Kerning OT-glyphs in the metrics window?

Goran Soderstrom's picture

I’d like to take my sample text strings in lowercase, regular text and use this when kerning the small caps, which of course is OT-features. But the problem gets rather obvious since the metrics panel doesnt support OT-features. (?)

Hmm, this seems like a huge problem when working in FontLab – if I’m not missing some information? Does anyone have any tricks to share? Is it even possible?
Thanks in advance.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Sure it's possible. You can select glyphs in the glyph window and choose "new metrics window" and have it populated that way. You can also type glyph names, each preceded by a slash, in the text entry part of the metrics window. I think you can load and save files of sample strings, too, but I haven't gotten into that.

Regards,

T

Goran Soderstrom's picture

Yes, I know this, but lets say you have a sample text which you load. A regular text. Let’s say you want to see this text when kerning the OT-small caps:

a cat walked in the room

If you want to kern the small caps, the sample text must look like this:

/a.small/space/c.small/a.small/t.small/space/w.small/a.small/l.small/ etc

Not so handy ;-)

What I meant was, that if I could just load my "a cat walked" text and then click on small caps in the metrics window. Wow, that would save hours a day.
The sample strings I load is rather long.

William Berkson's picture

There is more than one way to skin a cat :)

Another way is to load your small caps into a new font in the normal abc or ABC position, and space or kern them there. Then you can easily type different test strings at will. When you are done, you can copy and and 'paste special' back into your font.

If you are using the same test strings, just load whatever you do into the test strings--use the button with the three dots at the top right--and then they are available for reuse.

Goran Soderstrom's picture

William, that seems like a good workaround. Thanks. :)

But to be honest, this is the first time I really got "angry" on FontLab, because I really think it _should_ be possible to do this in the metrics window in the font you are working on. Without workarounds.

Well, you can‘t always get what you want, but let’s hope Adam reads this thread, because it feels like a necessary update in future versions of FontLab. A metrics panel WITH OT-features would rock!

dezcom's picture

I have bunches of little text files with text strings I like to use. Instead of typing the strings over and over in the metrics window, I just type them once with the slash-glyphname format and save them as text. The metrics window has a folder button which allows you to navigate to any text file on your machine and open it in the Metrics Window. This really comes in handy for setting metrics in foreign scripts.

ChrisL

Quincunx's picture

I've done the same thing as dezcom describes above. I've loaded a large txt-file in the metrics window permanently.
Use the drop-down menu or the arrowkeys to navigate through the strings.

twardoch's picture

Goran,

I agree with you that possibly, a unified OpenType and Metrics panel would be helpful. We'll take it into consideration.

Adam

Goran Soderstrom's picture

Thanks Adam. It would really lift FontLab even higher. :)

clauses's picture

I concur, it would really be of help. Another fine addition would be for Fontlab's metrics window to be able to load a unicode text file, and then automatically convert the unicode characters into the special Fontlab format e.g. /oslash

jason's picture

Seems to me the problem is that not everyone tags their small caps the same way (eg. Asmall or A.sc, etc.), thus, FontLab wouldn't know which glyphs to place in the metrics/kerning window when you hit a "small caps" button.

William Berkson's picture

>FontLab wouldn’t know

Well, Adobe now has their 'recommended' list of names, so FontLab could adopt that, or a variant, and the developer of the typeface could use that for ease of development, and change names in the end if they wanted to.

Goran Soderstrom's picture

Seems to me the problem is that not everyone tags their small caps the same way (eg. Asmall or A.sc, etc.), thus, FontLab wouldn’t know which glyphs to place in the metrics/kerning window when you hit a “small caps” button.

It works in the OT-panel, doesnt it? Even if the small caps are named Asmall, asmall, a.small or a.sc. It’s all about how the classes are written.

If the same "engine" is used in the metrics panel, I guess there shouldnt be any problem how you name them.

jason's picture

Good point Goran; so the Metrics window would need to be able to call up and apply OT classes to preview text. That would be handy.

Even better would be an option to highlight text in the preview and apply OT features to specific bits of the string. That way you could type (for example) "ABC1/3ff" and apply c2sc to "ABC," apply frac to "1/3" and apply liga to "ff" and then work on the kerning/metrics for mixed combinations.

dezcom's picture

You can do that now in the Opentype window.

ChrisL

Thomas Phinney's picture

I agree that a unified metrics/OT panel would be *very* handy. It would certainly save me considerable time.

There are a lot of tricks one learns, though. For instance, when in the text-editing mode in the metrics window one can cut and paste glyphs. Also, one can simply drag glyphs into the metrics window. It is amazing how quick one gets at some of these routes for doing things like spelling words in small caps. But it really is just a workaround.

Cheers,

T

twardoch's picture

BTW, note that in FontLab Studio 5.0.2 (not in previous versions), at the very bottom of the the OpenType Preview panel, there is a small text field that allows you to capture the final glyphnames after applying some OpenType features. So you can type in "adhesion", apply "smcp" and in the bottom textfield "/a.sc/d.sc/h.sc/e.sc/s.sc/i.sc/o.sc/n.sc" (or something like that) will appear. You can copy that text and paste it into the small textfield in the Metrics Window. This is a slightly handier way of doing this. Still not optimal, but better than typing the glyphnames.

Adam

Goran Soderstrom's picture

Adam, that trick i really liked. Never thought of it.

Thanks, it makes things a lot more easier.

dberlow's picture

One thing that disturbs my flow in this area is the apparent inability of FL to open a metrics window, or allow one to paste text strings that contain more than 256 (?) characters, even though its not a lot glyphs. if , e.g. you have glyphs with long names, you're limited to how many you can see, which seems like a kind of cheap way of saving some tiny slice of memory... don't it?

dezcom's picture

I would like it very much if I could just paste actual text in any language into the Metrics window. I mean find a web page in Icelandic or Russian, copy the text, then paste it into the metrics window and have fontlab display it in the font being worked on without slashes and spelled out glyph names.

Thanks David! I also vote for more than the eensy-weensy number of characters FL limits you too.

ChrisL

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