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ASCII and HTML art has long been a time consuming, but much rewarding geeky art form. The process consists of recreating an image or scene by solely using respectively plain or colored text characters.

The images which this results in serves little practical purpose other than retro entertainment. The scenes that can be rendered using these techniques are often nothing short of astounding.

This once tedious process has long since been simplified for the common human being as well. Everyone can now create incredibly looking text art in just seconds.

For this article, we would like to focus on online services to convert images to text. With the two sites we’ll discuss below, you can upload your own images, and convert them to ASCII, HTML and even Matrix text art.

Photo2Text

Photo2Text quickly converts any picture to ASCII art. After selecting and uploading a picture of your choice, the site will select characters to convert your images to text. The detail that this technique can render is amazing.

convert images to text

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After rendering, you’ll be shown a first example of the ASCII art, as demonstrated below. After choosing a nickname for the project, you’ll have the possibility of applying different character sets and tweaking the brightness. When you’re happy with the results, you can download the ASCII art as a text file to your computer.

converting images to text

TEXT-IMAGE

The next site does more than just convert images to text, it also offers three wholly different varieties; HTML, ASCII and Matrix.

The ASCII conversion is very similar to that of the preceding site; the image will be converted to ASCII art, with characters chosen to resemble the contents of the image. Unlike with Photo2Text, you can’t specify different character sets, but the other options more than compensate for this lacking.

Apart from black text on a white background, you can also opt for different color combinations, as well as a different image width (to render more detail) and enhanced contrast.

Screen shot 2009-12-17 at 18.34.48

Matrix conversion is a spin on the standard ASCII conversion. It uses an alien-like Matrix font, and renders green text on a black background, creating an impressive science fiction scene.

More interesting however is the HTML conversion. Instead of trying to mimic the image contents, this conversion simply repeats a random, or otherwise specified string of characters. Your picture is then replicated by text coloring. The algorithm might be a little simpler, but it delivers interesting results. You can again specify an image width to attain that extra detail, as well as pick an alternative background color. If you want, you can also render your image in greyscale or monochrome and apply extra contrast.

Since the image is rendered in HTML, it does not always show very well in different browsers. Prior to conversion, you can specify which browser you’re using to get the best results.

Screen shot 2009-12-17 at 18.37.57

These are but two services to convert images to text art. If you know of any other online or offline apps, please share them with us in the comments section below!

  1. Chris
    December 24, 2009 at 3:21 pm

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