Suppose a photograph with text and numbers. I want to manage it in my editor with tools such as grep, standard text-processing things such as Vim's block-highlighting and also more advanced things such as Gimp's magic-wand-style pattern highlighting. How?


This puzzle breaks down at least to parts

  1. OCR -- character recognization
  2. DSP -- proximity -algos, all puzzles not yet known
  3. Ascii-art -- creating fillers and "decorators" (not technical term)

For the sake of simplicity, suppose the writing is line-wise so you do not need to consider reprocessing multiple-lined documents. There is some working-prototype that does pretty good job in small scale with LaTex here, the multiple lined problem follows later.

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    It's called OCR – Michael Mrozek May 26 '11 at 0:10
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    Please don't cross-post. Your question is off-topic on Photography, so they'll probably close it and it can stay here. If you want it moved somewhere else let us know, but don't post it on multiple sites at once – Michael Mrozek May 26 '11 at 0:46
  • You are asking for a combination of ASCI art generation and OCR. I don't think this exists in combination. You can either write something yourself or re-define your problem. – Caleb May 26 '11 at 12:12

Beside OCR-Software, which was my first idea too, I think of libaa1 (ascii-art) and related programs. There is even a program to watch TV in ascii-art, ttv, so there will be an image transforming program, I'm pretty sure.

And I remember a program in the ImageMagick package, where you can take a photograph of a flipchart, and it performs ocr on it. Unfortunately I don't remember the name and can't find it again - maybe it wasn't part of ImageMagick, but something else?

In 2003, I produced this image: the artist as a young boy but unfortunately, I left no comment, how I produced it. Since I know the foto, where it origins from, it could be gimp-plugin too. Or I reduced the colors drastically to 4, 8 or 16 and reduced the resolution to something screen-friendly like 80x40, and worked with a programming language along the pixels, writing different characters for different colors, which I then wrapped with ANSI codes to produce the colors, and replaced signs with words. Maybe partly by hand, if I remember correctly.

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