Contextual Positioning of Marks

levonk's picture

I am designing an Armenian font (as many of you know by now). It started as a small project, converting some T1 fonts that I had done in 1987 or something into OTF, with only a three liga features. As I worked on the fonts refining them I started adding more features. Most of the features were somewhat easy. With a few trials I was able to do them.

Unfortunately, I got stuck on one set of features: Contextual Positioning of Marks. The Armenian language has four marks (comma, exclamation mark, question mark, and emphasis mark) that are positioned above the glyphs. The problem of positioning these marks above the glyphs has proven somewhat difficult. I wish to raise or lower the position of the mark depending on the glyph that precedes it, and I cannot find the method to do it. I am using FontLab 4.6 on a Mac OS X 10.4.2, and I want to create OTF CFF fonts. I do not have a PC or Virtual PC to run VOLT (there is a way of using VOLT for OTF CFF somewhere in this forum).

Is there any way I can do this using FL, or should I go buy me a PC?

John Hudson's picture

I'm afraid you will need to use VOLT for this, unless you want to try writing the OTL tables by hand using TTX :)

levonk's picture

Thanks John.

So, what do you suggest, get myself a PC or write the OTL tables by hand using TTX?

levonk's picture

I tried VOLT, and I checked TTX. VOLT is definitly better because you can see the result as you do the editing, but TTX is much faster. It would take me a little while to prepare what needs to be done, and then I could add the features by hand using TTX. Most importantly I won''t have to buy a PC.

The only thing that remains now is the syntax of the ttx file. How do I do it? Is there a tutorial?

John Hudson's picture

I'm not aware of a TTX tutorial that would provide the kind of detail you need. The best approach would probably be to find a font that uses contextual mark positioning (most likely an Arabic font, e.g. one of the new Linotype OT Arabic fonts), dump the GPOS table in TTX, and see how it works.

I know some people who have successfully worked with VOLT on a Mac within a Windows emulator.

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