"ASCII" stands for the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, and is a set of numbers, letters, and symbols that are generally accepted as the basic English character set. "Art" is the creation of the beautiful by way of various forms. So, the combination of the two sounds a little scary: making the beautiful from ASCII symbols! Fear not, though: ASCII art has a long if not glorious history, and is well-loved amongst veteran Internet users. Well-loved, that is, if you like it when people flood IRC channels with ASCII art to say hello their friends.

Although it's hard to argue that ASCII art has a valuable place in our society, it does at least contain an interesting problem for us: can we write a script to convert pictures to ASCII art? The answer is, naturally, "of course!" However that's hardly fun: let's take a look at what we need to do to write such a script...


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