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**********************     IMPORTANT NOTE    ************************

   This is a copy of the last Ascii Art FAQ posted before Bob
   Allison ( Scarecrow ) retired as Moderator of the newsgroup 
   "rec.arts.ascii" in June 1996.

   There is no guarantee that any of the references to Archives, 
   FTP Sites, Websites and Files are still valid.


From: (Bob Allison)
Newsgroups: rec.arts.ascii,alt.ascii-art,,
Subject: FAQ - ASCII Art Questions & Answers (4.9.2 - 58 K)
Date: 14 May 1996 05:44:39 -0500

Summary: what ASCII art is - why and what it's used for - types of
         ASCII art how to use FTP, Gopher, WWW - how to save,
         'uudecode' and uncompress copyright info - how to make big
         letters and gray scale pictures how to put an animation in
         your .plan - info on posting ASCII art how to make sigs -
         how to automatically add a sig to posts and email how to
         make and view ASCII art - where to get art and tools - more

Archive-name: ascii-art-faq
Posting-Frequency: Weekly
Last-modified: Tue, 09 Apr 1996
Version: 4.9.2
URL: <>

    .                                                            .
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  '     : / ___  /.\___ \*/ /  .   / /  * / / '   / __  // .  __/. '/ /  .
.   '   ./ /. / /_____) // /___  _/ /_  _/ /_    / / / // / \ \   '/ / '
 +   .  /_/ '/_//______//_____//_____//_____/ './_/ /_//_/ * \_\' /_/   '
      +___________________ . ___________________ ' ___________________  '
  '   /                  / ./                  /. /                  /' .
  *  /__________________/' /__________________/  /    _________     /  .
  ' .    :     `  .       +    ' .        *     /    /   .  ' /    /.
   _______________   .   ___________________ ' /    /   `    /    /   '
. /              /     '/                  /. /    /  .  +  /    / .    *
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/    /     .          /    /  .     /    / '/    /______/      /  :   `.
    /     ( '      ' /    /  . +   /    /. /                  / .    '
___/   .     `      /____/.       /____/  /________________  /           `
       Version 4.9.2              April 9, 1996              \/       .
       .                  '            *                          .
          .                         `                                    .


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   |   |            / _ \| | | | __/ __!_   _!_ _/ _ \| \| / __!
   |   |           | (_) | |_| | _|\__ \ | |  | | (_) | .` \__ \
   |   |            \__\_\\___/!___!___/ !_! !___\___/!_|\_!___/
   |   |             O  _    ___ _  _    ______   ___      ____
   |   |            /|\/    |_ _| \| |  |  ____! / _ \    / __ \
 __!   !__,        / |       | || .` |  | |     | | | |  | |  | |
 \       / \O       / \     !___!_!\_!  | |__   | !_! |  | |  | |
  \     / \/|     _/___\_   _ ___ ___   |  __!  |  _  |  | |  | |
   \   /    |    !_   _| |_| |_ _/ __!  | |     | | | |  | |  | |
    \ /    / \     | | |  _  || |\__ \  | |     | | | |  | !__! |
     Y   _/  _\    !_! !_! !_!___!___/  !_!     !_! !_!   \___\_\

   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, World Wide Web, and FTP Mail Servers?
  11  What does the Scarecrow recommend?
  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, 'uudecode' and uncompress 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?


           ___    _   _    ____   _      _   ______   _____     ____
       O ,/ _ \  | \ | |  / ___! | |    | | |  ____! |  __ \   / ___!
      /\/| !_! | |  \| | | (___  | | /\ | | | !__    | !__) | | (___
     /   |  _  | | . ` |  \___ \ \ \/  \/ / |  __!   |  _  /   \___ \ O  ,
    /\   | | | | | |\  |  ____) | \  /\  /  | !____  | | \ \   ____) ||\/
   /_/_  !_! !_! !_! \_! !_____/   \/  \/   !______! !_!  \_\ !_____/ |/\_

1 What is ASCII art?

  Standard ASCII art is made with characters, 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' (7 bits, characters 32 to 126).
There's also non-standard ASCII art, which contain 'contral codes'.

  ASCII art is popular, with several ASCII art groups on the various
information services.  Before computers, ASCII art was made on typewriters,
teletype machines (5 bit), and was created typographically.  There are even
tee-shirts with the :-) smiley.

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 (8 bit with control
  codes) 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,

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   <- viewing light characters on a dark background ->   Darker
  Darker    <- viewing dark characters on a light background ->   Lighter

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 in ASCII Art Resources and ASCII Art
  Reference (the Web version of the FAQ).

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 and ASCII Art Reference (the Web version of the FAQ).

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

  Examples are in ASCII Art Resources and ASCII Art Reference (the
Web version of the FAQ).

  But wait, there are other kinds 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.

o Srcoll Animation - This is an animation that is made to be viewed
  by scrolling down.  The image plays out as the screen is redrawn
  with the next 'page' of the image.

5 What is the best way to view ASCII art?

  For best results in viewing ASCII art, try:

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: Monaco, Courier, Courier New,
  Video Terminal, System, TTY, VT100, Screen, Terminal, FixedSys,
  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 Using 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.  Also, you see less glare than you would
  from a light background.

  And in some instances:

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

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

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.  These 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 forgotten.

o Even though different fonts may all be mono-spaced, they ARE
  different, and can make a picture LOOK different.  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 wide or narrow.

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 consistent 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 be
  displayed shorter top to bottom.  In other words, it will have a
  greater aspect ratio.  Even though it contains the same number of

  See ASCII Art Resources and ASCII Art Reference (the Web version
of the FAQ) 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, in this flower, notice the density of the letters
  subtlely change to form the petals.  I would like to see this

              .@.                                    .
              @m@,.                                 .@
             .@m%nm@,.                            .@m@
            .@nvv%vnmm@,.                      .@mn%n@
           .@mnvvv%vvnnmm@,.                .@mmnv%vn@,
           @mmnnvvv%vvvvvnnmm@,.        .@mmnnvvv%vvnm@
           @mmnnvvvvv%vvvvvvnnmm@, ;;;@mmnnvvvvv%vvvnm@,
 `    `@mnnvv%v%v%v%%;;@mvvvvv%%;;*;;%%vvvmmmm@;;%m;%%v%v%v%vmm@'   '
           `@mnvvv%vvnnmm@'     `:;%%;:'     `@mvv%vm@'
            `@mnv%vnnm@'          `;%;'         `@n%n@
             `@m%mm@'              ;%;.           `@m@
              @m@'                 `;%;             `@
              `@'                   ;%;.             '    Top portion of a
               `                    `;%;          picture by Susie Oviatt.

  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

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

  Also, see Jorn's "asciitech" file, available at Jorn's FTP site
and Scarecrow's FTP, Gopher, WWW sites.

7 Are there any ASCII tools?

  Not many.  The Emacs editor offers some help, if you know how to
use it.  There are a couple of bits of Emacs code in the Scarecrow's
FTP site.  EmacsMouseCode let's you draw with a mouse, and
EmacsFigletCode let's you use Figlet within Emacs.

  Q-Edit and "vedit" are ASCII editors 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
    File: mdraw.el

   You can get Q-Edit at:

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

   You can get Emacs Code at:

->  Host:
    Path: pub/Scarecrow/Info

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 ASCII Art FTP
->  Host:
    Path: pub/Scarecrow
          Has Scarecrow's files, SAPs, animations, color, FAQs, Figlet,
          gray scale converters, 'how-to' files, and more.

          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/vz/vzvz/asciiart

->  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:
   Items: 11, 1
          Over 12 megabytes, thousands of pieces in many categories.

          Scarecrow's ASCII Art Gopher
->  Host:
   Items: 3
     URL: gopher://
          Has Scarecrow's files, SAPs, animations, color, FAQs,
          Figlet, gray scale converters, 'how-to' files, and more.
          Everything the FTP site has is available from the Gopher,
          with friendlier menus.

          TTU Gopher
->  Host:
   Items: 7, 1

          Stanford Gopher
->  Host: medmail.Stanford.EDU
   Items: 2, 1
     URL: gopher://medmail.Stanford.EDU/11/other.stuff/pictures/

o World Wide Web:

         Scarecrow's WWW Link
->  URL:
         Gateway to the wold of ASCII art, with links to everything.

         Chris' WWW Page
->  URL:

->  URL:

o Mailing list:

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

o FTP Mail Servers:

-> Address:
   Message: help

-> Address:
   Message: help

-> Address: bitftp@pucc.bitnet
   Message: help

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

  The following instructions are for most Unix based, live InterNet
sites.  If you are not on a live wire, you can still access FTP
sites.  See the section below on 'How to use FTP Mail Servers'.

  If you're on a commercial service, or other non-Unix based system,
ask your sysadmin or service representative for information on
obtaining files.  If you are using InterNet software on your own
computer via a PPP or SLIP connection, I assume you don't need my

  How to read a URL (Uniform Resource Locator):

           |_|   |__________| |_____________________| |_____|
            |          |                 |               |
  Connect Method   Host Name        Folder Path      File Name

  Note: The connect method (the protocol> could also be "gopher" or
"http" (http indicates a WWW page).  Also, a URL my not have a file
name at the end, but may just point to a folder.  It may not even
have a folder path, pointing only to a site.

  WWW URLs usually end with a file having a ".html" extension.  And
Web pages can also be stored on, and accessed from, FTP and Gopher

  How to FTP:

  If you have FTP at your site, and you want to FTP over to say,
Chris King's FTP site, 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

  Type: open

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

  Type: anonymous

o When you're asked for a password:

  Type: Your email address

  You should be in.

o Now, to '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 from your host.  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.

  How to Gopher:

  Gopher is easy.  Say you want to check out the Bazaar.  You would:

o Type: gopher

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

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.

  How to use the World Wide Web:

  Using the World Wide Web is as easy as Gopher.  For example, let's
say you want to check out the Scarecrow's WWW Link, you would do the
following on a live Net site 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 FTP,
Gopher and WWW sites.  For example, there are links that will take
you to Chris King's Web archive of ASCII art, the Figlet server, the
Bazaar, Joshua Bell's Star Trek ASCII art site, and practically
everything in the ASCII art world.

  Important Note: You can use a Web browser to access FTP sites, to
avoid logging in, and commands.  For example, say you're using lynx,
and you want to go to the Scarecrow's FTP site, you would type, at
the prompt:


  As you can see, it's just "lynx" plus the URL for the site.  You
can do this with any FTP site, just type "lynx ftp://" plus the
address/path, and you in like Flynn.

  Note: When using FTP, Gopher, WWW, or other live Net services, try
to find files at sites that are close to you before accessing more
distant locations.  Also, try to use these services at off-peak
hours, to not slow down the official operations of a school or
business.  And send a thank you note to the admins of sites you have
used and benefitted from.

  How to use FTP Mail Servers:

  If you don't have FTP access, you can use an FTP Mail Server.
There are a few listed in the answer to Question 9.  To use them
send a message to any of the listed addresses with "help" as the
message.  Here is an example of how to use

o Address a message to:

o Leave the subject blank.

  In the message:

o Type: connect

  The hostname could be any available host.

o Type: chdir pub/Scarecrow

  Changes directory (folder) to the Scarecrow's ASCII art folder.
  The folder name could be any existing folder.

o Type: binary

  For programs and compressed files.


  Type: ascii

  For text files, uuencoded files, etc.

o Type: get MORE

  Transfers the flie called "MORE" to your computer.  The name could
  be the name of any existing file in that folder.

o Type: quit

o Send the email message

   Your message will be acknowledged.  It will be given a number
which you should save in case of a problem.  Within a day or two you
should recieve either a file or an error message.  If you get an
error, make sure the following are correct: host name, pathname,
filename, commands, cAsE.

11 What does the Scarecrow recommend?

  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.

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.  The correct thing
to do is ask permission before using a piece.

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 100 fonts for use with Figlet.  Figlet fonts
have a .flf suffix.  Figlet is currently in version 2.1, available
for Unix, DOS, Amiga, and Atari ST.

  There are a number of examples of Figlet fonts in the ASCII Art
Resources and ASCII Art Reference (the Web version of the FAQ).
You'll also find info on Figlet utilities, methods of feeding Figlet
output to files, modifying Figlet output, and a vi macro.

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

14 Where can I get Figlet?

  You can get Figlet, fonts, and utilities from:

o FTP Sites:

          Official Figlet Site
->  Host:
    Path: pub/figlet

          Scarecrow's FTP Site
->  Host:
    Path: pub/Scarecrow/Figlet
          Has Figlet, utilities, and all the fonts I've found.
          Also accessible through the Scarecrow's Gopher and WWW sites.
          If you have any Figlet fonts that are not on my site, please put
          them in my incoming FTP folder.  Thank you.

->  Host:
    Path: pub/vz/vzvz/asciiart/fonts
          Fonts only.

o Figlet WWW Server:

   ->  URL:

o Figlet Mail Server:

-> Address:
   Message: HELP

o Figlet WWW Home Page:

   ->  URL:

o Figlet Mailing List:

-> Address:
            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 converter program.  There's
ASCGIF, Gifscii (with versions for many systems), ANSIrez,
"ansicv22", GIF2ANSI, and "gif2txt" for the PC.

  There's also the HyperCard stack called "asciipicter".  It allows
you to draw a picture, and convert it to ASCII art.  This is for the

  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
          Also accessible through the Scarecrow's Gopher and WWW sites.

          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.  Scarecrow's
          site also has "", "", and
          "asciipicter.sit.hqx" (HyperCard stack).

  You can get ASCGIF from:

o FTP Sites:

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

          Scarecrow's FTP Site
->  Host:
    Path: pub/Scarecrow/Misc
          Also accessible through the Scarecrow's Gopher and WWW sites.

->  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]

   You can get the GDS GIF-JPEG to ANSI (for DOS) at:

o FTP Sites:

   ->  Host:
       Path: pub/ph/photodex

   ->  Host:
       Path: SimTel/msdos/graphics

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

18 What do those filename extensions mean?

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

File name (a file may      Usually implies     "uu" or "uue" for uuencode,
have a different name ____   a color pic.   __ "xx" or "xxe" for xxencode.
after uudecoding).        |      |         |
                          |      |         |
                               |        |  |
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 _______       ______ file name 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, 'uudecode' and uncompress 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:

  In most newsreaders, you:

o Type: s filename (or a full pathname)

  In Elm:

o Type: s

  You'll get a "save file to" prompt.

o Type: filename (or a full pathname)

  In Pine:

o Type: s

  You'll be asked for a folder name.  Pine's 'folder' is a text file.

o Type: filename (or a full pathname)

  To uudecode a file:

o Type: uudecode filename

  This may change the resulting file's name.

  To uncompress a file:

  For a .Z (Unix compress) file:

o Type: uncompress filename

  For a .gz (GZip) file:

o Type: gunzip filename

  Sometimes a number of files will come packed together in a .zip or
.tar file.  You need to unzip or untar it.  You will end up with a
number of files.

  For a .zip file:

o Type: unzip filename

  For a .tar file:

o Type: tar -xvf filename

  To just read the contents of a .tar file:

o Type: tar -tvf filename

o On a DOS machine, to uncompress a .Z file, you'll need comp430d from:

->  Host:
    Path: pub/msdos/compress

  To uuencode a file, use the following syntax at the prompt:

     The uuencode    The file you        Writes resulting uuencoded
         command.    want to uuencode.   file to the last filename.
               |           |              |
               uuencode filename filename > filename
                                    |          |
Name to be put on the 'begin' line of the    Name of the file that will be
resulting uuencoded file.  This name will    written to disk so as to not
be given to the file when it is uudecoded.   overwrite the original file.

  To compress a file:

  For Unix compress:

o Type: compress filename

  For Gzip:

o Type: gzip filename

  To zip compress a number of files into one .zip file, use the following
syntax at the prompt:

        zip filename1 filename2 filename3
         |        |             |______|______|
    Command.   Name for file.   Files to be zipped, can be any number.

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

21 How do I view animations and color images?

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

  To view an animation or color pic:

o Type: cat filename

  You can view a compressed file without decompressing it.

  To view a .Z compressed file:

o Type: zcat filename

  To view a .gz compressed file:

o Type: gzcat filename

  To slow down an animation:

o Type: cat -u filename

  Note: Host system 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 and ASCII Art Reference (the Web version
of the FAQ) 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:

o Name the file you want to be used as: .plan

o Put it in the top level of your home folder.

o Make your home folder 'world readable' by typing: chmod 711 .

o Make your plan world readable by typing: chmod 644 .plan

  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.  For
example, 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, PINs.
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, using pico editor, press control-r when you want to insert
the sig, and then type the name (or full pathname) of the file to be
inserted, using vi, ex, ed, the command is ":r <filename>", using
emacs, it's control-x control-r <filename>.

  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 a Unix system, the process is usually as easy as:

  For posts:

  If you are using most newsreaders:

o Name the file you want to be used as ".signature"

o 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.

  If you are using tin:

o Make a folder in the top level of your home folder called ".Sig".

o Fill it with sigs.

  The files in that folder will be used randomly by tin when
  selecting a sig for your post.  You can call the folder something
  other than ".Sig", but you must change the 'signature path' line
  in your tinrc in your .tin folder.

  To have a file included above your random sig:

o Make a file in the top level of your home folder called ".sigfixed".

  For email:

o Name the file you want to be used as ".signature"

o 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:

  If you're using Elm for your email, and elm doesn't pick up your sig:

o You need to put the following in ypur elmrc:

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

  If you don't have an elmrc yet:

o Open Elm

o Press the 'o' key to get to the options screen.

o Press the '>' to save your configuration.

o Press 'i' to go back to the index.

o Quit.

  This will create the elmrc file in the .elm folder.

  If you're using Pine (with Pico) for your email:

o Place the following in your .pinerc file:


  If you're using vm (in emacs) for your email:

o 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

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 Dicussion 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.
Animation - Animation.  Usually uuencoded.
    Color - ANSI Color image.  Usually uuencoded.
      3-D - Three dimensional art.
     Font - Alphabets and Figlet fonts.
   Binary - Binaries (software like Figlet and Gifscii). Usually uuencoded.
      Big - Wider than 80 columns and-or longer than 24 lines).

   Repost - Repost of a previously posted pic, not new art.
  Request - Request for a picture, Figletized name, sig, etc.

     Talk - General discussion, no pics included.
 Question - A question concerning any of the ASCII art topics.
   Answer - An answer to a question asked by a poster.
     Info - Web URLs, email addresses, Gopher and FTP sites, font lists,etc
 Announce - Announcements of events, new sites, Web pagse, etc.

      FAQ - Used for the weekly posting of Frequently Asked Questions

  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 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

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.  Most
  newsreaders will let you re-read news you've already seen.

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

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
  newsgroups news.announce.newusers and news.newusers.questions.

  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.

  Be an Art Detective.

  Let's say you're reading another group, say, rec.nonsense, and
while reading the posts, you see a pic or sig.  You would like an
easy way to show it to us on rec.arts.ascii, without saving it,
quiting from rec.nonsense, going to rec.arts.ascii, starting a post,
inserting the pic or sig, quiting your newsreader, deleting it, etc.

  It's easy to be an Art Detective.  While in the original newsgroup:

o Follow-up the article, making sure it is quoted.

o Replace any newsgroups named in the "Newsgroups:" with "rec.arts.ascii".

o Delete all extraneous materials from the post, leaving the pic or sig.

o Add any commentary you think appropriate.

o Send it.

26 Where is this FAQ available?

  Tha FAQ is available from newsgroups, FTP, Gopher, WWW, finger:

o Newsgroups:

     alt.ascii-art,, alt.ascii-art.animation, 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:
   Items: 3, 3

->  Hast:
   Items: 10, 12, 1

->  Host:
   Items: 3, 3, 858

o World Wide Web:

 ->  URL:
  Select: ASCII ART FAQ (this file)
  Select: ASCII Art Resources (text version with samples of everything)
  Select: ASCII Art Reference (Web version with links to everything)

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

   finger (turn on text capture first)
   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, ASCII Art Resources and ASCII Art Reference (the Web
version of the FAQ) were gratefully received from the following nice

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


    Version: 4.9.2
   Released: April 9, 1996

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