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Tips by Sean Gugler

Date: Wed, 13 Apr 94 22:05:18 PDT
From: sean_starlight_smos_com (Sean Gugler)

Random bits of advice for the would-be ascii artist:
(I'll leave it to you to sort and include in the FAQ if/where necessary;
 paraphrase and edit as necessary.  No credit needed.)

* Mark your boundaries.

    Before working too much on any one area, put place markers on the
most visually significant points, so you can set up a framework for
the rest of the image.  This includes vertices, boundaries, and
divisions of high contrast.

* High detail areas

    Be creative, remember all the characters and their line
properties.  Don't feel obligated to stick too precisely to the model,
if you're working from one, since ascii hardly ever cooperates well.
Use the shapes you have to approximate the general shape.

Some often-useful shapes:

 j   t   f   k   l   t   r   U   n   ^   v   F   T   X   7

Avoid &, as different fonts look VERY different for this character.


* Line thickness

    Thin lines tend to look jagged.  Thicker lines offer better
directional control.

                                                  .od8o
           ___,-.                          ..oodOOOP~~Y8b
_____,---'~      `-.   vs          ..oodOOOOOP~~~      88
                   |            dOOOOOP~~~~           d8P
                  .'                                 88P
                  |                                  Y8o

* Contrast

    When filling large areas, or adjoining two filled areas, make
use of different weights.

...  +++  ***  CCC  OOO  888  @@@
...  +++  ***  CCC  OOO  888  @@@
...  +++  ***  CCC  OOO  888  @@@


* Step back

    Do this very often.  Step back and survey the work.  Glaring
misalignments up close are often muted when the whole picture is taken
into account.  Use this to advantage, where the big picture needs a
slight adjustment; making an "awful" deviation just might work when
you step back.

* Alignment

    Don't be afraid to distort the picture by a half-character if
you'll get better alignment for the effect you're trying to achieve.

              ___           _~~~|           _"""|
 ,--.        /  |          -    |      or  -    |
/   |           |__             ~~~_            """_
    `--.           \                -               -
        \                          fuzzy look
              angular look
rounded look

* Horizontal lines

    Easy to shift slightly because of _ and - characters, with convenient
"glue" characters ( , ' ` . )  Some suggestions:

---------
____-----
      ___
___---
      __,
__,--'  _
    _,-'_
_,-'  _-
    _-
  _-

* Vertical lines

     Much harder to vary smoothly than horizontal lines.  Some suggestions:

|   |    |    |  //    //   /    /     ,'
|   [    [   /   //   //   /   ,'    ,'
|   [   ]    |  //   //   /   /    ,'
|  ]    |   /   //   //  /  ,'   ,'
|  ]    [   |  //   //  /  /   ,'
|  |   ]   /   //  //  / ,'  ,'


* Exercises

     Convert these crude images into ascii masterpieces!  (or study some
example "refinements")

 /-----\        .-v=='.
 | o o |       {| a a |}
 |  o  |        |  >  |
 | \_/ |        `.`-','
 \-----/          `v'


    X             A.
   XXX           AAA:.
  XXXXX         AAAAA::.
 XXXXXXX       AAAAAAA:::.
XXXXXXXXX     AAAAAAAAA:'

    ______                   o
\  /      \    \.  _-(((-_  o
 \/      O \    \\/((((((o\
 /\        /    //\(((((( /
/  \______/    /'  ~-(((-~



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