Quick, nimble, short and fast programs are always to my liking. We’ve been through plenty of image-to-text converters for the console, but here’s one that just plain works, on the first try: jp2a.
I’m showing two screenshots there because I wanted to point out one small thing about jp2a that I really like: It’s smart enough by default to keep the original aspect ratio, and confine it to the available terminal space.
I know that seems like a small issue, but the original smiley face image that I used was 1024×1024, and some utilities try to convert that as pixel-to-character, on a one-to-one basis. Which complicates things.
jp2a can certainly do that, and if you dig through its flags you’ll see that it can do quite a bit more too. I used only the
--colors flag to generate the images above, but you can set output dimensions, redirect to a file, flip an image on conversion, put borders on output and a mess of other options.
If you’re looking for a quick, fire-and-forget conversion tool this might be the one. And given that it has only libjpeg (and curl) as its dependencies, it definitely won’t burden your system with random and impractical features that draw in obtuse libraries.