Sites & Services: ASCII Art


Have you ever seen ASCII art before?  It is an arrangement of ASCII characters in a kind of mosaic fashion, using certain characters and possibly colour combinations to best represent it’s real image counterpart.  These characters are familiar to those who have used DOS, and indeed some games used to use an entire array of ASCII characters to represent in-game objects eg. the game Bugs.

ASCII (short for American Standard Code for Information Interchange) is a character set that contains the basic characters that we are familiar with in the first 4 out of 8 bits of information that make up ASCII (each character has a corresponding binary number in the ASCII character lookup table).  The visible characters fall into the first 128 (there are special invisible control characters, too). For a view of the characters/values contained in the ASCII table, see here:

ASCII has been a recognised art form for quite a while and the detail of the art work varies, depending on the characters, their size and width of columns (even colour) used.  What can be produced is pretty impressive and if you were to manually try doing this (as you’ll soon see) it would probably take hours – or even into the days!

Using one of the following online ASCII generators is a fun and easy way to produce some art that you could really appreciate (and show off to your friends).


With this service, you can select the following image format output:
image imageimage

Select one of the links above and upload an image to the service.  The art at the top of this article was the result of uploading my avatar image:

Text-Image Features:

  • You can upload BMP, GIF, JPG and PNG from your PC’s hard drive.
  • You can choose which characters to include in the art and whether they randomly occur throughout.
  • Font size selection: Smallest Small Normal Large Largest
  • Image width/column selection: (1-500) characters
  • Colour scheme: Colour/Grayscale/Monochrome
  • Background colour
  • Extra contrast option
  • Web browser selection for compatibility

Here is the URL:


A couple of other services are:


With the site’s sample image:

You can wind up with:

Lady Portrait - ASCII
(Click to enlarge)

Colour HTML
Lady Portrait - HTML
(Click to enlarge)

  • ASCII/Colour HTML Code (looks great on the default supplied image)
  • Character selection (so you aren’t stuck with just certain ones)
  • You can invert colours (only with ASCII)
  • Doesn’t allow upload from PC (but if you uploaded the desired image to, say your flickr account, you could use that URL)
  • You can specify the column width (ie. how many characters wide)
  • Works well with images up to 640 x 480

Here is the URL:

ACSII Art Generator


We will get the following result…

ascii Cat
(Click to enlarge) – I cropped this one on a bit

  • Works well with large images
  • You can select column width and font size
  • You can upload images from your PC as well as URLs
  • You only generate black and white (or inverse)

Here is the URL:
ASCII Art Generator

Some bonuses

ASCII-rendered Matrix fight scene – very cool!
This is an actual motion picture of a fight scene between Neo and Agent Smith:

Free Customisable Matrix-style screen saver:
Matrix Screen Saver


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