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Russian ASCII Art Animated Cat From 1968 125

Posted by timothy
from the doing-it-the-hard-way dept.
harrymcc writes "Forty-two years ago, Russian scientists created an impressive sequence of a cat walking about — and it was all the more impressive given that the 'CGI' involved rendering hundreds of images of the cat as ASCII art, then printing out the sequence image by image and photographing it."
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Russian ASCII Art Animated Cat From 1968

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  • by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @02:21PM (#31558844) Homepage
    ...lolcats turn 42.
  • ASCII? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by negatonium (1103503) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @02:25PM (#31558894)
    Since ASCII stands for "American" Standard Code for Information Interchange I think the Soviets who created this might be offended.
    • Re:ASCII? (Score:5, Funny)

      by riker1384 (735780) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @02:28PM (#31558908)
      This animation was with with the Russian version, called ASCIISKI.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Slack0ff (590042)
        Is that what lil' john is singing about?
      • po-RUSSKII !

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by badran (973386)

        What do tits have to do with this?

        PS: A-SCIISKI, sounds a lot like "What about the tits?".

      • by tokul (682258)

        This animation was with with the Russian version, called ASCIISKI.

        Russian surnames don't end with -ski. Polish ones do (See info on Sikorsky or Polanski). R-77 should be caller amraamov. Then it would look Russian.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)
        Yes, I was wondering why the USSR would use an American Standard Code...
    • Re:ASCII? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Xiph (723935) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @02:29PM (#31558912)

      however, in ascii-art ASCII is an abbriviation of "Abnormal String of Characters Is the Image"

    • Re:ASCII? (Score:5, Informative)

      by faragon (789704) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @02:40PM (#31558988) Homepage
      Probably it is not ASCII nor EBCDIC (both dating from 1963). After searching a bit, it seems that uses its own character encoding: GOST 10859-64.
      • Re:ASCII? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 21, 2010 @03:06PM (#31559176)

        A few ephemera:

        ASCII wasn't widely used until after 1967, when it underwent a major revision. It is worth noting that the Soviet Union variously purchased, reverse-engineered and stole computer designs as early as the sixties, and when they did so, they frequently brought the charsets with them to maintain program compatibility with American and Western European software.

        ...however, most of that reverse-engineering happened only later, and I for one would be surprised if ASCII was used at all in Russian computing prior to the availability of Usenet and IBM PC clones.

      • Re:ASCII? (Score:5, Informative)

        by ACS Solver (1068112) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @03:39PM (#31559380)

        The "images" were created using the BESM-4 computer. The much more widely used BESM-6 used 48 bit words and you can see its character encoding table here:

        http://www.mailcom.com/besm6/encoding_ru.html [mailcom.com]

        The BESM-4 had 45-bit words and I'm not sure what encoding it used, but it's likely to be the same or similar to the above. Note how that character table has math operators like logical conjucntion/disjunction even but lacks an exclamation mark and even two letters of the Russian alphabet. Wasn't exactly meant for word processing ;)

      • Our new GOST 10859-64.art overlords, for one, welcome me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dangitman (862676)

      Since ASCII stands for "American" Standard Code for Information Interchange

      You've got it all wrong. It stands for "American Society of Cat Illustration Innovation," informally known as the LOL Society.

  • I tried and failed.

    Can someone please post a more direct link? (or possibly just the ascii)
    aren't we all tired of looking for the article in a link in the article in a link in the article in a...

  • by d1r3lnd (1743112) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @02:40PM (#31558994)
    A year later, American scientists created an impressive sequence of a man walking about the lunar surface...
  • There is a well done documentary on archive.org

    The guy interviewed Vinton Cerf and Philip J. Kaplan for it, amongst others you will likely recognize.

    http://www.archive.org/details/BBS.The.Documentary [archive.org]

    iirc, part 5 was all about the ascii art scene.
  • Rotoscoped. (Score:3, Funny)

    by 6350' (936630) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @02:43PM (#31559012)
    This is of course neat to see, but I think it's clearly a rotoscoped sequence transferred to a printout (which is pretty cool too). Not to quibble, but this might be a better example of full-on ASCII animation:
    http://www.asciimation.co.nz/ [asciimation.co.nz] - The classic ASCII anim of Episode IV.
  • I think this is very fun, but it looks like they could have used some help from basic understanding of pin registration. The animations are awesome. The jumpiness of some of it is not.

  • Printer (Score:5, Funny)

    by FrankDrebin (238464) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @02:54PM (#31559074) Homepage
    One assumes this was printed on the Model-KI teletype, aka the KITTY.
  • by Dogtanian (588974) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @02:57PM (#31559104) Homepage
    ..."Worker and Parasite"?
  • See that? First pass he was cool. On the second, he was all skinny and shit. Third pass was the ghost. Call the ASPCA!

    • See that? First pass he was cool. On the second, he was all skinny and shit. Third pass was the ghost. Call the ASPCA!

      Well, its wasn't their fault. They just didn't know what to feed an ASCII (or the Soviet equivalent of) cat.

  • Could it be possible to reproduce copies of the original ascii art printouts by playing back the video using mplayer and aalib video out?
  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @03:52PM (#31559508)
    ...Russian scientists with access to a computer smoked some pot.
  • How were the images generated? Was it just hand-edited text files that were printed out, or did they have some type of drawing program? It would be cool if they had created a program with a 3d model of the cat - an animation of which was then rendered to ASCII :) I suppose it would have been possible given the technology at the time but also quite challenging - who knows :)
  • Text art has been around for a long time. Typewriter art for over 100 years. RTTY art nearly as long. The principles of animation have been understood for a while. Why is this news?

    • In the late 60's or early 70's Mad magazine had a few pages of cartoons ("art"?) made on a typewriter. One that struck me was a rocket, looking something like this: A H H I (imagine it in Courier ...) A few years later I had a BASIC programming class, and when we finally got a few CRTs (to replace the printout only outputs we had previously) one of the first things I did, now that things could really "move"!, was to write a program to make this Ascii rocket take off! I remember showing it off to others i
    • by Joosy (787747)
      In the late 60's or early 70's Mad magazine had a few pages of cartoons ("art"?) made on a typewriter. One that struck me was a rocket, looking something like this:

      A
      H
      H
      I

      (imagine it in Courier ...)

      A few years later I had a BASIC programming class, and when we finally got a few CRTs (to replace the printout only outputs we had previously) one of the first things I did, now that things could really "move"!, was to write a program to make this Ascii rocket take off! I remember showing it off to others in
  • Russians? 1968? ASCII? Really??

  • Notice that sometimes the columns of type gaps between them or are run together. This printer wasn't nearly as well made as the American behemoths of the sixties.
  • Flash? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @09:23PM (#31562320)
    So in 1968, the russians take a bunch of standard characters, print them out onto paper and film it. 42 years later the Americans spend millions of dollars creating a convoluted ineficient browser plugin (flash) in order to display it.

    Reminds me of a certain expensive pen...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > Reminds me of a certain expensive pen...
       
      ...that is an urban legend to begin with.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Pen

  • There is an ASCII screen saver and it is hella cool! Get it hear [robobunny.com] for Mac and KDE and maybe windows, I didn't look that hard.

  • How many of us did a similar "brief animation project" in BASIC on an Apple II, TI-99/4A, or Coleco for a 7th-12th grade project back in the early to mid 80's?

    Granted, it wasn't on paper, but still... I did a four minute graphic story on an Apple II in 8th grade back in ... math math years .. 1983ish that this reminded me of.

    Not my fault the dirty reds were 15 years ahead of me. These guys were all PhDs and shit.

    Still got an A... bah.

  • I got an attempted ZBot install upon going to that page.

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