Illustrator CS5 width tool

dglen's picture

I was wondering if anyone has played around with using the new stroke width tool in Illustrator CS5 and had any luck bringing the stroke (after outlining the path) into Fontlab.

Copy and paste really makes a mess out of the shape. Has anyone had better luck?


twardoch's picture

I've just tested it, and it works well. I mean, the shape in Illustrator after outlining the stroke (or choosing Object / Expand Appearance) already looks quite poorly, but FontLab Studio essentially gets 100% of what Illustrator has. I've just tried Illustrator's "Simplify" at 97% Curve precision after outlining the shape, and then FontLab's Optimize (with some conservative settings), and the results are quite nice.

Of course, keep in mind that it's best to maintain 1:1 scale between Illustrator and FontLab Studio, so it's best to work in pt units in Illustrator, where 1 pt corresponds to 1 font unit in FLS. But this has always been true.

One important thing: since version CS4, Illustrator has the concept of Artboards, which FontLab Studio knows nothing of. To make FontLab Studio understand the placement of the objects, you need to choose View / Rulers / Change to Global Rulers before copy-pasting.

I have just posted an updated Guide for working with Illustrator and FontLab Studio on the FontLab forum which you may find helpful.

Best regards,
Adam Twardoch
Fontlab Ltd.

blank's picture

I’d love to see the results people come up with as I have a project for which this could be very useful. Of course, I’d rather see Fontlab 6 with intergrated LivePen :)

dglen's picture

I think you nailed it twardoch. I (duh) forgot to scale properly before pasting. Scaling really make a big difference.

Usually I'm not a huge fan of Illustrator's simplify tool but it worked well in this instance. It's good to actually know that the width tool outlines can be simplified.

Not bad at all.

twardoch's picture

Well, I've tested the Width Tool in Illustrator and I must say I find it atrocious. Maybe I'm stupid but I cannot figure out how to prevent Illustrator from putting the "first" and the "last" width control points on the "startpoint" of my closed outline (i.e. a circle). This is quite ridiculous :)

dglen's picture


what are you trying to achieve in terms of the line vis-a-vis the width tool.

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