Problem with bowls/counters

kosbarts's picture

Hi everybody

this is my first spot and I am new to the forum. I am designing a typeface in Fontlab. I export the font and it looks great both in Fontlab and in Suitcase Fusion. But when I try and use it in Illustrator, when I zoom out the counters and bowls look weird, as if they are a bit offset upwards or downwards.


this image shows the screen in illustrator at 33% zoom. The top one is the written and the bottom one outlined.


this image shows the screen at 100%. Both look right.

Can anyone help me on this?

Thanks in advance!

oldnick's picture

Don’t zoom out: problem solved.

eliason's picture

Have you set up alignment zones? Have you autohinted?

Nathaniel Hebert's picture

I find Illustrator doesn't handle the hinting all too well, but even if text gets a little wonky when zoomed out, it should still print fine.

In your character panel, if you open up the advanced settings, there's a drop down with some options to set the anti-aliasing methods. Setting things to "crisp" tends to emulate print output in my eyes, and usually corrects those odd counter issues when zoomed out.

kosbarts's picture

Oldnick, great advice!

Eliason, I think you are right. It must be a problem caused by autohinting. I haven't got time at the moment to fix it, but I did alter something and reexported the font and it did look different. I will try tomorrow and fix it.

Nathaniel, are you sure there is such a dropdown selection in illustrators' character palette? There is one in photoshop.

Thank you all for your support.

Nathaniel Hebert's picture

It could be an issue with autohinting, but most "pro" typefaces I've used in Illustrator all exhibit the same wonky features when zoomed out; even Helvetica Neue looks like a jokey clown font at 33%. Setting it to crisp, however, makes it a lot more pleasant on the eyes.

kosbarts's picture

Hi Nathaniel! You got me there! It's really there! Haha... and I keep telling myself that I know my whereabouts in illustrator pretty well! Indeed, there is a big difference when I set it to crisp - it all becomes normal. However, I think I will take the hard way and try and work on the hinting of the font, since I want other people to use it as well.

I will keep you posted.

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