Metrics Machine workflow, a couple of questions.

howaboutnever's picture

Dear Typophiles,

I started to happily benefit from the great Metrics Machine, yet there are some things I don’t really understand. I thought I might post those questions here and see whether more experienced users can help!

1) Pair List workflow
I created my groups and a pair list which basically includes all different kind of kerning (A-Z against A-Z, A-Z against punctation etc.) at once. Here the question whether you guys create separate pair lists which you import and kern subsequently? Is the pair list something you keep re-compiling again and again, until all kerning is done? I assume I wrongly regard the pair list as something fixed, a single "master file" which must be updated and reshaped according to new problems that arise during kerning. Wrong?

2) Add and subtract from a pair list:
Among my groups O and Oslash are part of the same O-group, and I compiled a pair list which kerns all groups against each other. What are the right steps if I later on notice the need for Oslash to have its own treatment across all kerning?
I can easily delete Oslash from my O-group and update (apply) my groups, but: Oslash logically does not appear as "own instance" in my previously created pair list. Is there the possibility to "add" new groups to my previously generated pair list and kern them against all already existing ones (basically giving the new group the same behavior like the others), without having to create the pair list completely new?

3) The nature of the pair list:
I generated a huge pair list but skipped some parts during the kerning, like kept them for later. I save my UFO-file and call it the day. The next time I open the UFO, the kerning-window only shows the pairs which have kerning-values added, the skipped ones (every combination which I left with a zero value) are not visible anymore. Is it correct to now simply import my pairlist.txt again, hit "use" and continue with the kerning?

4) Naming of the pairs
In the group editor my group called "hyphen" contains emdash, endash, hypen and also the asciitilde. However, after compiling the pairs this pair is listed as "asciitilde" in my kerning. I always get confused when going through the kerning and it reads "Y kerns agains asciitilde". Is there a way to change the name of the pair?

5) Kerning in collaboration
Whats the best way to synchronize/update data in case two people split the amount of work during kerning? Just as example: In case I start kerning from the top, and my colleague from the botton of the same pair list. If I would simply import his part of kerning into my .UFO file, the kerning I would have done until that point would be overwritten – is that correct?

Okay, thats the troubles I’m having for now. I hope I described the scenario in an understandable way.
Would be great if someone could put some things right for me :-) Thank you a lot!

Best wishes from Amsterdam

oldnick's picture

in case two people split the amount of work during kerning

In terms of manpower utilization, this might make sense; however, in terms of delivering a product with consistent kerning, this approach does not make a lick of sense…

frankrolf's picture

Have you watched this video on Metrics Machine yet?

fred eric's picture

hi typophile members,

by request i got a one year license copy from Metrics Machine by Tal Leming. Till now I only worked with FontLab. So there will probably appear some questions. I already fail to open a simple file. So my first problem is how to open my FontLab data in Metrics Machine. Do I have to convert my font into a ufo.-file?

It would be nice if someone could help!
greetings from germany


William Berkson's picture

Yes, you have to convert the font lab .vfb file to .ufo .

hrant's picture

Frédéric, do you mean you got a free trial for one year?


fred eric's picture

@ William Berkson, thanks I managed it!
@ hrant, yes as a student you have the possibility to ask for a one year trial! It's marked in the FAQ.

hrant's picture

Ah. Now for a Windows version!


Mark Simonson's picture

If you install RoboFab, you get some scripts for importing and exporting UFOs from within FontLab.

fred eric's picture

hi again,
after some searching I found the script for converting files from .vfb to .ufo. Now my new problem, I have two different weights in two different files. Both convert without problem, but when I open the bold-weight in Metrics Machine no glyphs are displayed in the main window. In the light-weight everything is okay.
What could be the problem?


dberlow's picture

Are both UFOs around the same file size?

fred eric's picture

no, the light-weight has 334 kb and the bold-weight has 286 kb!

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