Tracking problem with .otf OpenTypes generated by Fontographer 5

Can anyone suggest why the OpenTypes I'm generating in Fontographer 5 have sporadic spacing anomalies and the tracking occasionally goes way out. It looks like I've gone insane while kerning. This weirdness is only happening in .otf font files; the .ttf , Mac PostScript and Mac TrueTypes are all exactly as designed.

If I take my Fontographer-generated .ttf file into FontLab and generate .otf files, they have the correct spacing, the problem is only in Fontographer generated OpenTypes. Am I doing something stupid or has Fontographer 5 got a glitch?

Thanks in advance.

keith's picture

Many thanks, Johnych.

oldnick's picture

That is a "not-ready-for-prime-time-how-the-hell-did-it-get-released-as-a-standalone-program" kinda bug...

keith's picture

Yes, I think you're right Nick, in the event of such a major faux pas I think owners should have received an urgent email.
The fixed version is on the way, Fontlab Sales emailed me yesterday, "we expect Fontographer 5.1 in early May", I trust this will be a free update.

I don't want to be too negative because I still feel grateful to FontLab for breathing life back into Fontographer, especially in the face of criticism that their engineers would have been better employed updating FontLab. I read one comment here on Typophile which described Fontographer as a 'children's toy', I can't believe how some people totally miss the point about creating a tool for the graphic and type designer who doesn't aspire to become a font engineer.

twardoch's picture

We're sorry for this bug. Since in .otf fonts kerning is an OpenType Layout feature, and the support for adding OpenType Layout features was completely new in Fontographer, we made some mistakes in implementing in in Fontographer 5.0.

FOG 5.1 is pretty much done and is in the last phase of beta testing. It'll be a free update for all FOG 5.0 users.

oldnick's picture

I read one comment here on Typophile which described Fontographer as a 'children's toy', I can't believe how some people totally miss the point about creating a tool for the graphic and type designer who doesn't aspire to become a font engineer.

IMHO, this "children's toy" is, bar none, the best tool for BUILDING a font, while FontLab excels at FINISHING a font...which is not to say that both products couldn't be improved, but FOG5 is a valuable tool in the hands of a person who knows how to use it.

twardoch's picture

Fontographer is a very solid tool. Even if you want to make high-end complex font, you can add Microsoft VTT for hinting and Microsoft VOLT for OpenType Layout features, and use Fontographer to produce a very solid font that is then processed with those Microsoft tools.

Perhaps somebody may confuse "simple" with "simplistic". To me, "simple" is a great virtue. Basically, you cannot build a "bad" font with FOG 5 (except for the few bugs, of course, which blur the picture). The user interface is solid, the drawing tools are solid, the underlying technology (thanks to the FontLab engine under the hood) is also very solid.

I think this kind of reflects the current trend in other areas. A micro-four-thirds Lumix GH2 camera may be some considered a "children's toy", but some professionals actually use it to shoot films and music videos. Apple's GarageBand or iMovie aren't really "children's toys" either. Sure, there is the final 2% of finesse for which you may end other tools (conveniently, the free Microsoft come in handy as a complement for FOG). But with Fontographer, it's certainly very easy to start with just your drawing skills, and get a professional result. It's, essentially, only the skills that make the difference. A tool like Fontographer, is almost "transparent". It exposes the designer's skills, bare-bones.

(Matthew Carter still uses Fontgrapher to design his fonts, as an example.)

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