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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Liverpool, N.Y.

    Default Do's and Don'ts of creating/repairing fonts

    Okay, as far as the tracings go, for every project I volunteer to create a template into which:

    1. You type a single character and align its baseline to the bottom of the page. Yep, that means characters with descenders such as "g" and "y" lowercase will have their descenders dangling beneath the printable page.

    2. Convert the character to editable paths, drag a guide onto the page to active a Guides layer, and then put the converted character on the Guides layer, then lock it. If anyone disagrees with this procedure, please let me hear it, okay?

    3. You then do your tracing, and before posting your work, you probably delete the Guides layer and its contents.

    Sorry to say it's not as simple as this, though. There are rules about the outline, and if anyone has Adobe's Type 1 PostScript Specifications reference book, the rules haven't changed in 20 years. An outline:

    • Need to have a "succinct" number of nodes, not a "verbose" amount (of control points). Points that serve no real purpose along the outline add to the saved file size of the font, and actually at large point sizes, make the character look "bumpier" then necessary. Don't skimp on the number of control points you use, but don't overdo it, either.

    •Curve segments should have a smooth control point no less often than every 45 degrees or so. Don't create a curve whose control handles go off to Mars, in other words.

    • Severe points on characters are a no-no. This botches up printing and if you extrude such a character, you'll get a point that extends way father than you want it to. Snub off extreme point along the outline; you could create a rectangle and subtract it from the very point along the curve to blunt it.

    •Paths cannot/should not self-intersect. If you need to remove an area, you do it the hard way with two shapes, not one shape whose path crosses itself.

    That's about it. If you like, I'll post visual examples of the do s and do nots.



    edited by angelize: I have attached the Glyph Guide from the other thread

    glyph guide.xar
    Last edited by Barbara B; 28 February 2012 at 05:48 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Liverpool, N.Y.

    Default Re: The Ad Hoc Font Shoppe

    Frances had asked for screen caps to explain some of the do s and don'ts when you build or repair a character.

    The first is: don't leave control points at extremes. That is: don't define one control point to support a very steep concave area. You know you're going wrong when the control handles are 14km away from the control point.

    When you have a very steep spike and the control handles seem too close to one another, zoom in as close as possible and put a second control point next to the first, and make the connection a straight segment, in effect, blunting the point.

    I know we all do this in drawings, but this is a font a font is a runtime program, and it doesn't like extremely pointed cusps on curves. They fair to print properly and occasionally they'll disappear from screen when you zoom in, because the OS can't render the area, the math is too preposterous.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Sunshine Coast BC, Canada. In a beautiful part of BC's temperate rainforest

    Default Re: The Ad Hoc Font Shoppe

    I have a question too, would you prefer that each glyph be a different layer on the same page or would you rather have each glyph on a separate page?

    Edit: Thanks for the screen cap now I understand that much better.
    My current Xara software: Designer Pro 365 12.6

    Good Morning Sunshine.ca | Good Morning Sunshine Online(a weekly humorous publication created with XDP and exported as a web document) | Angelize Online resource shop | My Video Tutorials | My DropBox |
    Autocorrect: It can be your worst enema.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Liverpool, N.Y.

    Default Re: The Ad Hoc Font Shoppe

    It'd be easiest for me, angelize, if you did one character per layer, and name the layers if the character is unfamiliar (extremely "artistic"). You can prepare you font any way you like, but I'd prefer—but don't actually demand—one character per layer.

    Also, characters can only be one path, not two or three, so if and when you do paths, join them by addition, subtraction or other Arrange>Combine Shapes command. I'll do this for you if I hit one layer with more than one path. A typeface character can only have one path and only one color and no outlines. You need to convert lines to editable shapes if that's part of your font, and there is no such thing as colors in a typeface, no shades of gray, only the inside of the character (black, sort of), and the outside which is clear, transparent.

    Another thing to avoid is using too few points to define a curve. I suggest no too many and not too few. A good rule is that you add a point at every 45 degrees of curve, like the attached illustration.

    And if you want smooth curves along a character, use a Smooth connection, not a Cusp, and try (but this is not always possible) to keep the control handles on one side of the curve, the outside, not one in and one out. You'll know what I mean if you design smooth connection and the control handles sort of run diagonal to the connection. This produces a bumpy character segment.

    Seems like a lot to ask, but when a good typeface is done, it lasts forever, you know?

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