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Turn Your Photos into Gibberish — How to Convert Photos into ASCII Art

If you’re old-skool like us, you remember hurrying home from school, heading straight for your room, and hunching over your keyboard to log into your favorite MUD, slay dragons, and find treasure.

It was a simpler time. A time when computers didn’t have fancy graphics and candy-colored buttons, and if they wanted to show you a cranky green ogre, they didn’t use CG. They used our friends “|”, “\”, “/”, and “.”

Miss it? Well pop in an Air Supply cassette and surf over to Photo2text. Upload a photo and shiny metal robots turn it into in-stant ASCII. Retro-spiff.

High-contrast photos work best, and your file has to be smaller than 200K. Make a few high-tech adjustments, then take it low-fi at Photo2text.

Convert Photos to ASCII Art at Photo2Text

p.s. Want more ASCII art? Check out Christopher Johnson’s ASCII Art Collection, featuring the always-popular “Naked Ladies” section [Maybe not safe for work.. but people, it's ASCII!] And don’t miss the ASCII Art Dictionary or Joan Stark’s ASCII art. If that last page doesn’t take you back, nothing will. It uses java!!

p.p.s. Mac user? Check this out: you can play Quicktime movies as ASCII movies!

Photo Credit: Reluctant Suburbanite


   
   
The Flip Video — The $100 Digital Video Camera that’s Tiny, Cheap, and Fun!

flip video simple usb digital video cameraRemember those shoulder-mounted VHS camcorders dad used to haul out at soccer games once a year, “for posterity”? Shrink it down to 1/20th the size, 1/10th the cost, and make it run for a couple hours on a pair of AAs, and you’d have the Flip Video.

When technology works, it’s a wonderful thing.

This critter packs a built-in flip-out USB port for downloading 640×480 MPEG4 at 30 frames-per-second (geek-speak for “pretty decent quality”) to your PC or Mac, a small LCD to review what you’ve recorded, a cable to watch videos on your TV in seconds, and a friendly user interface that requires no manual. (Really, truly!)

Cinema-quality video it is not, but surprisingly clear and bright for its size and cost, it is. We’ve been having a blast using this guy this past week!

We think the Flip Video is perfect for anyone who wants to capture video without hassle, or a rugged camera for little hands.

The Flip Video Digital Video Camera
Currently $103 for 30 min, $125 for 60 min on Amazon

p.s. Batteries included!

Hey you, yeah you. If you’re not subscribed to Photojojo Uncut, you’re missing out! You guys recently suggested more ways to send a letter to yourself in the future, and asked us where to find photobooths in the US and abroad.


   
   
“Note to Future Self, Please Take a Picture of Me”: Create Your Own Ongoing Time Capsule

Photobooth time capsuleAs Doc Brown and Hiro Nakamura will tell you, sending a message to yourself in the the past is a tricky matter.

Fortunately, sending a message to a future you is far less error-prone, and requires neither flux capacitor nor fantastic genetic mutation.

Our friend Raul recently opened an envelope he sent himself 21 years ago, with instructions to add a photobooth self-portrait to the one contained within it. The similarities two decades later are striking.

Inspired by his example, we’ve compiled a short list of ideas for creating your own ongoing photo time capsule — an easy, fun photo project you can do anytime.

p.s. Yo, we’re on Facebook. Climb aboard the new Friends of Photojojo group!

p.p.s. Anyone know of a reliable way (non e-mail) to send a letter or package to yourself years in the future? Please email!

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Take Better Vacation and Travel Photos in Every Situation

eiffel-wide.jpgWhether you’re heading to West Lafayette or West Xylophone, the travel gurus at Fodor’s have some travel photography tips for you before you embark on your summer adventures.

Pick up nearly 100 pointers, from how to shoot churches, castles, and canyons, to the nitty-gritty of shooting on mountaintops, in city streets, or at the aquarium. Their guide is written with film cameras in mind, but the basics hold true for digital.

Among their tips:

  • For clear campfire shots, let your camera take its exposure readings from a well-lit face. Fire in the frame will throw off your camera’s calculations.
  • Research your destination and plan a “shooting itinerary” so you don’t miss any great shots. (But remember that some of the best photographs are made when you stray from the beaten path.)
  • In wild caves, put your camera shutter in the B position and fire your flash multiple times to paint the room with light.
  • Underwater, colors will photograph naturally to a depth of about 10 feet but fade away quickly beyond that. Use flash.

Before you hit the road kick it on over to Fodor’s for the full list.

And hey, while you’re out there, take Yogi Berra’s advice: “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Fodor’s Travel Photo Tips

p.s. Some fun city names we came across while researching this piece that we couldn’t help but share: Sandwich, IL, Romance, AK, Batman, Turkey, Hot Coffee, MS, and Rough and Ready, CA. (Okay, OK enough already.)

Photo Credit: Sergio Louro


   
   
What Might You Look Like if You Were Black? or White? or Old? The Face Transformer Shows All

Ever wonder what life might be like if you were black? or white? or the subject of a Botticelli?

Yeah, we do, too. All the time.
The good folks at the University of St. Andrews Perception Lab have come up with a way to make your dreams reality. Sort of.

Their Face Transformer gives you a glimpse of how you might look a couple decades from now, or with another ethnic background. Or drunk. (But you don’t really need your computer for that, now do you? — Unless you’re under 21, kiddo.)

Upload your mugshot and let the Face Transformer do the rest. Good luck, and may you grow old far more gracefully than the Transformer predicts.

The Face Transformer


   
   
Make a Flash Photo Flipbook in Just 15 Minutes!

Back in March, we told you about George Lange’s 2006 photo flipbook. Ever since, you’ve been emailing, calling, and using messenger pigeons with little notes attached to their tiny little ankles to ask us how you can create your own Lange-style flipbook.

Ok, already. We’re gonna show you how.

To keep things simple, we’ll use a free and easy web application called JumpCut that works on any computer. Before you know it, you’ll be stringing together photos and music to make a beautiful photo slideshow of your very own.

Read our tutorial to learn how!

p.s. Today’s the last day to order photo goodies for you mama in time for Mother’s Day. There, we said it.

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Give Your Photos a Masterful Makeover — Enhance Your Photos with Classical Art

You’ve finally talked Claude, Auguste, and Vincent into coming by to check out your vacation photos. You break out the slide show after crudités, and they break out the critiques. When Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh offer advice on recoloring your photos, do you listen?

We’d say yes. And with Photoshop’s “Match Color” tool, giving your photos the color sense of your favorite painter is a snap!

Step 1: Find your painting
To get started, find a painting you’d like to emulate. We had good luck with the images at Wikipedia, and Google’s Image Search is another fine option. Look for paintings that match the feel of your own work. A moody street scene, for example, would be a natural for Hopper-ization, gardens and lakes are Monet territory, and naked ladies in tropical locales are ideal candidates for a bit of Gauguin.

Step 2: Open your files
Save the photo of the painting you’ll use to your computer, then open both your photo and painting in Photoshop. Make sure your photo is in front.

Step 3: Merge ‘em!
Under the Image menu, choose Adjustments, then Match Color. Choose the painting as the source, then tweak the Luminance and Color Intensity settings to your heart’s content.

Ah. It feels good to finally kinda, sorta put those art history classes to use. Check out James Delaney’s tutorial for step-by-step instructions.

Enhance your Photography with Classical Art
[via Lifehacker]

p.s. Don’t miss Photojojo’s Mother’s Day photo ideas for 2007 over at Photojojo Uncut!
p.p.s. All sorts of mom-friendly photo goodies at The Photojojo Store. Order by Monday to get them in time for mom!


   
   
Super Premium Mailable Picture Frames & ACME Leather Traveler Camera Case

With Mother’s Day fast approaching (just 12 days left!), we’ve found two mom-worthy photo goodies we’re really proud of.. and just in the nick of time!

Super Premium Mailable Picture Frames

Ever since we introduced our original Mailable Photo Frames, you’ve been asking us for new ways to send photos through the mail. We don’t blame you — there’s just something about the tactile joy of sending (and receiving) real, printed, photos in the mail.

Boy, have we got a treat for you!

Our new Super Premium Mailable Photo Frames are the perfect way to send an extra special photo. These beautiful, inexpensive frames look perfectly at home in your living room, kitchen, or office, yet fold up flat to send through the mail!

Each holds a 4″x6″, features a built-in beveled mat to give your photo a professional look, and has a color-matched fabric ribbon to form a tabletop stand. Every frame also includes an envelope and resealable plastic bag.

With five colorful styles to pick from, we’re fairly taken with these buggers.

Whether you use ‘em around your home, or send a special photo to a friend, we hope you’ll love these classy mailable photo frames as much as we do.

Super Premium Mailable Photo Frames
$6 for 1, $30 for 6 at the Photojojo Store

The ACME Leather Traveler Camera Case

ACME has a reputation for making the highest quality laptop sleeves and bags money can buy, so we were pretty pumped when we found these micro camera cases in their line.

As you’d expect, they cut no corners — Italian leather, a plush and protective interior, even top-of-the-line zippers (YKK Excellaâ„¢, polished and plated metal.)

What really sets ACME apart, however, is the attention to details within details. An example? Those top-of-the-line zippers are paired with a carefully-placed fabric strip that prevents the zipper from touching (read: scratching) your gear, ever.

These guys care about your camera as much as you do.

The Traveler case is built to baby your svelte mini camera (4.15″ x 2.25″ x 1.15″ or smaller) and everything that goes with it: USB cable, spare battery, spare memory card, and manual.

Made with pink pebble-grain leather or black Italian perforated leather, this trim and slick case is a perfect gift for a new camera owner. One of our new favorites.

The ACME Leather Traveler Camera Case
$55-65 at the Photojojo Store

FYI: Today’s the last day to order Custom Photo Bags for Mother’s Day.


   
   
Freefall Photography — Denis Darzacq’s Jarring Statement on French Youth

Many photographers employ their art as social or political commentary, but we think Denis Darzacq’s La Chute (The Fall) is in a league of its own.

Depicting Parisian youths captured in mid-air as they plummet to earth, his series has recently surprised, shocked, and stirred the French art community.

Encapsulating a message in a photograph is no easy task. What’s unique about Darzacq’s work is not that it makes a statement about an alienated generation, but the innovative technique with which he’s made it. Gazing at his expressionless subjects, his viewers cannot help but wonder if what they see is real.

That these haunting images were created not with digital hackery, but with careful location scouting and break-dancing choreography, makes them all the more compelling.

Denis Darzacq’s La Chute
See also: The Guardian, Down and Out in Paris


   
   
Custom Photo Bags — Your Mom Will Love These, and by Extension, You

Take note: May 13th is shower-your-mother-who-you-love- very-much-with-affection-day.

And wouldn’t you know it, we’ve got some great ideas to make your mama feel extra, extra special this Mother’s Day. First up, our Custom Photo Bags made from your photos!

We offer these stylish and elegant bags in 16 different styles, from beach tote to handbag, to messenger bag, laptop sleeve, or clutch.

Simply choose a bag and upload a photo of a pet, a favorite vacation moment, or a childhood memory. Your photo will be permanently printed and baked into high-quality microfiber, which is then turned into a bag (or tote, or laptop sleeve) carefully designed to make all your mom’s friends jealous.

Care to fancy it up? Upgrade to a custom interior color or leather trim.

But hurry, because they’re made-to-order, Wednesday, April 25th (tomorrow!) is the last day to order in time for Mother’s day with standard shipping in the U.S. Choose express shipping and you have until May 1st.

Made-to-Order Custom Photo Bags
$30-$120, custom-made from your photos


   

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