you have any long sigs, try to only use them for email and posts to the ASCII
art groups.

   25  What should I know about posting ASCII Art?

   You can post any of the following types of ASCII art to rec.arts.ascii or
alt.ascii-art or groups:

o  All forms of ASCII art including:
   -  Standard ASCII art (line pics, 3-D, oversize printer art, GIFs, etc).
   -  Non-standard ASCII art (animations, color pics, color animations).

o  Discussion about pieces of art.

o  Requests for specific pieces of art, and their fulfillment.

o  Questions and answers covering:
   -  Creating and viewing ASCII art.
   -  Locating FTP sites for ASCII art and related files.

o  Discussion about artists in the field.

   Animations can also be posted to alt.ascii-art.animation.  3-D art can also
be posted to alt.3d.

   To make it easier for everybody, please put one of the following Subject
IDs at the beginning of the subject line of your post:

     Line - Standard ASCII line art.  Line pictures and large lettering.
      GIF - Gray scale image.
      Big - Wider than 80 columns (and optionally, longer than 24 lines).
Animation - Animation.  Usually uuencoded.
    Color - Color.  Usually uuencoded.
      3-D - 3-D art.
  Request - Request for a certain picture or type of picture.
 Question - A question concerning any of the ASCII art topics.
   Repost - Repost of a previously posted pic.
     Talk - Discussion, no pics included.
   Binary - Binaries (software like Figlet and Gifscii).  Usually uuencoded.

   If you are following up a post, please change the Subject ID to reflect the
contents of the post.  This way if you are fulfilling a request, change:

   Request: Marilyn Monroe
   GIF: Marilyn Monroe

   This allows the readers the option of reading the group in a newsreader's
selector, sorted by articles.  They can then read only what is of interest to
them, trusting the IDs to accurately identify the contents.  Some people do
not have the time (or money if they are paying by the hour or byte) to read
everything in every group they like.

   Here are some guidelines:

   Posting to the ASCII groups:

o  If someone requests a picture only days after it has been posted, and you
   would like to fill that request, please email the picture to the person
   requesting it.  It's better than reposting so soon.

o  Try to eliminate unnecessary blank space to the left of the pic, and
   trailing space to the right.  This reduces waste.

o  If you're posting a collection of pics, try to keep each pic on its own
   lines (and separated from other pics by a couple of lines).

o  Replace tabs with spaces.  Otherwise tab damage can occur.

   When following up an article:

o  Read all the articles in a thread before posting.

o  Decide whether it's better to post or email your message.

o  Check the attributions.

o  Try to keep quoted materials to a minimum.

o  Summarize where possible.

o  Change the Subject ID.

   Most general guidelines for posting apply here too:

o  Try to stay on topic (ASCII art).  It's easy to get sidetracked into other
   things, especially when a cross-posted thread gets going.

o  If you disagree with someone, disagree with their words, don't flame them.

o  Ask permission before quoting somebody's email message.

o  Type your post in upper-and-lower case.  ALL UPPER CASE IS HARD TO READ.

o  Cross-post an article instead of posting it separately to many newsgroups.
   You cross-post by adding group names to the "Newsgroups:" line in the
   header (if you are using the editor in a newsreader).  Or by typing names
   when prompted in "Pnews".

   When you cross-post, only one copy is sent around.  And only one copy is
   kept on each machine.  And as a reader, you only see the cross-posted
   article once, no matter how many groups it was cross-posted to.

   If you're a new reader:

o  Read the ASCII groups for a week or two to familiarize yourself with them
   before posting.

   If you're a new user:

o  Familiarize yourself with newsgroups, their customs, terminology and
   abbreviations.  Check out the guidelines, posted in the newsgroup

   One exception to the usual rules is the use of sigs.  Because the groups
rec.arts.ascii, alt.ascii-art and are about ASCII
art, it is within the scope of these groups to post longer sigs.

   26  Where is this FAQ available?

   Tha FAQ is available from news groups, FTP, Gopher, WWW, email. finger:

o  News Groups:

        rec.arts.ascii, alt.ascii-art,,, news.answers, alt.answers, rec.answers, comp.answers

o  FTP Sites:

   ->   Host:
        Path: pub/Scarecrow
        File: FAQ

   ->   Host:
        Path: pub/usenet-by-group/rec.arts.ascii
        File: FAQ_-_ASCII_Art_Questions_&_Answers_(*.*_-_*_K)

   ->   Host:
        Path: pub/usenet/news.answers/rec.arts.ascii
        File: FAQ_-_ASCII_Art_Questions_&_Answers_(*.*_-_*_K)

o  Gopher Servers:

   ->   Hast:
  Menu Items: 10, 12, 1

   ->   Host:
  Menu Items: 3, 3, 858

o  World Wide Web:


o  Email:

 ->  Address:
Subject Line: REQUEST FAQ

o  Finger by typing the following at a prompt on mony sites:

     finger | more (you can read it a page at a time)

     finger > faq (saves it to a file called 'faq')

   27  Who made this FAQ?

   It is made by your old friend, the Scarecrow.  Materials for the ASCII ART
FAQ and-or ASCII Art Resources were gratefully received from the following
nice people:

  ROWAN CRAWFORD       _______________________
 NORMAND VEILLEUX     /                       \
 GLEN A MILLER       |    That's all folks!    |
 JUDY ANDERSON       | See ASCII Art Resources |
 MICHAEL A GODIN     |    for many examples.   |
 STEVEN M SULLIVAN    \__   __________________/
 LARS ARONSSON           | /
 CHRIS PIRILL            |/
 CHEVALIER               /


    Version: 3.6
   Released: August 22, 1994
 Characters: 46718
      Lines: 1210
Comments To:

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