Posts Tagged ‘GIF’

Converting JPEG Images to ASCII Art text (picture) in Microsoft Windows (2000 / XP / Vista / 7)

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Reading Time: 4 minutes

A friend of mine, just mentioned about a program ASCIIPic – capable of converting graphic images in JPEG to plain text ASCII in Microsoft Windows OSes.
Yesterday I blogged about caca-utils (img2txt) – console tool to convert picture graphics to plain text ASCII , so knowing of the Windows freeware ASCIIPic existence catched my attention and I decided to give it a try to get idea what is situation with Images to ASCII text convertion in Windows? 🙂.

1. Generating ASCII from JPEG images with ASCII Pic

As I don't have a Microsoft Windows OS at hand, I downloaded it and run it on my Debian notebook with WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) MS-Windows emulator.

For my surprise the program run succesfuly its GUI interface and worked pretty smooth even emulated on Linux.

ASCII Pic 2.0 JPG PNG GIF to ASCII text MS Windows Convertor screenshot

As of time of writting, the latest version of the freeware program available is 2.0. You see in above screenshot the program is pretty intutive to use. You select an Input file, an Output file and you're ready to Process the image to TXT.
One small note to make here is the program couldn't recognize as Input files images in PNG or GIF formats, it seems the only image formats the program recognizes as input are JPEG and BMP.

ASCII Pic Windows image to ASCII program picture shot

The converted images to ASCII results are quite unsatisfactory, I tried converting few pictures originally in size 1024×768 but the produced ASCII was messy huge (the program didn't automatically set height / width dimensions to 60×80 and therefore, when I revied the produced pictures, they were very ugly and hardly readable. It could be the same image looks better if reviewed in MS-Windows Notepad but I seriously doubt that …

I thought some improvement to the produced ASCII image might be possible from the app options so I played around with the Zoom, Negation, Brightness and Monochrome options, none of them had a drastic change on the output. Using any of the program options didn't make the output TXT "image" to look closer riginal JPEGs..

ASCII Pic 2.0 Windows picture to ASCII Program options screenshot

ASCII Pic official website contains a number of other tiny tools, like WinKill and RemoteShut, however most of the tools are already too obslete and useless just like ASCII Pic

If I have to compare ASCIIPic produced ASCII Images to libcaca's Linux img2txt, asciipic's ASCII images are a piece of crap.

2. jp2a command line tool image to ASCII generator

As of time of writting a good alternative program I found for Windows is jp2a
jp2a is a free GPL-ed software available for all major operating system architectures Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, Windows.
jp2a is a command line tool and lacks any GUI interface but if compared to ASCII Pic the output ASCII image is awesome.

jp2a Windows binary can be downloaded from here , also I've made a mirror of windows jp2a bin in case if it disappears here

3. ASCII Generator 2 (asc2gen) – Windows GUI Images to ASCII generator

ASC 2 Gen is actually the best I can find program to convert images to ascii in Win as of time of writting.
Just like img2txt it generates pretty decent looking text images.

ASC2Gen failed to run emulated on my Linux host with wine version 1.0.1, hence to test it I used a a Windows host via teamviewer.

Below are few screenshots illustrating most of the options ASCII2GEN provides:

asc2gen Microsoft Windows image to ascii generator inverted penguins screenshot

asc2gen penguins in inverted color set (black color text background)

ASC2Gen backhead penguins ascii picture screenshot

ASC2GEN flipped backhed generated image to ASCII

ascii2gen generate images to ascii in colors Microsoft Windows shot

Picture to ASCII text converted with ASCII colors

Dithering Windows image to ascii text generated picture ASCII

ascii2gen dithering level option shot

asc2gen jpeg, png, gif to plain text ascii brightness contrast screenshot pic

asc2gen contrast / brigthness atune shot

ascii2gen penguins converted images to plain text inverted with capital letters for picture

asc2gen save as options shot

Something else nice is it supports a lot of image file formats as input including (BMP and GIF) images.
I've also made a mirror of asc2gen v. 2.0.0 here

While researching online, I found plenty of other Image to ASCII geneartors, however as I didn't tested them I can't say if they are  better ones.
Anyways I will be happy to hear if anyone knows other good ASCII generator alternative progs for Winblows?

Convert single PDF pages to multiple SVG files on Debian Linux with pdf2svg

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In my last article, I've explained How to create PNG, JPG, GIF pictures from one single PDF document
Convertion of PDF to images is useful, however as PNG and JPEG graphic formats are raster graphics the image quality gets crappy if the picture is zoomed to lets say 300%.
This means convertion to PNG / GIF etc. is not a good practice especially if image quality is targetted.

I myself am not a quality freak but it was interesting to find out if it is possible to convert the PDF pages to SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) graphics format.

Converting PDF to SVG is very easy as for GNU / Linux there is a command line tool called pdf2svg
pdf2svg's official page is here

The traditional source way compile and install is described on the homepage. For Debian users pdf2svg has already existing a deb package.

To install pdf2svg on Debian use:

debian:~# apt-get install --yes pdf2svg
...

Once installed usage of pdf2svg to convert PDF to multiple SVG files is analogous to imagemagick's convert .
To convert the 44 pages Projects.pdf to multiple SVG pages – (each PDF page to a separate SVG file) issue:

debian:~/project-pdf-to-images$ for i in $(seq 1 44); do \
pdf2svg Projects.pdf Projects-$i.SVG $i; \
done

This little loop tells each page number from the 44 PDF document to be stored in separate SVG vector graphics file:

debian:~/project-pdf-to-images$ ls -1 *.svg|wc -l
44

For BSD users and in particular FreeBSD ones png2svg has a bsd port in:

/usr/ports/graphics/pdf2svg

Installing on BSD is possible directly via the port and convertion of PDF to SVG on FreeBSD, should be working in the same manner. The only requirement is that bash shell is used for the above little bash loop, as by default FreeBSD runs the csh. 
On FreeBSD launch /usr/local/bin/bash, before following the Linux instructions if you're not already in bash.

Now the output SVG files are perfect for editting with Inkscape or Scribus and the picture quality is way superior to old rasterized (JPEG, PNG) images

Create PNG, JPG, GIF pictures / images from PDF on Linux

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I've received a PDF file with a plan for development of a bundle of projects, My task was to evaluate this plan and give feeback on the 44 pages PDF document.

Since don't know of program to directly be able edit PDF files on GNU / Linux ?, my initial idea was to open and convert the PDF to ODT / DOC with OpenOffice (Libre Office) and then edit the ODT file.
Unfortunately Open Office oowrite program was unable to open / visualize the PDF file. My assumption is OO failure to open the PDF is because the PDF was generated on Microsoft Windows with Adobe illustrator or smth.

The idea that came to my mind as alternative, way to edit the PDF file was to convert it in pictures edit and then convert the pictures to PDF.
In other words to follow these 3 steps:
1. Convert the PDF document to multiple images
2. Edit each of the images with GIMP or Inkscape
3. Convert back all images to a single PDF file

Some time ago, I've written an article how to create PDF file from many image files in JPEG, PNG or GIF on Linux

. This prior article was exactly describing how to complete Step 3.Therefore all left was to find a way to convert the PDF file to multiple JPEG / PNG / GIF images.

convert command to convert PDF document to multiple pictures which you can take from my earlier article is:

$ convert *.jpg outputpdffile.pdf
Actually in Step 1 I was aiming to do the opposite of what I've previously done.

Hence, in order to convert the singe Project.PDF file to multiple PNG images, I just switched convert IN / OUT arguments order.

hipo@noah:~/project-pdf-to-images$ convert Project.pdf Project.png
...

I've done the PDF to pictures conversion on my notebook running Debian Squeeze (6.0.2) GNU / Linux.Convertion of the PDF file to 44 images, took 25 seconds on my dual core 1.8 Ghz / 2GB RAM Thinkpad r61.
Afterwards, I've had at hand 44 PNG files generated, e.g.:

hipo@noah:~/project-pdf-to-images$ ls -al Project-*.png |wc -l
44

convert was also smart enough to produce correct file naming. The output file names were:
Project-1.png
Project-2.png
etc.

Nicely each number (-1.png) was corresponding to the respective PDF page. For instance Project-10.png was corresponding to page 10 of the Projects.PDF file

Rather ironically, after convertion of the PDF to pictures, while opening the Project-1.png, I've noticed The GIMP – (The GNU Image Manipulation Program) is capable of directly reading PDF files. GIMP has both the option to open files in layers or separate images 😉
Anyways even if GIMP is used to modify the different PDF pages as layers, once completed GIMP doesn't have the ability to save the file as PDF and therefore once saved the file if merging of layers is done the resulting picture becomes ONE BIG MESS.
Therefore it seems my the 3 steps way e.g.:

1. convertion PDF to pictures
2. picture edit with GIMP or Inkscape
3. convertion of pictures back to PDF

is still the only way to "modify PDF" in Linux or BSDs. I will be glad to hear if someone has come up with a better solution?