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Google's Tenor slips GIFs into your command line interface

The GIF search platform is giving your terminal a little flair.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
June 14, 2018
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If you live in the command line, you probably like to give that otherwise plain interface your own distinctive touch, like ASCII art. But wouldn't it be nice if you could spice it up with a GIF? You can now. Google's Tenor team has released a GIFs for CLI tool that, as the name implies, turns short videos and GIFs (including those sourced from Tenor's search toolkit) into animated ASCII art you can use as a greeting when you open your terminal. The Deadpool 2 skydive you see above is in black and white, but you can include GIFs in glorious color.

The code starts by using ffmpeg to chop the clip into individual JPEG images. It then turns those into ASCII art printed one frame at a time to your console, using ANSI escape sequences to clear the screen and show the GIFs as you'd expect.

Is this extremely nerdy and limited? You bet. The code is sitting in GitHub if you want to tinker with it, though. And look at it this way: when command lines are almost relentlessly drab, flair like this is bound to help.

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