FontLab Studio Pro: How to: Scale (1%) × 3 times

mhulse's picture

Hello,

I'm using FontLab Studio Pro v5 to create a basic icon font (just a few characters).

In this font, along with the icons, I want to add "blanks" (that is, non-spacing and non-marking glyphs).

I've posted a question on Stack related to how to create non-spacing/marking glyphs and I've gotten a little help so far.

Right now, I'm stuck trying to figure how to:

[scale] all the contours in glyphs to zero sized area: Scale (1%) × 3 times see answer here

I've found this section:

Tools → Action... → Contour → Scale

But I don't see how I can input "(1%) × 3 times".

Could someone please enlighten me?

I'd love some pro guidance here. :)

TIA!

Cheers,
M

Nick Cooke's picture

Are you sure you mean 1% x3? That would be absolutely miniscule. Do you mean 99%?

charles ellertson's picture

In this font, along with the icons, I want to add "blanks" (that is, non-spacing and non-marking glyphs).

Do you mean "white space" characters? If the encoding is to be a Unicode-based (as opposed to a PostScript name-based font), you'll find a number of characters already assigned for spaces, just ready for you to fill in values. See Unicode "General Punctuation" (U+2000 through U+ 2011). You probably shouldn't cheat on the values of spaces based on the em, but "thin" and "hair" have no exact meaning, and you could use them as you see fit. While the "figure" and "punctuation" spaces kinda sorta have meanings, you could probably cheat a little and use them, too.

Just fill out whatever value you want in the metrics window, and voilà!

If you are actually talking about a character that "has black as well as white," you need to make, say, three copies of the glyph you want, and scale each glyph separately, using tools > action > contour > scale > (fill in values). There probably is a way to get the program to work so you only have to use the command one time (instead of three), but you'll spend far more time figuring it out than just running it three times.

mhulse's picture

Nick and Charles! Thank you so much for the help, I really appreciate it! You folks are awesome!

Nick, that's a good question. I'm actually trying to replicate blank characters like the ones found in Adobe Blank font:

http://blogs.adobe.com/typblography/2013/03/introducing-adobe-blank.html

For my font, I have a logo on the "M" and "m" glyphs. My goal is to create "blank" glyphs for several other characters so I can type my name and have only the "M" (or "m") show a version of my logo. For more info see here:

http://scottkellum.com/2013/10/25/the-new-kellum-method.html

I had posted a question on Stack asking for help on how to create "blank" glyphs in FontLab ... Based on the one reply given, I ended up posting my own answer:

http://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/25858/10258

The above are the steps I'm taking to create a "non-spacing and non-marking glyph". I think I've got all the steps figured out, except for the suggestion of applying "Scale (1%) × 3 times".

Based on both of you replies, I now understand that the "x 3 times" means "do it 3 times". The only issue is, I'm not sure of the field I should input "1%". Here's a screen shot of the Actions -> Scale Glyph window:

Here's what it looks like after I've input "1" in the width input field (and turned on "proportional"):

But, is that the same as "1%"? As you can see in that second screenshot, the "%" isn't there (it gets removed after I've applied the action).

With all of that said, I apologize for not giving more information in my first post.

Really, my main goal is to create "non-spacing and non-marking glyphs", just like the Adobe Blank, but for only a few glyphs and I'll eventually generate a web font using Font Squirrel.

So far, I've documented my steps (with screen shots) in the graphicdesign.stackexchange.com link above.

Sorry to chat your ears off. I'm just super happy that I've met some folks on the web who are willing to help me out! :)

Charles, thanks so much for the details! I'm going to experiment with your ideas this weekend. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions.

(Does anyone know how I can get e-mail notifications when there's a reply to a thread I'm involved in?) ... (Also, how do edit my own posts? I don't seem to have that ability. Maybe I don't have enough rep yet? Edit: Wait, I see an edit link on this post ... Just, for some reason, there's no "edit" link for my first post/question above.)

Many TIAs!!!!!!

charles ellertson's picture

1. The value in "scale" is a percentage. As such, it can be expressed as a decimal, right? So "1" here also equals .01, and the action is multiplication. Something that was 100 units wide becomes 1 unit wide after running the "scale" routine with a vale of "1".

Try a little test with a character where the character is not simply "space,"

2. But the "scale" action takes place on the bezier curves, it's not meant to change width in space-only characters. It may do so, but that wasn't the purpose of the tool. For space-only modification, you set the width directly, either in the glyph window by pulling the "width" bar, or easiest, in the metrics window, by directly assigning the width you want.

It should be clear to you that you're using the program in ways the developers didn't intend, so the best course of action would be to try something & see the result. Essentially, what you're doing is asking us to try these little tests for you, then report back. Problem with that is, as always, communication. (Nor should you be offended if no one wants to play.)

mhulse's picture

1. The value in "scale" is a percentage. As such, it can be expressed as a decimal, right? So "1" here also equals .01, and the action is multiplication. Something that was 100 units wide becomes 1 unit wide after running the "scale" routine with a vale of "1".

Ahhhh, thank you for the clarification! I really appreciate it!!! :)

I think the disconnect for me was that I did not realize that box was a percentage value. I don't think I would have ever thought to input ".o1", so thank you very much for showing me the light.

Try a little test with a character where the character is not simply "space,"

I will do! You are right, I should've done that before asking here. I dunno, I guess I feel there's something kinda "magical" when it comes to font creation tools. I don't know enough to feel confident that the end result will be exactly what I envision, so that's why I'm coming here. :(

2. But the "scale" action takes place on the bezier curves, it's not meant to change width in space-only characters. It may do so, but that wasn't the purpose of the tool. For space-only modification, you set the width directly, either in the glyph window by pulling the "width" bar, or easiest, in the metrics window, by directly assigning the width you want.

:: light goes off ::

That's great info! In this case, I'm starting with a fresh font that only has bezier curves for "M" and "m", and the rest are just blanks. Thinking out loud here: You're saying that if I drag the "width" bar to zero, that should be enough work to get the end result I'm looking for.

I will experiment this weekend and post back my findings (maybe my ramblings will help another noob down the road).

Thank you for the info!!!

It should be clear to you that you're using the program in ways the developers didn't intend, so the best course of action would be to try something & see the result. Essentially, what you're doing is asking us to try these little tests for you, then report back. Problem with that is, as always, communication. (Nor should you be offended if no one wants to play.)

Fair enough. No offense taken. I apologize for acting like a noob.

In my defense, I am posting all of my findings back to the interwebs. With that said, I'll be sure to not ask such broad questions in the future.

I greatly appreciate you folks taking the time to help me out. :)

Thomas Phinney's picture

If you want non-marking and non-spacing glyphs in FontLab Studio, I don't understand why you are doing all this scaling operation on marking and spacing glyphs. There are a bunch of easier ways.

To create a non-marking and non-spacing glyph in FontLab Studio:
- go to the font window.
- double-click on any unused (grey) glyph slot shown in the font

The glyph slot will turn white. You are done.

If the glyph you want is not visible as a grey unused slot, you may need to select a different encoding view.

Or you can use the "Generate Glyph" dialog. Let's say your first blank glyph is in the cap A slot, and you want more as B, C and D. At the font window, go to Glyph > Generate Glyphs (Cmd-G). Type "A=B A=C A=D" and hit OK. Or copy your "A" glyph and paste into B, C and D.

You can even use the Generate Glyphs dialog to generate empty non-spacing glyphs when you don't have any defined yet, because if you use a name it doesn't recognize as the input, it will create... an empty non-spacing glyph. So for example if you use the dialog and type in it "xyz=Irving xyz=Forbush" even though you have no glyph named xyz, you will still create glyphs named Irving and Forbush.

Another route: once you have one such glyph (created as above), you can select an existing empty white glyph in the font window. Copy it, then do a contextual click (right-click or Ctrl-click) and choose "append glyph." A copy will get added to the end of the font, with a default name derived from the original glyph's name. You'll need to fix the encoding and name of the glyph, which you can do with another contextual click and selecting "properties" and editing in the resulting window.

Richard Fink's picture

What T Phinney is suggesting is a much more straightforward way to do what you are looking to do. I'm puzzled about the 3 x 1% thing. Where did it come from? Also, I've had occasion to create fonts similar to the Adobe Blank Font but was able to cut down greatly on file size by duplicating the "blank" glyph by designating an initial glyph as a "master" to be inserted as a component into as many character slots as there needs to be. (Works great for repeating the same outline over and over again while adding next to nothing to the file size because a large part of the data is simply a pointer to a glyph contained within the same character, over and over again.)

Té Rowan's picture

Ya know... the difference between three 1% reductions and one 3% reduction is just about 3%, so shooting straight for 97% would likely work about as well as reducing to 99% three times.

mhulse's picture

I totally missed the last three comments. I apologize for not responding sooner.

I'm not sure if I'm missing something, but I can't seem to figure out how to subscribe to e-mail notifications. If anyone can tell me if this is possible and where to look for the setting, I'd really appreciate it. :)

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for the help! It's been extremely helpful.

This forum is really awesome. I've been looking for a typography forum for a while ... There's just not that many resources out there where one can talk with pros like this site offers.

Thanks again!!!!

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