Better Glyph Point Placement for Better Fonts
with Thomas Phinney
Tuesday 9 February 2016
9:00 am Pacific / noon Eastern / 18.00 CEST
FREE Live Webinar
Learn how to construct better outlines for fonts, and why it matters.
Make your fonts render quicker and better on screen, and your glyphs easier to edit.
Discover why so many designers think they have points at extrema when they don’t.
Note: to submit a font for live feedback during the webinar, write to “info” at the obvious domain (fontlab.com).
- Why outlines matter
- What to do
- Tools for Better Outlines
- LIVE feedback and example outline corrections on several real users’ fonts
Thomas Phinney is a type designer, educator, and font geek who used FontLab for 20 years before joining FontLab in 2014, and becoming President in 2015. Previously he worked at Extensis (web fonts and font management tools) and Adobe (product manager for global fonts and typography). Thomas teaches typeface design with Crafting Type, and has been a repeat guest lecturer for MA Typeface Design at the University of Reading. He is also secretary of ATypI, the international typography association. His typeface Hypatia Sans is an Adobe Original with over 3000 glyphs per font.
There are a limited number of seats available for this webinar, so don’t be disappointed: Register now
This document describes an example process of generating hinted fonts with PostScript or TrueType outlines using automatic and/or simple manual steps in FontLab Studio 5.
Although Fontlab Ltd. debuted the Photofont technology some 8 years ago, the typographic community did not show much interest for multi-color fonts or typography. In 2013, it changed. Actually, this started a few years ago with Apple introducing the color emoji font into iOS, and then Mac OS X 10.7. Now, all major industry players (Apple, Adobe, Mozilla, Google and Microsoft) have proposed their formats, which aim to extend the OpenType font format by the ability of including color glyph information. The proposals differ in many aspects. Below is a discussion of the proposals along with some personal comments.
This article is very technical. No completeness or correctness of the information presented below, and all views are personal.
The video tutorial by Adam Twardoch accompanies this article by providing a more practical take on color font creation issues.
Theoretically, OpenType PS (.otf) supports fractional coordinates, but there are some technical caveats associated with it. In principle, we could say that the final font formats only support integer coordinates but during the work process, having fractional coordinates would be helpful.
For example, if you have drawn your glyphs on an integer grid, but then you’d like to make some adjustments such as: make it slightly more narrow, then slightly wider, then perhaps slant it by a few degrees and then slant it back, or make some tiny rotations, or maybe scale the glyph down and then up again — on an integer grid, the result will have accumulated the rounding errors from every one of these operations. On a fractional grid, all your shapes (the positions of the BCPs, the angles, the stem thicknesses etc.) will always remain just as in the original design.
Therefore, a hardwired integer grid such as the one in FontLab Studio does impose a certain limitation onto the type designer. A fractional grid such as the one in Fontographer allows you to avoid those rounding errors. But of course, at the very end, when you decide to generate or ship the font, you’ll need to align your points to an integer grid, or the software will do this for you.