ASCII art

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ASCII art is the fine art of drawing diagrams using the ASCII character set (mainly |, -, /, \, and +). Also known as character graphics or ASCII graphics.

Power supply

   o----)||(--+--|<----+   +---------o + D O
     L  )||(  |        |   |             C U
   A I  )||(  +-->|-+  |   +-\/\/-+--o -   T
   C N  )||(        |  |   |      |        P
     E  )||(  +-->|-+--)---+--|(--+-o      U
        )||(  |        |          | GND    T
   o----)||(--+--|<----+----------+     

A power supply consisting of a full wave rectifier circuit feeding a capacitor input filter circuit.

Silly Examples

  |\/\/\/|     ____/|              ___    |\_/|    ___
  |      |     \ o.O|   ACK!      /   \_  |` '|  _/   \
  |      |      =(_)=  THPHTH!   /      \/     \/      \
  | (o)(o)        U             /                       \
  C      _)  (__)                \/\/\/\  _____  /\/\/\/
  | ,___|    (oo)                       \/     \/
  |   /       \/-------\         U                  (__)
 /____\        ||     | \    /---V  `v'-            oo )
/      \       ||---W||  *  * |--|   || |`.         |_/\   
               //-o-\\
        ____---=======---____
    ====___\   /.. ..\   /___====      Klingons rule OK!
  //        ---\__O__/---        \\
  \_\                           /_/


Rebuses

There is an important subgenre of ASCII art that puns on the standard character names in the fashion of a rebus.


+--------------------------------------------------------+
|      ^^^^^^^^^^^^                                      |
| ^^^^^^^^^^^            ^^^^^^^^^                       |
|                 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^            ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ |
|        ^^^^^^^         B       ^^^^^^^^^               |
|  ^^^^^^^^^          ^^^            ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^      |
+--------------------------------------------------------+
             " A Bee in the Carrot Patch "

Silly Cows

Within humorous ASCII art, there is for some reason an entire flourishing subgenre of pictures of silly cows. Four of these are reproduced in the examples above, here are three more:

         (__)              (__)              (__)
         (\/)              ($$)              (**)
  /-------\/        /-------\/        /-------\/
 / | 666 ||        / |=====||        / |     ||
*  ||----||       *  ||----||       *  ||----||
   ~~    ~~          ~~    ~~          ~~    ~~ 
Satanic cow    This cow is a Yuppie   Cow in love

Train Station

Finally, here's a magnificent example of ASCII art depicting an Edwardian train station in Dunedin, New Zealand:

                                  .-.
                                 /___\
                                 |___|
                                 |]_[|
                                 / I \
                              JL/  |  \JL
   .-.                    i   ()   |   ()   i                    .-.
   |_|     .^.           /_\  LJ=======LJ  /_\           .^.     |_|
._/___\._./___\_._._._._.L_J_/.-.     .-.\_L_J._._._._._/___\._./___\._._._
       ., |-,-| .,       L_J  |_| [I] |_|  L_J       ., |-,-| .,        ., 
       JL |-O-| JL       L_J%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%L_J       JL |-O-| JL        JL 
IIIIII_HH_'-'-'_HH_IIIIII|_|=======H=======|_|IIIIII_HH_'-'-'_HH_IIIIII_HH_
-------[]-------[]-------[_]----\.=I=./----[_]-------[]-------[]--------[]-
 _/\_  ||\\_I_//||  _/\_ [_] []_/_L_J_\_[] [_] _/\_  ||\\_I_//||  _/\_  ||\
 |__|  ||=/_|_\=||  |__|_|_|   _L_L_J_J_   |_|_|__|  ||=/_|_\=||  |__|  ||-
 |__|  |||__|__|||  |__[___]__--__===__--__[___]__|  |||__|__|||  |__|  |||
IIIIIII[_]IIIII[_]IIIIIL___J__II__|_|__II__L___JIIIII[_]IIIII[_]IIIIIIII[_]
 \_I_/ [_]\_I_/[_] \_I_[_]\II/[]\_\I/_/[]\II/[_]\_I_/ [_]\_I_/[_] \_I_/ [_]
./   \.L_J/   \L_J./   L_JI  I[]/     \[]I  IL_J    \.L_J/   \L_J./   \.L_J
|     |L_J|   |L_J|    L_J|  |[]|     |[]|  |L_J     |L_J|   |L_J|     |L_J
|_____JL_JL___JL_JL____|-||  |[]|     |[]|  ||-|_____JL_JL___JL_JL_____JL_J 


The next step beyond static tableaux in ASCII art is ASCII animation. There are not many large examples of this; perhaps the best known is the ASCII animation of the original Star Wars movie at http://www.asciimation.co.nz/.

There is a newsgroup, alt.ascii-art, devoted to this genre.

This article is based, in whole or in part, on entry or entries in the Jargon File.

See Also