Incubator, Incubator Pro & Incubator GX?

cursusductus's picture

Hi,
I've been searching information about these cute programs, but they have disapeared and there's almost no data on the net.
Here you can read a bit:
http://www.savetz.com/ku/ku/meaden_incubator_pro_for_font_mangling_augus...

They were able to open an existing PS or TT font and make versions of them, applying Deltas (hinting operation). Something like a Multiple Master, but Single Master.
It would be nice to get some demo or screen shots for my PHD thesis.
Thanks,

Daniel

cursusductus's picture

Come on, guys,
nobody there heard about them, or played with them?

Miss Tiffany's picture

This is from 1993. Couldn't you use something from FontLab?

dberlow's picture

I helped to develop this with Sampo. It was ec ipsed by Cameleon and GX Variations technology. I have it somewhere for sure. . .

"Deltas (hinting operation)" — Delta(s) is only a hinting operation in the narrow confines of TT hinting. In IP and GX, it was, with the addition of Interpolation of the "untouched" points, a quick and remarkably efficient means of transforming an outline for high resolution output.

cursusductus's picture

dberlow
Thanks for the response.
As I understand, Cameleon worked by doing interpolation (I have a demo and that's my impression), so masters were needed (different versions have more and more options=new masters added).
IP and GX are more interesting, because they are single master, and I understand they were dangerous for the market.
Can we get some images or samples of letters changed by IP or GX?

dberlow's picture

All the technologies you mention use(d) interpolation (and in one case, extrapolation), which is sort of the oxygen of computer assisted style manipulation, grid fitting and things beyond.

Cameleon worked by having a small set of very complex contours, masters took up 50-100k per font (I think), and there were several of these; for serif, sans, italic, etc., and then a 5k descriptor file for each discrete style from a particular master. You could, of course, interpolate to anywhere within, (but not between) the masters, and create your own 5k style descriptor.

Incubator Pro, I don't remember that much as it was a quick quack between MM and GX, before GX "won."

"Can we get some images..."
¿How do you "Insert" movies here?

cursusductus's picture

David, thanks again, this is a very interesting information.
Cameleon works more or less like I presumed, and it's really funny to play with it.
Incubator and Incubator Pro worked applyng deltas to change the letterform (as I can imagine); there was a GX version of Incubator which was able to create GX fonts, but I only found an interview to Sampo talking about it...
You said GX "won" to MM... but nobody uses GX now (or AAT, which has no support from 3rd-party programs). Can you explain a little bit more?
¿How do you “Insert” movies here?
probably with a link to an external web like YouTube.
It's free, just register and upload the video.
I can help you if you want.

blairyo's picture

cursusductus,
Great name! I don't know your setup, so apologies if you know this already…

You can create your own images of GX variations fonts in the drawing program Intaglio. Set some text and choose Skia from the fonts pallette. Instances and variations sliders appear in the Typography Panel, which is accessed from the 'gear' icon. MM fonts work in the same way as GX Variations—just drag the sliders.

Alternatively, install the X-Code tools and go to Developer>Examples>ATSUI>Font Panel Support and compile the sample program 'ATSUIFontPanelDemo'. Several other example apps also display GX Features and Variations.

If you have the OSX 'Classic' environment installed, or you have a pre-OSX Mac with System 7, OS8 or OS9, download LightningDraw Lite. The GXGraphics extension, which supplies the GX Variations functionality, is installed with LightningDraw (it's part of the installer).
____________________________

About Incubator GX (I've not used it as haven't been able to find it, legally or otherwise);

http://www.truetype.demon.co.uk/truetype/sampo.htm
This page says Sampo Kaasila of Type Solutions created Incubator GX and TypeMan GX (a hinting tool), but they were later discontinued due to a lack of interest from the market. This is bizarre; the first GX applications didn't arrive until 1995!
____________________________

http://web.archive.org/web/20010104101800/webcom.net/~nfhome/fontgen.htm
This page says that Incubator did things that Font Chameleon could not do. At the end of the piece it says that Bitstream bought Type Solutions in December 1998.
____________________________

According to a Seybold Report from 1993, Incubator GX could automatically produce multiple axis GX fonts from a single input—in other words, GX Variations fonts.
____________________________

David:

Could you expand on this? Did Incubator work? Was it able to create Variations? How were the Skia variations created?

dberlow's picture

"You said GX “won” to MM… but nobody uses GX now (or AAT, which has no support from 3rd-party programs)"

I was kidding, with the "won". But despite the lack of support, (not no support, but little), it's the only one standing. The only one. Truely.

I'll try YouTube, but so far it only wants me to confirm my email, over and over, and will not give an uploading menu. Just impagin stuff running around the screen, okay?

cursusductus's picture

blairyo
thanks for the info, my name comes from two latin words, cursus & ductus, related to paleography & calligraphy... more in other post.
do you mean this intaglio?
http://www.purgatorydesign.com/Intaglio/
I'll test it.
I know the rest of the links, they are very interesting, thanks anyway.

dberlow
I'm sorry, my english is not as good as I would like.. I don't understand
it’s the only one standing.
Do you mean that works better than MM?
about YouTube, you can send me the video and I'll upload it, if you want.
My mail is in my account details.

cursusductus's picture

There is also Infinifont, a parametric syste developed by HP:
http://cajun.cs.nott.ac.uk/compsci/epo/papers/volume6/issue3/beausol.pdf
Did you test it?

dberlow's picture

"Incubator GX could automatically produce multiple axis GX fonts from a single input—in other words, GX Variations fonts."

"Was it able to create Variations? How were the Skia variations created?"

Incubator made gx fonts with a narrow axis. I.E. it could get from roman, to light and bold, not thin and black. I don't remember how well widths worked...

Ski was made by hand. Matthew drew four corners, I made gx and pushed the narrow corners narrower and then Tom Rickner and Matt made it nicey nice and then Tom hinted it :-o.

dberlow's picture

"I don’t understand it’s the only one standing."
"Do you mean that works better than MM?"

No, I mean, MM is no longer supported, and GX variations are.

cursusductus's picture

Incubator made gx fonts with a narrow axis. I.E. it could get from roman, to light and bold, not thin and black.

mmmm... I supose that Incubator worked well with slight variations, alas DELTA instructions were applied. Heavy conversions require bigger changes in the letterform and masters/interpolation have better results.
It makes sense to me.

twardoch's picture

David,

GX variations are "dying supported". You can't get them in a normal Cocoa application such as Keynote, Pages or TextEdit. You need to make direct ATSUI calls from a Mac OS X applications, which almost nobody – most people use the Cocoa text framework. There is a demo ATSUI application on the Mac OS X developers pack which allows you to see the Skia GX variations but that's about it. There used to be a small text editor called WorldText that supported the variations. It was included in the developers pack of Mac OS X but I was not able to find it in OS X 10.4. I tried running an older copy of WorldText on my 10.4 system but it crashed. So the support for GX variations is practically non-existent, from the user point of view.

A.

blairyo's picture

WorldText does work with OSX 10.4, but it requires the PowerPlant.framework. This wasn't suppled with 10.4, but it was with previous versions of OSX. The framework goes in;
Macintosh HD>System>Library>PrivateFrameworks>PowerPlant.framework

The OSX drawing app Intaglio supports GX/MM Variations and Instances via two extra features in the Typography Panel.

Intaglio, WorldText and the X-code example ATSUIFontPanelDemo, also display an extra menu, 'Extra Position Controls', which consists of three features; 'Add Space Before Characters', Add Space After Characters' and 'Shift Text Baseline'. The first two features enable letterspacing and leading to be changed either by moving a slider or by typing a numeral in a box. This works with letters, words, lines or paragraphs.

How 'Shift Text Baseline' works depends on the font. With most fonts, space is added between each line and between paragraphs, but with Skia, the space is added between paragraphs and the last line in paragraphs is also changed. Something is wrong here—maybe this was corrected in OS 10.4.6?

The Font Panel doesn't always work properly. If you choose a different font, WorldText ignores the change. This can be solved by opening a new document.

Several more X-code samples (including MLTE Showcase and TypeServicesForUnicode) also support Variations to one degree or another, but their implementations and interfaces are different from Text Edit.

dberlow's picture

"GX variations are “dying supported”."

Beats Dead, no?

cursusductus's picture

dberlow said: "I’ll try YouTube, but so far it only wants me to confirm my email, over and over, and will not give an uploading menu. Just impagin stuff running around the screen, okay?"

One year later, I bought a mac, and I was able to upload the videos that Mr. Berlow sent me. Here they are:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxTa8RQFXlM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGxzF9519l0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0pOKQGz7co

It would be nice to know something else about Incubator, as I don't find the relation with these videos.

dberlow's picture

"It would be nice to know something else about Incubator, as I don’t find the relation with these videos."
Incubator made GX fonts be accreting axes onto a base master with the resulting GX font used in conjunction with an understanding application, in this case ObjectDancer, to product movies like these.

Cheers!

cursusductus's picture

Then, if I understood, Incubator moves some points of the letter and interpolates the untouched points to transform the shape, in a similar way that hinting does.
Is it possible to see some letters created by Incubator and the original letterform?
There must be some documentation anywhere...

George Thomas's picture

Daniel:

Contact me via email (majus at airmail dot net). I have Incubator Pro 2.02 and can generate a font for you using the font of your choice if I have it for the Mac.

As for documentation, I have that also but it doesn't give much in the way of details.

George

cursusductus's picture

majus, you have a mail...

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