(New) tutorials/books about TrueType hinting in FontLab

-Rudy-'s picture

I was wondering if there were any new tutorials or books about TrueType hinting in Fontlab? I've read the guide on: http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&cat_id=FontDesi... and I'm also studying the Fontlab Manual, and I have seen some other sites on the matter, but I'm looking for something refreshing that will shed new light on the subject.

I'm hoping to find a tutorial or book that will guide you through the TrueType hinting process in a step-by-step manner that will keep me awake and off the coffee :P

If anyone knows of such a tutorial/book, or knows if there's one coming, please let me know :)

Thanks in advance!

Rudy

Typedog's picture

Very nice, thanks for the link comrade.

Guerrizmo+Design
No man is an island unto himself_John Donne

-Rudy-'s picture

Your welcome Typedog.

I was realy hoping there would be people who knew of more tutorials/books about TrueType hinting in FontLab, but I guess there just aren't any more. I think most people don't have enough time to create one or just don't have the know-how.

I've read in a book somewhere that there are only about 10 TrueType hinting professionals in the world and that some others come close, but are no professionals.
If this is true, I think more education on TrueType hinting must come to enlarge the number of professionals. They in their turn can teach others, so there will finaly be more tutorials and books about the subject.

What do you think?

ebensorkin's picture

I started to try to teach myself about it and I got some good results but I never felt that I had a comprehensive understanding. The other thing is you can semi-OK hinting with automated methods. And the rendering environments that TT hinting is made for may or may not be ones your project needs to worry about. So before you invest the time I would look carefully at why you need to know about this. Once you have a clear context it maybe a great idea to learn about but it may just as easily be a waste of time. And finally my understanding is that Pros use special in house tools you cannot buy. I would be interested in any info that contradicts this last point.

Typedog's picture

Truly, I don't know the programing or mechanics behind rendering a font. I am more of a designer of letters. However, I
messed around with Fontlab and I am learning the software at the speed of a toddlers walk.

Guerrizmo+Design
No man is an island unto himself_John Donne

ebensorkin's picture

If you are just getting started then my suggestion ( I am paraphrasing what I have been told this by many designers I respect) is that you not worry about TT hinting for a good long while and concentrate on other aspects of type design that are going to stay relevant in a way that a narrow technical aspect which is really just for screen may not. You may also want to look at PS hints and blue zones because they are much simpler.

-Rudy-'s picture

I learned some basic TT hinting from the FontLab manual, just enough to tweak some characters.
It still bugs me though that I don't have a comprehensive understanding of TT hinting. I'm silently hoping an in-house tool of the "Pros" will go public or that an easier TT hinting method will come in the next upgrade of FontLab.

I realise now that Type 1 hinting (and maybe a conversion from Type 1 to TT) looks good enough for most fonts.

P.S. thanks for your help Eben, I was writing this comment when you post yours, so I couldn't comment on that.

Rudy

gferreira's picture

have a look at the vtt resources, for example this one.

-Rudy-'s picture

Thanks gferreira. But I must say that Visual TrueType looks as complex as normal TT hinting in FontLab. And after reading this:

Is Visual TrueType an appropriate tool for you?

Although the graphical user-interface of VTT dramatically simplifies the task of font hinting, the tool is not for the novice. The learning curve is fairly steep, simply because hinting requires professional skills regardless of the tools. Even accomplished type designers who have been using Fontographer and FontLab for years to design fonts have evaluated VTT and decided that professional hinting is not for them. In a way, this is similar to desktop publishing programs, as they make it easier for the professional typesetter to cut-and-paste, but they don't make the rest of us professional typographers.

I don't think this is the solution to make TT hinting easier. But thanks anyways, it's better than nothing ;)

Rudy

Thomas Phinney's picture

If your desire is to make it easier, then don't go anywhere near manual TT hinting. Avoid TrueType and stick to OpenType CFF or Type 1 with its vastly simpler hinting model.

Back in the day, I did manual TT hinting with VTT, and it was a whole bunch o' work. Interesting, and sorta fun for me, but lots to learn.

Cheers,

T

-Rudy-'s picture

I think I'll stick to Type 1 hinting for now and maybe convert Type 1 to TT hints for .ttf fonts. What do you recommend when generating a ttf file, convert Type 1 to TT before generating a font or don't convert hints and let Fontlab convert Type 1 to TT when generating the font?

Rudy

twardoch's picture

Rudy,

For the Type 1 hinting model the essential steps to do is:

1. Font Info / Hinting Settings / Auto Zones.
2. Tools / Action / Hints and Guidelines / Autohint (with Apply to entire font enabled).
3. Font Info / Hinting Settings / Standard stems / Auto stems.

Once this is done, you can let FontLab Studio do the conversion when generating the TT font, or you can take the separate step to convert your outlines to TrueType outlines and then convert hints to TT instructions using Tools / Action Set. This will have exactly the same result.

However, if you do the conversion in a separate step, you'll be able to open the TrueType Hinting tool before generating the font and review the hinting results glyph by glyph.

Cheers,
Adam

-Rudy-'s picture

Thanks Adam,

I did a separate conversion from Type 1 to TT before generating a TT font. I noticed that the stem widths are very important if you don't want to spend to much time adjusting the TT hints afterwards.

I'm now manually (TT)hinting every character, I still don't know exactly what I'm doing but I'm getting a better result than when I only do a T1 to TT conversion.

P.S. Adam, I've read your comments on choosing encodings and generating fonts in Learn Fontlab Fast (from Leslie Cabarga). A good book for learning Type 1 hinting, it's easy reading. Sadly there is almost nothing about TT hinting in it.

Rudy

Goran Soderstrom's picture

/ track /

Down10's picture

Creating satisfactory TrueType hints requires a lot of manual fine tuning and the willingness to use some mathematics to reach that *perfect* delta hint value. If you don't wish to fall down that rabbit hole, I suggest going with Adam & Thomas's above advice and just staying with Type 1 hints

Syndicate content Syndicate content