Image to Text Converter and Fun with Matt Cutts

Categories: ASCII, text art, Tools
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Published on: June 10, 2007

I came across a nice free tool that converts images to ASCII. It is called Photo2Text.com and produces very decent results. I have looked at a bunch of such converters since the early nineties and the results can vary a lot, depending on the quality of the algorithm that has to decide which text character is the best to get it as close to the original as it possibly can.

I was never a fan on image to text converters. Mostly because those converters were and are often used by guys who are cheats and try to “sell” converted images as their own creation, as in made from scratch and by hand. Real pieces of ASCII art are being created without the use of any special tools other than editors that allow to assign text characters to specific keys on the keyboard and let you easier move around to change individual characters (“insert” off and the ability to move with the cursor to the right without the need to create “spaces” manually first). A number of different tools are available for download at my site.

Anyhow, I take the converters as what they are, a nice tool to have fun with, nothing serious. Nothing is wrong with good old fashioned fun. The only person who is serious about it, is the coder who spent his time figuring out how to produce the best possible result.

To demonstrate the quality of the Photo2Text.com converter, did I use an image of the Google engineer Matt Cutts, who has a blog where he talks to webmasters about SEO and search engine spam (and his pet, a cat). I had my arguments with him a bunch of times, so it just right for me to use him as guinea pig and demonstration object hehe.

You can see the GIF image of him, which I used to the right. I optimized it a bit to increase the contrast for better result. I also made sure that there is not too much going on, like stuff in the background, which would overload the picture and harder to get an ASCII back where you can identify anything.

The tool lets you choose from eight different character sets to be used for the converted image.

Set 1:  @#MBHA&Gh93X25Sisr;:,.
Set 2: @#MBHA&Gh93X25Sisr;:,.__
Set 3: #WMBRXVYIti+=;:,.
Set 4: #Xx+=-;,.
Set 5: @%#*+=-:.
Set 6: #¥®Ø$ø0o°+=-,.
Set 7: 01
Set 8: █▓▒░

An interesting and rare feature is the “slider” to adjust the image’s “brightness”. It is more than just a gimick and you should play around with it, because it can improve results significantly if you increase or decrease it, depending on the original image.

Also nice, the option to save the final ASCII to your computer. Okay, lets have a look at the results for the Matt Cutts image.

First Version using Character Set: @#MBHA&Gh93X25Sisr;:,.

I used the default “brightness”, which is a bit darker. For that reason is the face also filled with characters.

                                ..,ri52G@@HXX2i;::;:                                    
rAr;@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@#i,
,iH@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@Mr
.r@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@s.
.i#@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@;
,h@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@r
.s@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@r
.2@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@2
X@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@,
:#@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@S
:#@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@X
3@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@r
s@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@H
&@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@;
H@@@@@HG#@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@A
A@@@@G2i9@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@#@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@.
,@@@Gi552#@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@;
[email protected]@@@M#@@@#@@@@@@@#@##@@@@@@##MM##@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@s
[email protected]#@@@@@@#@@@@@@@####@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@#@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@3
[email protected]#@###@@GH@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@H
[email protected];r;;;sii;,:iXA@@@@@@@@@@#952A@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@M
;#299XX2225issrrr;::;;, ;h2;rrs2Xisrr2A##@@@@M@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@2
,Ah3XXXX52225isiSiiiiSisr:,,,,:::::rsiSih##M@@@#@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@r
.3AXXXXX25522iiSiSissrsSs;::;;rsrrsii22i3@@#@@@#@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@G
5G522XX2iSX5i55iis;;;;rr;;rsss55sSXSiS22H@@#@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@s
:hX2SsiSisi52Sii5rr;;;r;;rrSi55555Siiii52@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@H,
.GMA3Siisiiii5Siisrr;;;rrrrrsi52552SSSSS522B@@M#@@@###@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@#,
;@@@#XSS5iisriisr;ssrsrrsssrrri2252X5555SSSrX@@###@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@h
;r;X@@@@@@M#BG5iirsirrs2iSSsisr;:rsiS55225SSiiSssS&@@@##@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@r
.@@#; ,A@@@@@@@H9&32&h3XX2S5SSXh3irssi52XX5S25522SiSG@@@@@@#@@@@@@M2ssSXA@@M,
H; ;#@@@A#@@@#95G@@@@@@@@#@@##AAAhh2SXX22iSSSX3X&@@@@@@@@@A2Sr:;[email protected]
s;. ,hH@#hXA@@@#&9G9&B@@@@@@@@@@@#M##AX3hX3hHHM#M#@@@@@@@@9:.:sSSi52Ss2Bs
s: iA3G&B#@@@3S5A#5ri2SA@@@@@M##@@#@@@@#HAGX222S5B@@@@#@@5;i2; :[email protected]
;2,,3AGG&[email protected];sH@@&[email protected];;;;rsiSSi2M##@[email protected]@B
,ihAHAh&h223XisisS23922hBBAh32i23r;s;;;;;::rS52X22H@@@@@AhHMGr;XXiGXs@@
;#AXX2X29GXisSirri22ssS2XXX2S53irrsiisrr;rS2523X2XBHA##hiX3; :iSi2i#@;
rA2522553X5i5X2isrri22555XhhX5SrsissiissiS222XXXX22X9AHhsS2:;[email protected]
SM22252XAh22X33X25irrsiSiiiisr;;rrrrriiS25XXXX3hXXhGAHB&[email protected]
5B225S2GX2i55XG&A&9SiiSisrrrrssssrrsiiS22X33XXXXX9h&AMMA3i;;[email protected]
2M2X5S2XS;;iS5XXXhhX22XXisiiiiiiiiSSSS52222XX22XXX3AAH#H9i;;[email protected]
SBXX2Xh35SXX225SiXAG22X25Siiii55522Sii5S52223XX93X9G&[email protected]
r#BA&M@@#HAA&M#AAH&2sS2Siiiiii222222Sii5SS529G9399&hHM#3;;[email protected]
.3#M#@@@@@M@@@@@HXiiiisiissrii5255552SS2X293hh2XGA&ABMB@#&A#@@h
:@[email protected]@###HAAXX25SSSisriis5555SS522X3hh&hhGGAAABMM@@HB@#:
:##&HAG9#@@Ah9GAA&&G&hG&3XSiiiiS5225523X9h93XXG&[email protected]
,A@#MHAX522is2&AB#BGHHGAG22sssS5S522233999X393GA&BMHH##H&[email protected]
rBHH#@@@#MA9939ABBMMBAAA9XSssi5SSS523X3h99GG&AAAHBHB#MBHH@@
,@B9hA&HM@@@@#&&AHHH##&A#AiiSiii525239hh99&AAAHHHHMMMBBB#@@
:@@MA9Xi2AHG3XX3G&5rSG&G&92isiS522Xh9339hG&AABHAAHMMMHHM#@@
,@@@M##AAA&&&&HAhisiii3HA9X52222XXX9&hhG3&HAHAAHABBHBHAM#@@
r@@#M@@@@@@#BA33XXGh9&B@#9hG923h933399&AAAABHAHHBBMHBBB#@@
r@@AGH####BA3X52ABMBAM@#AA9GGhG93XXhh9AAGAHAA#MBMMAB##@@@
H@#HG9G32X3X5SS9BABMB###GhhGh223X3hhGG&AHAHHBBBHAAM##@@#
;#@@A9&AA&h39hhhBBAHHHM#Ah333XX9X99AAAAAAHHHAHHAHHM##@@#
B@@#A&B#H9XAHBGABHAAH#B&3XXhGhh99&AAAAAHBHAAA&&HHM#BB@&
,#@@@[email protected]@@@@@AXhGh&AAA&AHAAABHAHAA&&ABHBMMh2G:
X@@@@@@@###@@@@@@@@@#&XGGGG&HHAAAAAAAA&AGGGG&AAHBAXsSs.
sB@@@@@@@@@@@@#B&X2XG&&AGGHHABB&AAA&&G3GAG3ABA&XS5s;
:BH#@@#BAGX2SSX3XG&AAGAA&AAAAG&&&9hGXX99G&BMAXSs;.
.5S2GM##MAhAHAAAHHHAAHA&AA&GAAhh9X3993XG9&BG2i;.
.9Xr;ri@@@@BB#MMHA&&AAGG&AAh39hXX3X333GAG2r;.
:hh3ir;;ri@@@#BAHAGAAAA&hhh9XX222XX9h9Ahs,.
;XXA35srr;rrS9ABMHBAG&&h332S2X25X22XX9h&9S,
,si239X5ir;rsii5239X2X2SSS55iSSSS2X39GG3X;.
:i2XX5irrrsiisiSiiiiiii55555Si23992sr:,
:sri55isrrssiiiiSSiS522222i53225ir:
.;r;rSSisrrsiiiiSSS5255225S2Sssr;.
,;;rsiSsrrrsssssssiisiSSsrsis,
.,:;sssssrssrsssssrssssir,.

Now a different version using the

Block ASCII Character Set: █▓▒░

I also increased the “brightness” so that the face does not require as much characters. It makes it look much cleaner IMO.

                                   ░░                                              
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The 3rd version of the ASCII uses the Character Set: #WMBRXVYIti+=;:,.
I continued to use the higher brightness to make the look of the ASCII more clean and sharp.

I also inverted the colors to have white characters on black background, which is closer to the look and feel of MS DOS. MS DOS used a gray font on black background, but I did not try to make it authentic. I was more going after the looks of it.

                               +###################WI                                  
;B#############################B
#####################################R
############################################
X################################################V
t####################################################I
Y###################W######################M############V
####################################WW###########WW########:
######################################################W#######
############################W##################BWWMW#######M#####
#############################WW########W#########WW#################
######W########################W#############################MW######
######W#############################W################################M
####Wt;X#####################W##################W##########W##########
###W; ,#####################W##WBM############WW##########B##########t
X##; X###WW#############M#####################W###W################B
#I ;W#MVR##WR######MRBRRMWW##WBRVVXBMWWW####WM############W######B
# :X##M###XB####BBRRRRBBM#######WMWWMMMBBWM####WM#######MBM#####
# .: ;VBRXR#M;tR#################W#######WW#WW#####W######W######
V ,: ;B########BX: +B#MM##W#######################.
+ ,:. . iRRMBMMV#########W#############
.. . :BVVWWWXB#####################M
; .B#BM##B##MW###WMW########WM##
, t#WXW###########W#########M##
=RMMWW#W###W############MW##=
++. Y#MYRBW#BRRM###########WW##+
+##V W#RRXBW###WWMW############
=####WIVt, =BW#RR####WW######MW####X
# ,#######+ : . ;B#####BM#####Y +M#+
YM##+RBMWV. ,R######WVXBYI::;,, ..=M#######Mi :R
iWX:.+W##X;,:,;I#########WRYYRR+ ., ,itYXVB#####M##, i
;.;=YRM#W, =R +####BYXRMBX###WV+=, Y####R#M : V
=;;=i;:Bi t##= =VRXi. IM: == VBBWBMY. i; :. ,#
:++:=; . ., :IIi:. . t#####+,iI : WX
;: . :; . .. ItiRR; X#
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= .+: ,: :;iII= ., . #
; ;. :;=; . ::=iYVi. : #
= :, .,+iIXi. +#
; :. +: ,..:. ,;+YB #
=i==Y##V+=+=YRi+t; ,;:.::=:tYX .X#,
IIR####WYM#W#Wt. ,.:: .=+=iIVIRY:;Y##
VVtXXXMVVMXVRti+ .::=;:=;i+iIVYMRiIMV
iV=ti;:X#Mi:,;ii;;:;.,, ,::, .;=++iIXVRY;iM
XXVt+. =+IRI:ii:;, ..,,,.,:,;i=IVtIXXt=t#;
+itRMWWRYi:,.,+IIYYI+++. . .:,:;;=+i+IIIYXVItI#i
Yt,:i=tV####V==iIttRV=iV; .,::::=i+iIItIVVYYIIV#+
R#Yi:. it;. ..;+ ;=;;. :,.,::;=+iIIt+tVVYtIVR#=
i##YVX++i====t+: .t+, ,=;:;,+tiItiI+IIIItiYR#i
Y#RYM#WBWWXI+,. ;:,=YBV.,, .,,,.,,,=+i+iIt+ttIYYtYIIR#V
R#+;IXXRRY+, iIYI+V#R+=,;;:;:.. ;:,i+=+t+iXYIVViIVXW#i
,WVt=:;. ., ,IiIYIRXX;::;; . ,::;==itittIYItiiVXRW#;
t#Bi:+i++:.::::YIiIttVXi;,., .,.::+++++itttittitIVVVM#;
.##Vi=IXt:.+tY;+Iti+tRI=...:;;:::=++++iIItiii+=tIYVYIX
=##BYIXt;+iXMItYVMMM#M+.:=:=++i=+t+iiIIiti+==iYtIYY:
YW####MBVBW########B=.;;;;=tti+iii+i+=+==;;=titIt
;############RY= ;=+i=;ttiYI=+++==;,;+=.+Ii=.
;+X##RY+;. , ;=+i;+i++ti+====,;; .::=+IV+
;VRXY+;+ti+itttiiti=+t+;++:;:.,::,.=:=I;
=XW##MYYRVYt++=++=;=i+:.:: ,.,.,;+;
. ;RMW#RIit+=++++=:::,. .:::+:
= ,+YYIY+;==:.. ::;,
., ,:;;
.,,

Last but not least the “Geek Version” using only 0 and 1. Well, Matt Cutts is an engineer and geek and probably loving this version the most hehe.

                               1000000000000000000001                                  
10000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0000011100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00001 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
1001 100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
01 100010000000000000000000000001110000000000000000000000000000000
0 11000000100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0 110010001100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
1 100000000001 1000000000000000000000000000000
1 1000000100000000000000000000000
011000100000000000000000000000
1 00000000000000000000000000000
10010000000000000000000000000
10000000000000000000000000001
11 1001000000000000000000000001
1001 00001000000000000000000000
100000111 1000000000000000000000001
0 00000001 1 100000000000001 1001
1000100001 0000000010011111 10000000001 10
101 100001 1 110000000000011001 11101000000000 1
1 1110000 10 1000001100000000111 10000000 1 1
111111 01 1001 11011 101 11 1000001 11 1 0
111 11 1111 1000001 11 1 01
11 1 111001 00
111 10
1 1 111111 0
1 1 1111 111111 1 0
1 11111 10
1 1 1110 0
111110011111101111 1 1 111 10
110000001000001 11111110111100
1111110110110111 11111111111001101
111111 1001 11111 1 1111110101110
11111 1110111111 11111111111101
1110000011 111111111 11111111111111101
11 1111100001111111011111 11111111111111101
0011 111 11 1111 111111111111111001
100111111111111 11 11 1 111111111111111001
1001000000111 11 1101 11111111111111111001
00111111011 1111110011 1111 11 1111111111111111001
0111 1 1111101111 11 1111111111111111110001
1001 1111 11 1111111111 111111111111111111001
00111111 1111111111011 111 111111111111111111111
10001111111001111000001 1 1111111111111111111111111
100000001000000000001 111111111111111111111111111
1000000000000011 111111111111111111 111 1111
111000111 1111111111111111 11 11111
1101111111111111111111111111 1 111
1100001101111111111111 111
1000001111111111 1 1
1 111111111 1
11

Pretty cool, eh? Go check out Photo2Text.com yourself and have fun with it.

It’s fun. I actually had that much fun, that I am thinking of creating a little gallery with people in the search engine marketing space in ASCII format. Maybe even people from the affiliate marketing industry. This would maybe bring some people closer to the subject of text art and make them realize that you can do amazing things with something as simple as plain text.

Too bad that the converter does not support ANSI, to create colored version of an image. Maybe they develop a version in the future that supports that.

The history of text art dates back hundreds, if not even thousands of years and were not an invention that came with the computer as many people tend to believe. The first “modern” text art was created on typewriters, which are around for well over 100 years.

I also blogged in the past about things like ASCII animations, called ASCIImation. The music video example that was made up entirely of text was cool too.

Cheers!

Carsten aka Roy/SAC

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Welcome , today is Saturday, December 10, 2016