More Ghosts in the FontLab Machine

oldnick's picture

Awhile back, the Metrics window in FontLab 5.0.4 started working in a strange way. Whereas previously, the window displayed my kerning pairs regardless of the labeling mode for the font as a whole, I can now only see kerning pairs if the font is set to codepages labeling. It's not a big deal, but it seems odd that this behavior just popped up one day.

Another slight annoyance is the Glyph Window. A few weeks back, I opened up a TrueType font with a UPM of 2,048; now, everytime I open a file, the default 100% size is 2,048, even though the vast majority of my files have UPMs of 1,000. Which brings to mind a pet peeve: is there any reason why FontLab doesn't have a simple Magnifying Glass tool, so that one does not have to step-zoom in? A hand tool would be nice, too...

scannerlicker's picture

Hand tool? Press space.

eliason's picture

Option-scroll is a handy way to zoom in/out.

Goran Soderstrom's picture

As said, space for hand tool, add CMD to that space press et Voila, you get a magnifying glass.

I'm not sure what you mean with default 100% size, but if you mean view in a glyph window, FontLab remembers last view. SO if you zoom to 50% and then close that window, it will remember that view next time you open a window.

So there is no ghosts really what you are talking about, try to read the manual ;-)

hrant's picture

There are always ghosts. The more sophisticated a system,
the more ghosts. And FontLab is Casper's favorite hangout.

Nick, since the title of this thread is nicely broad, if I may:
When I have a non-English keyboard selected in Windows (XP Home), FontLab (5.0.4) does not snap to the letters when I hit them. And for Armenian for example it always snaps to the "կ"! Any fix?

hhp

oldnick's picture

Hand tool? Press space.

Thanks for the tip, but it appears that it's Press and HOLD space. I suppose Mac users are used to clumsy two-handed shortcuts.

Option-scroll is a handy way to zoom in/out.

Yes and no: you still have to step-zoom, and the zoom (at least MY zoom) doesn't center on the character, so adjustments need to be made to center the glyph. This hit-or-miss approach usually doesn't occur with most magnifying glass tools.

I'm not sure what you mean with default 100% size, but if you mean view in a glyph window, FontLab remembers last view. SO if you zoom to 50% and then close that window, it will remember that view next time you open a window.

Theoretically, perhaps, but not practically: as I said, MY glyph window is stuck at a 100% 2,048-unit UPM view regardless of magnification at last window close, and invariably returns to that view on zoom-out.

Mark Simonson's picture

The two zooming methods I use most frequently (I'm using the Mac version):

- Hit the "Z" key to zoom in or the "X" key to zoom out.

- Press (and hold) the space bar then the command key to get the zoom-in magnifying glass tool; add the option key to get the zoom-out tool. This works almost exactly as in Adobe apps.

One difference in the way zoom works in FontLab compared to Adobe apps is that the zoom is always oriented around the location of the mouse cursor. I find this preferable, but it's disorienting sometimes when switching between FontLab and Adobe apps.

I also assign command-1 to the 100% view, which I don't think is the default.

nina's picture

> MY glyph window is stuck

AFAIK FontLab remembers the zoom setting that's set in the zoom dropdown (manual calls it the «zoom popup menu») in the glyph window. If that's set to 100% as the standard zoom, new glyph windows will open at 100% no matter how much you've previously zoomed in/out using other tools or keyboard shortcuts.
I might be missing something.

I'd also like to second Hrant's question and ask if FontLab is generally immune to Non-Latin keyboard input? It doesn't seem to work for the preview window either.

oldnick's picture

Mark,

Translating your instructions into PC keys (CTRL for CMD and ALT for OPT) works for me: thanks for the info. However, it's just slighgtly this side of ridiculous that it takes up to three fingers and two hands to accomplish what a single, simple tool icon would do. But, then again, the number of tools packed in under CTRL/CMD T is also a nuisance. Maybe I'm just spoiled after years of working with CorelDraw, with its SINGLE tool to add or delete nodes; make segments lines or curves; make nodes sharp, smooth or symmetrical; and align, scale or rotate nodes. Oh, yeah: and a curve smoothing slider that actually allows for real finessing.

And, Altaira, sorry: my default view is STILL stuck in a 2,048-unit UPM view and always returns there when opening a new glyph window...bummer.

gargoyle's picture

It is possible to activate the magnifying glass tool in FontLab without all the multi-finger acrobatics -- it's hiding under the name "Custom" in the Zoom menu. So you can add it to a toolbar using the Tools > Customize dialog for quick access. Unfortunately, there's no icon for it (though you can draw your own in Windows), and it immediately deactivates after using it.

oldnick's picture

Gargoyle,

Thank you! That's a most sensible suggestion. I have assigned "Custom" and "Zoom Out" the same shortcut keys as in CorelDraw, and they work just fine: makes life much simpler.

Now, if I could just get my 1,000-unit UPM view back...

Mark Simonson's picture

I use the space-cmd/space-cmd-opt only out of habit from using Adobe apps. I've managed to get myself into the habit of hitting Z and X instead most of the time when I'm in FontLab. It's hard to overcome 20 years of muscle memory, so I sometimes slip back into the Adobe convention.

I've also gotten into the habit of hitting the number keys to switch tools--1 for the selection tool, 3 for the knife, 5 for the corner tool, etc. Makes things go more quickly.

johnych's picture

Now, if I could just get my 1,000-unit UPM view back...

Check the visual ascender and descender values on the Preferences > Glyph window > Dimensions page. Defaults are 100 & -40.

Regards,
Johnych

oldnick's picture

Check the visual ascender and descender values on the Preferences > Glyph window > Dimensions page. Defaults are 100 & -40.

Those ARE the settings, as a percentage of UPM; unfortunately, the UPM is STILL stuck at 2,048...

CurveDoctor's picture

indeed, grmbl, 100% is always different. The only zoom setting that makes sense is 1:1, then 1 font unit corresponds to 1 screen pixel, regardless of UPM.

hrant's picture

> The only zoom setting that makes sense is 1:1

Not at all, for two very simple reasons:
- The curves between points are not restricted to the font's grid, they're restricted to the rasterizer's grid; so you need to see what they might (and often will) end up looking like. This is also why anti-aliased rendering in a font editor is great.
- It's hard to control the mouse to the pixel. (In fact even when you're making a pixelfont it's very useful to zoom way in.)

Try making the curve that connects the top of the right stem to the extremum in an italic "n".

hhp

twardoch's picture

Hrant,

many designers prefer to work in the pixel-to-unit correspondence. Not just 1:1 but also 2:1 and 4:1.

A.

hrant's picture

Sure, I work that way myself as needed. I was simply
objecting to the claim that high zooms are useless.

hhp

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