Jonathan


Ascgen dotNET 0.9.5 released – Dithering and more 4

** Download it here **

Internal design changes, and some cool new stuff.

Dithering
Thanks to an great idea sent to me through sourceforge, the program now comes with the ability to run a dithering filter over the output.

Why would you want this? Well, the text output is like having an image with a small palette of colours. Adding noise to the output helps to blend the different greyscale colours together and produces a result that is (hopefully) more pleasing the eye. There’s also a random element which weights the dithering and helps hide the pattern.

Check out the wikipedia article for more information on the theory behind this topic.

Translation file changes
The program will now automatically load a translation file if one (and only one) is in the same directory as the executable. The filename has to be in the format translation.*.xml with * being the language code (although at the moment it doesn’t matter what you put there). For an example, here’s the American translation file: translation.en-us.xml

The full list of untranslated strings is here:
http://ascgen2.cvs.sourceforge.net/*checkout*/ascgen2/ascgen2/translation.xml

Text Widget
The brightness/contrast and levels widgets have been merged into one new widget, using tabs to switch between them and a new control for adjusting the dithering levels.
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Colour ASCII Art tips, Localization Example and more 6

Colour ASCII Art
Since I’ve been playing around with the colour image output a lot in the last few months, I thought I’d share a few tips.

1) The way the output is displayed using characters gives the effect that the colours look lighter then they should. Adjust the image brightness and contrast to make the input darker and have the colours stand out more, or with inverted (i.e. white text on black) output make it lighter. Hopefully I’ll come up with a way to compensate for this automatically.

2) I think that having the colour output with the text inverted looks much better then with the normal white background.

3) Try removing the space and punctuation from the valid characters for the ramp (”Edit/Ramps/Valid Characters…”).

I might try to do a tutorial for colour output.

Localization
Here’s an example translation file to localize the program into American English. Save it to the same directory as the exe file and call it translation.xml.
http://www.jmsoftware.co.uk/files/translation.xml

The full list is here: http://ascgen2.cvs.sourceforge.net/*checkout*/ascgen2/ascgen2/translation.xml
History: http://ascgen2.cvs.sourceforge.net/ascgen2/ascgen2/translation.xml?view=log

Other
Some people complained, so if you don’t want the program checking for a new version each time it starts up (which just tries to grab a tiny xml file from the sourceforge page) you can now turn it off without leaving the program. Go to ‘Edit/Edit Settings…’ and uncheck the ‘New Version Check’ box, then press ‘Ok’ and go to ‘Edit/Save Settings as Default’.

I considered having it turned off as default since I added the manual version check (’Help/Check for a New Version’), but who would turn it on?

Also, please consider donating if you enjoy this program, or at least help spread the word about it. Having the external links removed from Wikipedia ASCII Art pages really hurt the traffic to this site (and the money per ad click has gone down the toilet).


Ascii Generator dotNET 0.9.1 released 12

Bug fix (which has literally been there forever), plus a whole new way of choosing how to save the files.

Download it here

Changes:
Added toolstrip with buttons to rotate and flip the input image
Replaced the different save menu items with a dialog
Set Accept (enter) and Cancel (escape) buttons for edit settings and text magnification forms
Fixed ctrl codes being enabled/disabled when they shouldn't be if the menu hasn't been opened

Translation file changes are here.


Ascii Generator dotNET 0.9.0 Released! 4

Download it here

Check out the previous post for details about how to translate the program into other languages. If you do a translation, please let me know so I can add it for other people to use.

Changes:
Improved speed of applying convolution matrix (used in output filters)
Added saving to an image with colour
For images with transparency, the transparent area is now black if output was inverted on load
Changed to no longer prompt to save after saving as an image
Added colour print and print preview
Added loading resource strings from an xml file
Added translation filename to the variables and settings file
Added form to change some basic settings in the program
Improved speed of automatically generating ascii ramps
Moved updating the settings into the Variables class
Moved processing xml nodes into a new class
Added saving as a nfo file
Localized the batch conversion log
Removed depreciated Hidden property from the widgets
Moved saving the settings into the Variables class
Changed the settings file to read and write to settings.xml
Fixed Ramp dropdown box being cut off
Moved Brightness/Contrast controls into a separate control
Replaced brightness/contrast textboxes with numeric up down boxes
Added saving as colour text and images in a batch conversion
Added a menu item to check for a new version

Fixed current output directory changing back to the default directory after saving
Added right-click menu item to reset the brightness/contrast widgets


Next version: Globalization + Save and Print Colour Images 2

Just as a heads-up, the next version of the program will include the ability to translate it into whatever language you want (or change words to make them sound rude).

Originally I planned to use the inbuilt globalization stuff, but it’s unbelievable how complex it makes everything. Instead I’ve come up with my own easy system that piggybacks on the existing resource class and loads the strings from an external xml file.

The current full list of translation strings is here:
http://ascgen2.cvs.sourceforge.net/*checkout*/ascgen2/ascgen2/translation.xml

You can use any or all of these by translating the strings inside the tags.

It will also finally come with saving to colour image files, and printing in colour. Which was much harder then the translation stuff.

I’m not sure whether to have the version number as 0.8.3 or 0.9.0. Maybe 0.8.5?

Plus, I’ve changed http://www.jmsoftware.co.uk/ into a blog so I can start posting more off topic stuff without cluttering this one up, and I hope to start posting regularly soon. It also hosts a few random little programs.


Ascii Generator dotNET Beta 8.1 released 4

Download it here

Changes:
Added maximum width and height to the variables and settings file
Restored clicking and dragging outside the image to start selection
Added checkbox, menu item and F12 shortcut to toggle image visibility
Added link to the tutorials page
Added the currently open filename to the title
Added dragging and dropping an image onto the RichTextBox to load it
Added pressing escape while dragging/moving selection rectangle to cancel changes
Cleaned up and refactored JMSelectablePictureBox a little
Added holding shift while selecting to constrain it to a perfect square

I’ve also updated the tutorial for the new interface:
http://ascgendotnet.jmsoftware.co.uk/ascgen-dotnet-tutorial-1-creating-an-ascii-image


Beta 8.0 released 5

Download it here

I’ve gotten rid of the tabs, and put the input and output images on the same bit so they’re both viewable all the time. I’ve been playing with it for a few weeks, and you get used to it.

Added printing and print preview. Currently it prints to one page, and uses as much of the paper as available.

Right click on the input image, and you can rotate and flip it.

Full changes:
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