Fontographer Vs. Fontlab...

rootedideas's picture

This summer another student and myself will participate in a Students Partnering with Faculty Summer Research Program along with a faculty member/design professional. The program will involve researching typography, studying typefaces, typographic classification, and meeting with design professionals. Then, in late summer/early fall we will each begin work to design and create our own typeface.

I was wondering if those of you who have experience designing and creating typefaces can recommend the best computer program for it. Work will be done, of course, on Macs. Macromedia's Fontographer seems to be the first choice, but does FontLab seem a more appropriate choice?

Please discuss which programs you prefer and the reasons why. Any information you can provide would be extremely helpful.

alan's picture

I would respectfully suggest that you not consider Fontographer. It is like riding to the Oscars in a Pinto. Wouldn't you rather take a limousine? (That would be FontLab.)

Fontographer has not been updated in 10 (11?) years, and is therefore stuck in the dark ages of typeface development. FontLab has an active and responsive team of programmers that make appearances on these and other forums. FontLab can be intimidating at first, but it can also be as simple as you want it to be, and the drawing tools are unmatched anywhere (including Illustrator and Freehand).

rootedideas's picture

Actually, I'd probably try to go in a Vette or a '67 Camaro, but yea, I would prefer a limo over the Pinto.

Thanks for the info, I appreciate it!

Nick Shinn's picture

Ditch the limo (more like an RV, actually). It's summer, take your bike.
Fontlab would be a mistake for a short program -- too complicated.

I would recommend TypeTool or Fontographer, which has a very good Mac interface, and is a more direct design tool.

Many type designers still use Fontographer for creating glyphs and basic metrics/kerning. While it cannot make OpenType fonts, it's unlikely that you will get that far, and the Type 1 and TrueType fonts that Fontographer makes are perfectly serviceable.

rootedideas's picture

Nick,
I have a couple other questions:
Will TypeTool allow me to design and build an entirely new font? Does it (TypeTool) support OpenType? And, how is its usability in accordance with Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop?

I am particularly interested in typographic design and creating fonts, which is the reason I am one of only two students to participate in this program. By the way, can anyone explain how difficult Type 1, TrueType, and/or OpenType fonts are to make? Why is one more difficult to create than the others, etc? I'm sure there are a lot of specifics, but basically, in general, what are things to keep in mind?

Sorry, for all the questions, just genuinely interested, that's all.

dan_reynolds's picture

I don't think that TypeTool supports OpenType. Fontographer certainly does not support OpenType, although unicode values can be assigned, I believe.

I would only recommend using Fontographer if you already have a copy. Spending the money to buy it would just be a total waste. If you buy TypeTool, you can upgrade to the full FontLab package later.

Nick is severely more advanced as a type designer than I am. But I have found FontLab a dream to use. I switched from Fontographer two months ago, and have not experienced one single problem. Having a copy of Leslie Carbarga's Learn FontLab Fast by my side made the "learning curve" a non issue.

rootedideas's picture

Fortunately, money is not the issue because the grant we received from the university will more than cover any software. I have a feeling my Faculty advisor will end using Fontographer simply because he has never heard of FontLab.

Beyond that, though, I intend to use TypeTool for myself and then when I can personally afford FontLab, I'll spring for it. There should be like an academic version shouldn't there?

Thomas Phinney's picture

It would be a shame if your school bought Fontographer at this point. Currently, it is an antique, obsolete product. (I say this based on previous history - I can't say what will happen after Adobe acquires Macromedia. But you're making a decision based on the current application, not the possible future.)

TypeTool and FontLab are reasonable options.

I will, however, beg to differ with Christian; I do believe FontLab is more complicated and harder to learn than Fontographer.

Regards,

T

Thomas Phinney
Program Manager
Fonts & Core Technologies
Adobe Systems

dezcom's picture

>it's mostly because they are old, and don't want to learn new tools. :-)<
All of us old geezers are not that stuck in a rut.;-) I started out using paint and brush, then Font Studio (which I fondly remember), then Fontographer. A year ago I bought FontLab and straight away did an OpenType font. It isn't all that tough. Scim the boards here and get Leslie's book if you need help. You will be up and glyphing in no time--even quicker if you are under 30 :-)

ChrisL
Resident decrepid old geezer (Pass the depends Margaret.)

Nick Shinn's picture

Jason, I don't have any experience with TypeTool, but apparently it makes fully functioning Type 1 and TrueType fonts, but not OpenType.

It's probably your best bet, but I thought I'd put in a good word for Fontographer, as I'm loth to automatically assign things to the scrapheap just because they're not bloated with all the latest features.

Kids like Christian tend to be dazzled by a profusion of candy-iconed buttons and sliders, whether or not they actually do anything useful ;-)

oldnick's picture

The choice of tools depends on the task at hand. Believe it or not, I still used Fontographer 3.5 for some of my tasks, for two very important reasons: (a) its AI/EPS import feature is unsurpassed (FOG 4.1 doesn't import a full em square, and FontLab's approach is beyond bizarre); and (b) all of its simple transform tools are directly accessible via keystroke combinations (both FOG 4.1 and FontLab require mousing around, which slows you down).

One of the few things that FOG 4.1 is still good for is path clean-up although, even at its lowest setting, it's a little promiscuous deleting points. However, unlike FontLab, it does NOT see flat curves, semi-horizontal vectors and semi-vertical vectors everywhere. If you have gentle curves in your outlines, FontLab's OPTIMIZE command is likely to turn them into stick figures.

twardoch's picture

Nick C.,

1. I'd be interested to know why you consinder FontLab's EPS import "beyond bizarre".

2. Have you tried tweaking the Optimize options in FontLab preferences?

Regards,
Adam Twardoch

Diederik Corvers's picture

Adam,
for me too, the eps-import in FL is strange, to say the least. I still prefer drawing in Illustrator. To get your glyphs imported at the right size and place you need to copy a rectangle, which starts at the zero point and goes to cap height, from FL and paste it into Illustrator. It has to be at the zero-point in the Ill. document and it gets to be such an absurd size that if you draw a string of characters they soon run of the page, even if you draw on a large 'page'. In fontographer you just take care the letters you draw are between two lines, and these lines will be cap height and deschender depth, no matter how big or small the drawing in Ill. Being able to draw a string of characters (or words, if you want) is the main reason for me still using Illustrator, apart from the morre easily available drawing and editing tools.

Best,
Diederik

dan_reynolds's picture

Adam, do you think that you could work out some sort of plug-in for FL that would make the Fontographer noises while the program and/or user performs rudimentary tasks?? That would be wicked stuff

alan's picture

I second the motion for Fontographer sound effects. Nothing quite like that sensual slurping noise when a point snaps to a guideline, or the satisfaction that comes with successfully generating a font and being rewarded with a "BEEEEEOOOOOOOOOIIIP!" (It sorta sounds like the word "beautiful", but spoken using your outside voice and without any of the middle vowels.)

alan's picture

I mean consonants.

One thing I do miss about Fog is the ability to very quickly interpolate kerning between two fonts.

jordy's picture

I am an old geezer who uses, still, Fontographer, and TypeTool. Fontographer for the autotrace feature, TypeTool for the precision of point placement. Don't need the goofball sounds of Fontographer and the screen display in Fontographer is dreadful. There is an antialiasing feature in TypeTool obviously, so lines look smooth, unilke in Fonto. I am sure FontLab is great, but can't afford it right now, but will get it in future. And, yes, you can upgrade to it from TypeTool.

oldnick's picture

Adam:

I would submit that the other responses about FL's strange EPS behavior make my point. The reason that I believe FOG 3.5's EPS import is superior is that it assumes that what you import in 1000 points high (more about this later); FOG 4.1 assumes that what you import is equal to the ascent of the font; I cannot, for the life of me, figure out WHAT FL assumes -- all that I know is that, in my experience, the manual instructions don't work, and a couple of workarounds I've seen posted elsewhere don't work either.

When I export EPS for FOG 3.5, I place tick marks at ascent and descent on all my characters (a simple process that takes less than five minutes). Then, when I import the EPS characters into FOG 3.5, they fall exactly where they ought to, and they are correctly proportioned to one another. The only way to accomplish this in FOG 4.1 is to set the ascent at 1000, with no descent, import all your characters, reset the ascent and descent, then move all of the characters down so they sit on the new baseline.

I took your advice about tweaking the OPTIMIZE options and the results were mixed. I could eliminate the "stick figure" results, but the downside was that some redundant points were NOT cleaned up. The various combination I tried of the ten available choices seemed to yield either too much or too little, and none were "just right."

One the other hand, in my humble opinion, the outline cleanup features in DTL's ContourMaster Light are superior to ANYTHING else out there, BUT...their 15000-units-to-the-em measurement system causes some "point shift" once you convert the outlines back to a 1000-unit em, so you still have to check every character to correct the instances where dividing by fifteen produced unsatisfactory results.

Nick Shinn's picture

I recently made an OpenType family of Handsome; one of the versions had a filter effect that roughened the path outline, adding lots of points.

I can't remember exactly how I did it, but for various reasons to do with the relative merits and compatibilities of the applications (and my familiarity with them), it involved moving each glyph outline between Illustrator 8, Illustrator CS, FontLab, and Fog. Talk about a workaround!
rough

Mark Simonson's picture

In FOG 4.1.3 (Mac) art pasted in from Illustrator is scaled up to the full em square height. Holding down the command and option keys while choosing Paste from the menu scales it to the ascent. Holding just the option key causes the art to scale the same as FontLab (1 point (in Illustrator) equal to 1 em unit) with the bottom of the art resting on the baseline. These optional paste commands seem to work if you do it completely from the keyboard, you have to choose the Paste command from the menu with the mouse. This could be some peculiarity due to running FOG in Classic on OS X. I seem to recall that you used to be able to just use the keyboard.

I used to draw in Illustrator and move art to FOG, and that workflow kept me from switching to FontLab for quite a while, even after I owned a copy. But copying and pasting from Illustrator to FL is not that hard once you realize how it works.

Scale your Illustrator art so that 1 point corresponds to 1 em unit (i.e., if your target cap height is 700 em units, make your caps in Illustrator 700 points tall). Move the Illustrator ruler zero point to the origin point of the character art you want to copy. Copy from Illustrator, paste in FL. Simple.

The biggest problems are getting the clipboard preferences set correctly in Illustrator (should be AICB/Preserve Paths) and dealing with rounding-down errors (no fractional em units in fonts, despite what FOG may lead you to believe).

Personally, I have completely switched to drawing directly in FontLab. It's much more efficient and I wish I'd starting doing it sooner. I blame FOG's (in my opinion) clumsy drawing tools for my previous reliance on Illustrator. I think I would have been better off drawing in FOG, too, in hindsight.

twardoch's picture

Nick,

about importing EPS, the answer is very simple: FontLab does not assume *anything*. If in Preferences / General / Do not rescale... is deactivated, then 1 point in EPS = 1 FontLab unit. When the option is enabled, then FontLab assumes that what you import is 700 units high.

Also, you don't need to place any tick marks whatsoever. Just place the characters in Illustrator of Freehand so that the 0,0 point of the EPS document is on the font's origin point. In other words: you can always work in Illustrator taking points EXACTLY as if they were font units in FL. It's actually pretty simple.

More information is at:
http://groups.msn.com/fontlab/tipsandtricks.msnw?action=get_message&mview=0&ID_Message=2675

Regards,
Adam

oldnick's picture

Adam,

I tried the workaround based on the previous tip upon which the one you referenced was based, and got nowhere; however, I will try it again...maybe I missed something the last time around.

Assuming that I will be both pleasantly surprised that this method works and terribly chagrined that I was such a dunce the last time I tried it, there is still another however to consider...the method you propose requires that the origin point be moved for EVERY character that you export, which for me typically is no fewer than 120 characters. Add to that Illustrator's page size limit of 16,383 pts AND only one page per document, and I would also have to create SEVERAL documents to handle my super-sized outlines.

Given all the extra effort involved, I fail to see where FontLab's method is an improvement over the way FOG 3.5 did it. Don't get me wrong...I think FontLab is a GREAT program and, if I had to choose only one font creation tool to work with, FL would be it. But it ain't perfect (got more petty gripes, if you're interested).

Diederik Corvers's picture

Instead of creating several Illustrator documents it is earier to make more layers in one document.
FWIW

twardoch's picture

Nick,

1. Are you designing all your entire alphabet in Illustrator?

2. Have you tried ScanFont 4 from http://www.fontlab.com ?

Regards,
Adam

oldnick's picture

No, I create all of my outlines in CorelDraw 9 (the last fully-featured release before Corel started screwing a good program up), for a few very good reasons (other than the fact I've been using CorelDraw since v.1)...

(a) one tool and one tool only is required to add, delete, edit and align nodes, AND to convert line segments to line or curve, AND to make connections sharp, smooth or symmetrical; and (b) CorelDraw is the only program I know of that has an INTERACTIVE outline smoother, which allows simplification on a scale of 1-100 (27 seems to work best for me). And I work on a PC (Windows 2000 Professional) because (a) I am not so in love with the wallpaper on my desktop that I must see some portion of it at all times; (b) contrary to the conclusion that Steve Jobs reached over twenty years ago (and sticks to, till this day), I CAN operate a mouse with more than one button on it, and prefer to do so; and (c) love those WIndows keyboard shortcuts. I DO have an iMac running OS 9 (which I use primarily font testing Mac fonts, now that I no longer use Fontographer to generate my Mac fonts) and a Mac Mini running OS 10.3 (also for testing, but I now generate all Mac fonts with Type Tool 2). Still, my trusty Dell remains my workhorse of choice.

Given the foregoing along with the fact that ALL of my fonts drawn on the computer, ScanFont4 is probably not my cup of tea...nor am I particuarly inclined to spend another $200 in order to get a $500 program to do what a 15-year-old 16-bit program does very well.

twardoch's picture

I started using Corel DRAW with version 1.2. I agree that version 9 rocks. On modern computers, it's lightning fast. I also use version 12 because it "sort of" supports Unicode, but I think version 9 is very good. If you happen to have Corel DRAW 11 or 12, check the credits in the About box, you should find my name there ;)

I agree with other points you make. BTW, ScanFont 4 costs $99, not $200. Since Corel DRAW supports multiple layers *and* multiple pages, you should have no problem to set it up to work in points, and use the (0,0) point as base point -- no? I've been doing it for quite some time now.

In fact, since Corel DRAW supports scripting, it should be possible to make a tool that automatically converts layers or pages into separate EPS files. Take a look at File Converter at http://www.oberonplace.com/draw/drawscripts/megagallery/

Also, do you know http://www.isocalc.com/cooltools/ ?

You might contact one of the authors of these tools to write a small script for you that does some handy pre-processing for your characters, and export them into EPS.

Regards,
Adam

oldnick's picture

Adam,

Thanks for the links: there are a couple of tools there which should make the process of scaling and positioning much easier than they normally would be in CorelDraw. I will give them a try, and see if I can't conquer this EPS import problem and eventually retire trusty old FOG 3.5.

While I have your attention, there are a few other FL "problems" I would like to bring to the fore...

First, it would be REALLY nice to be able to set more defaults in the FONT INFO dialogue. I am the only designer using FL on my computer, so it would be convenient if the program would remember my personal URL, website URL and licensing info...no biggy, but it would be convenient.

Second, while FL's zoom capabilities FAR exceed those of FOG, they still stop a little shy of where I'd like. Being able to zoom into, say, a 3x3 point grid would come in handy when trying to edit the curves at the end of a tiny round serif. CorelDraw can zoom to 400,000%, which is probably excessive, but a LITTLE more magnification in FL would be helpful.

Finally, from time to time, I get reports back of Mac PS fonts on OS 9 displaying not a preview of the font in question, but of a sans-serif system font. The cause, I believe, is a FOND ID # conflict (TypeTool/FL default is 128), so the problem is easy enough to fix. However, it would also be quite convenient if there were a way (like, just pressing a button) to tie the FOND ID # to the unique PSID number (hash/add 6000 to the last 4 digits/whatever) to lessen the chance that this problem would occur. Again, no biggy, but it would be helpful.

twardoch's picture

"I am the only designer using FL on my computer, so it would be convenient if the program would remember my personal URL, website URL and licensing info...no biggy, but it would be convenient. "

The appropriate way to do this is to have a .vfb file to use as a template. In FLS5, there will be an option that will open a .vfb file of user's choice instead of a blank font when the user chooses File / New. In essence, this will work like Word templates.

"However, it would also be quite convenient if there were a way (like, just pressing a button) to tie the FOND ID # to the unique PSID number (hash/add 6000 to the last 4 digits/whatever) to lessen the chance that this problem would occur."

There is no way that we can come up with a numbering scheme that will please everybody. Practically everybody will want the "hashing" to work differently. So that's really something for a tiny little Python script. In fact, you can put any Python commands e.g. into the save.py file within your FontLab folder, and then the commands will be executed whenever a FontLab file is saved. You could put such a scriptlet that ties FOND ID to Unique ID there, and forget about running it manually.

Regards,
Adam

Thomas Phinney's picture

You don't need a UniqueID. They are far more trouble than they are worth. Adobe stopped putting them in our western fonts several years back, when our testing showed no significant performance differences for fonts without UniqueIDs.

Back when printers had 8 MHz processors and data was sent to them on a 57K pipeline, the caching really did help. Today, not so much so.

As for FOND IDs, they have their own problems, in that the ID range also indicates the encoding. So even if you want to keep UniqueIDs, tying them to the FOND IDs seems like a bad idea.

Regards,

T

blokland's picture

'[...] the outline cleanup features in DTL's ContourMaster Light are superior to anything else out there, but ... their 15000-units-to-the-em measurement system causes some 'point shift [....]'

The assumption that the default em-square for the BE (Bezier) format is 15000 like the default em for the IK format, is probably caused by the BE glyph database of the FM Demo Font, which is enclosed in the FM installers. The reason that this BE file has the same em as the IK version, is that this made it possible to enclose only one UFM for both formats. This underlines how versatile a separate naming and metrics file is, but I must honestly admit that it never occurred to me that this would result in the idea that everything in FM is based on 15000 units. Although very occasionally FM will convert internally the format to an em of 15000, all functions very well with whatever em. For instance DTL ContourMaster works perfectly with an em of 1000 and there is no need to do any conversion beforehand. All of the DTL glyph databases in BE format have an em of 1000. For Ikarus the default is however 15000 units and in case analog data is manually digitized (which we still often do), 100 units correspond to 1 centimeter.

For version 2.1.3 of FM, the BE glyph database for the FM Demo Font has been set to 1000. See also <http://www.typophile.com/forums/messages/4101/70410.html>.

oldnick's picture

Thomas,

If you read my last post carefully, you'll see my suggestion was to add 6,000 to the last 4 digits of the PSID (no greater than 9,999), which would result in a number well within what I believe is the accepted range for regular encoding. And, although PSIDs may be passe, they remain handy for assigning unique SKU numbers to one's fonts.

And...while YOU'RE on the line, has Acrobat 7 addressed the issue of Acrobat and Illustrator not being able to agree on what Times New Roman Bold should be called? I work in the prepress department of a printing company, and the unwashed public gives us LOTS of MS Word documents (most of which, unimaginatively, use the default font) that have to go into the production pipeline. PDF format is, of course, the easiest way of integrating these documents into our workflow UNTIL you exercise the "Edit Objects" option in Acrobat 6. Illustrator CS consistently does not recognize TNR Bold (Roman and Italic, yes, so go figure), and substitutes Myriad (no choice in the matter, either, another of Illustrator's irksome qualities). One would think, by this point, that Adobe's various products would have learned to play nice with each other.

rootedideas's picture

I think I look forward to the day I am able to decipher that.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Nick,

I did read your message carefully. My point is that your default behavior would only work for MacRoman encoding, and would generate defective fonts for other encodings.

Additionally, UniqueIDs should not be arbitrary, except for limited private use. Adobe maintains a registry of UniqueIDs; people can and should get UniqueIDs assigned by Adobe if they are going to use them in retail fonts. Otherwise you're just playing Russian roulette on a larger scale.

Using a UniqueID as the basis for a SKU does not make technical sense, unless you are never going to revise your fonts, or you'd change SKUs every time you do a bug fix or revision.

I don't know about your Acrobat/Illustrator problem, but I can say from the description that I suspect the problem is on Illustrator's side. So I doubt that Acrobat 7 will have fixed anything.

Regards,

T

oldnick's picture

Thomas,

Resuming after the caesura...MY point is that people who generate fonts with different encodings are doubtless aware of the FOND ID # issue, and would address it accordingly. My suggestion was predicated on what I suspect are the vast majority of cases where Mac Roman encoding is desired. A default setting or procedure that generates a FOND ID number that is less likely to conflict with system fonts could, and would, be overridden if circumstances so require. I am not suggesting that one size fits all, but it would be more convenient if one size fit most.

And, yes, I do obtain Unique PSIDs from Adobe, and I do use them. And using PSIDs as SKU numbers may not work for everybody in all instances (I don't believe I suggested that they would), but they do work for me.

twardoch's picture

I wanted to point out this: http://typophile.com/node/12277

:)

Best,
Adam

oldnick's picture

Great news, Adam. It will be interesting to revisit the particular subject under discussion here a year or so from now...

alphapeta's picture

I am digitsing a face at present and am using Fontlab to complete this process. I know Fontographer in part, but would sooner use Fontlab–therein I can't find a guide in my local typographic book sellers, where could I buy a copy?

dan_reynolds's picture

You can download a PDF of the FontLab userguide for free at http://www.fontlab.com. Leslie Carbarga's book Learn FontLab Fast can be ordered directly from his website, http://www.logofontandlettering.com.

__
www.typeoff.de

alphapeta's picture

That's fantastic thankyou. What a wonderful resource this is.

levonk's picture

This is a reply to the original post. Sorry to interrupt all the discussion.

Now that FOG is owned by FontLab, I think it is best to wait until FL upgrades it. I am sure if they keep the simplicity of FOG and incorporate the technology of FL it will be a very good tool.

Thomas Phinney's picture

However, that stuff won't see the light of day until 2006. So "Rooted" still needs to make a choice based on what's available today or at least within the next few months. The imminent release of FontLab Studio 5 may be a factor, but a Fontographer upgrade in 2006 probably shouldn't be.

T

levonk's picture

Yes, you are right abou the timing.

But since the project at hand, as Rooted describes it, is well within the capabilities of Fontographer, I think purchasing FOG is a good investement. 1. It is capable of completing the project in an easy-to-use interface with much less complexity that FL, and 2. It will be upgraded, so it will become a useful tool even for more complex projects in the future.

alphapeta's picture

I have a small question concerned with an earlier part of the discussion (I apologise for interrupting the debate). I am using Illustrator to draw my characters (I draw them by hand first and then scan). I then export into FontLab 4.
What do people think about using Illustrator for drawing type? I find freehand is virtually the same in terms of control, but should I be digitising it in another package to gain more control and refinement?

levonk's picture

alphapeta, whichever makes you happy is ok.
Drawing in FontLab would be much faster if it were as easy as illustrator. The problem may well be acquaintance. Personally, I feel more comfortable working in illustrator, so that's hpw I do it. Others may feel it is easier to work in FontLab, that is how they should do it.
Which program are you comfortable working in? Use that program.

alphapeta's picture

Thankyou for the feedback.
So the level of control is the same when drawing beziers?
There is no difference?

Mark Simonson's picture

I switched to drawing glyphs entirely within FontLab about a year ago. Previously, for many years, I drew in Illustrator and imported into Fontographer. It took some getting used to, but now I prefer my new method. It's much faster (mainly due to fewer steps) and more controllable. I actually find it more difficult to draw in Illustrator now.

You should be aware, however, that there are big differences between drawing in Illustrator and drawing in FontLab. The biggest one is that Illustrator allows practically infinite precision in point placement, whereas FontLab constrains you to whole em-units. This can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. Being able to work in unconstrained units avoids rounding errors that can occour when scaling outlines, but it also gives you a false sense of how precisely you can place points in glyph space (which is always constrained to whole em-units).

Consequently, if you work in Illustrator, you must check for rounding errors when importing the artwork into FontLab. If you draw directly in FontLab, it's essentially WYSIWYG and there's no need for that step.

dezcom's picture

I like the way curves "spring out" in FontLab when you delete a point instead of collapse like a popped balloon as they do in Illustrator. This really helps smoothing curves.

ChrisL

Mark Simonson's picture

I like that, too, but there is one little caveat: Make sure neither of the two adjacent points is the first point in the path, otherwise it will make a straight line between the two when you delete the point. Reportedly, this will be fixed in FLS5.

twardoch's picture

> there are big differences between drawing
> in Illustrator and drawing in FontLab.
> The biggest one is that Illustrator allows
> practically infinite precision in point
> placement, whereas FontLab constrains
> you to whole em-units.

I should add that this limitation is not there for arbitrary reasons. The coordinates in digital fonts (PostScript Type 1, OpenType PS, OpenType TT) must be integer units. FontLab imposes this limitation onto the designer during the entire process, so you're always WYSIWYG. Fontographer goes a different path: it allows you to draw in fractional coordinates but when you generate the font, the coordinates get rounded to the next integer coordinates. So there is no final control over what will end up where (although it is possible to "snap" the points manually before generating the font). Both methods have their supporters and opponents.

Regards,
Adam

Mark Simonson's picture

I admit to being a proponent of fractional coordinates at one time (mainly because of the scaling issue), but I have since moved to the other camp. There's nothing like seeing all your careful work messed up when you generate a font (from FOG) and all the points are rounded to the nearest whole coordinate. It's better to work with the limitations of the coordinate system from the start than to pretent it doesn't exist. If you need finer coordinates, you can always use a larger em-square.

oldnick's picture

I agree with Mark about the whole-coordinate approach. I also think that working with proper extrema points (90-degree intervals and no obtuse angles) makes curve editing a lot easier and a lot more predictable. As I mentioned earlier, I prefer to generate my oultines in CorelDraw 9, but the "best tool" for creating outlines is the one you're most comfortable working with.

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