Win / Mac: New tool "Find my Font" to identify fonts in images

fvilanakis's picture

Hi everybody,

my name is Fivos Vilanakis and this is my first post in Typophile forums.
I'm the chief technical officer at Softonium Developments Inc and I'd like to introduce our new application named "Find my Font".

Find my Font Screenshot 1 Find my Font Screenshot 2

Product site: http://www.findmyfont.com

'Find my Font' reads scanned images or photos and then goes through all the fonts on your computer and matches the letters in the scanned image against the fonts in your computer. You are provided with a list of matching fonts along with the matching accuracy for each one. You may also type some text and see how well the matching went.

It's ideal for font designers, graphic designers and creative professionals who would otherwise spend hours trying to find a matching font.

The main features of "Find my Font" are:

1. It runs natively on both Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7) and Mac OS/X (intel based)

2. It works with all common image formats or a screen capture
You can load any common image file (bmp, gif, jpg, png, tif, +others) or use the screen capture tool to work with a web image or a the on-screen image of another application.

3. Smart selection tools - No special image preprocessing required
It provides special tools to easily select any letters present in a color image with no need for a white-background or special image preprocessing. You can e.g. rotate the image, make the text baseline horizontal, split any script letters, or select a letter placed on a complex color background with a few simple clicks.

4. Matches all of your OTF/TTF fonts either installed or not
It matches the letters you select from an image, against all Open Type (*.otf) or True Type (*.ttf) fonts installed in your system. You can also specify any number of additional folders containing not installed OTF/TTF fonts and even switch on/off any of these font-sets on a specific matching.

5. Unicode support
The Find my Font (Pro edition) supports both matching & indexing on the full unicode range of font characters.

6. Incredible matching speed!
The latest version of 'Find my Font' achieves incredible matching speeds. Thanks to our new proprietary indexing algorithm the application is able to scan up to 5 million fonts per minute. At these speeds you can examine e.g. 100.000-200.000 fonts in just 5-10 seconds!

7. Precise Matching!
You can find both exact matches of the font you are searching and/or similar fonts.
When it comes to matching accuracy we are confident enough to say that, If you don't see an exact match of the font you are searching on the top 5 matching positions, this font probably does not exist in your computer!
Try the free-trial edition to believe it!

You can find more on product-editions or download the free-trial application here:

http://www.findmyfont.com/index.php/download/compare-editions

Using "Find my Font" as a copyright protection tool
There is a special use of Find my Font for font designers: To protect your copyrighted work.
We all know there are many sites out there claiming they have "free fonts" but most of these are not actually free but illegal copies of commercial fonts packaged under different filenames and/or different family names.
If you download all available fonts of a "free fonts" site and use your font design as input, Find my Font can tell you in seconds if there are any illegal copies of your design in the downloaded fonts.
...and this is only possible because you can instruct Find my Font to match against e.g. 100.000 fonts and still get very accurate results in just 5-10 seconds!

I know that font designers are actually the most demanding users of our application and I'd love to hear your opinion and thoughts whatever it is - things you like, you don't like, things to improve, anything.

For this reason we have decided to give 15 Promotion-Codes for Typophile users to download the Find my Font Pro edition for Windows or Mac OS for free.
The only thing we ask in return is to write your opinion here in this thread to help us improve our product.

Feel free to respond to this message and ask me to send you a free promotion-code to download the Pro Edition.

Current Count: All PROMO-CODES are given!

I wish you lots of creative time!

Fivos Vilanakis
Software Engineer
Softonium Developments

PS: Although the main purpose of this message is promotional, I have to admit that I'm personally involved in both design and coding of the product and I'm really proud of the final result, therefore I really need to hear your opinion about it. Thank you for your time!

===================================================
UPDATE - 11 May 2012
New posts:
7 Dec 2011: Find my Font v2.3.0 - Find fonts in Images & Browse fonts by Visual Similarity
11 May 2012: Find my Font v3.0 - Find fonts in Images: Both Local and Online font matching is now supported!

fvilanakis's picture

I think your interpretation of Accuracy is a bit over-simplified at this context.
The number of matches to show is a different thing and can be set by the 'Max. Matches to Show' (bellow) and you can set it to 1 if you wish to see only the top match.

The 'Matching Accuracy' factor is just an easy way to let the user control Accuracy vs Speed and yes it will finally deliver more accurate results (not less results but more accurate in general) because there will be more candidate fonts to examine in phase 2.
If you still feel that the term 'Accuracy' is counter-intuitive I'm open to suggestions but I don't thing 'inaccuracy' is a term that can be used.
Maybe we 'll just change the limit-names to "max speed" and "more matches" and that's enough...

In the next paragraph you lost me a bit... Did you finally get a result or not?
Because you say "it wasn't showing any results at any setting" and then you say "it shows accurate results at the default setting, and at any setting +20/-20 points" and this sounds like a contradiction to me.

I will be really surprised to find out that the application is not working with a single specific font, because we tested it with many hundreds of thousands fonts.
Can you attach a screen capture of the application screen to understand the font you are using and the selection you have made when you get no results?
If this is not possible due to image size, please send me a screen capture by e-mail.

Thank you again for your time
Fivos

Alaskan's picture

Yes, I got a result; AFTER it froze, crashed, then restarted the software manually. Sorry I wasn't too clear before.

In short: Using the file "NeutraTextBold.jpg" it wasn't showing any results at any setting. Then, it froze/crashed. After a manual restart, the same "NeutraTextBold.jpg" worked fine. So, something went wrong and the restart healed it?

This is the image:

fvilanakis's picture

I received your report and I will try to check the details - thank you!
It's both very strange & very interesting, because this is actually the first crash report ever received from either a customer or a beta tester.

No the restart can't change the matching ability, it just resets the state of the application.
More than this, I tested the image you provided above and in my machine Find my Font correctly identify the font at any setting (is always the top match out of 200.000 fonts) by selecting just 2 letters: 'Ne'

Could you please attach a screen-capture of the Application screen having no matches?
It's important to see how you selected the letters and how many letters you selected.

On the other hand, I don't know if all these details are so interesting to the other typophile users here, therefore you can send me the screenshot by e-mail and I could post here the final results of my investigation.

Thank you
Fivos

PS - A hint: You don't have to select more than 1-3 logo letters for an accurate match. Just try to select the most unique letters of the logo and put the rest letters only to 'Text To Display' to see how well the match went.

nina's picture

This is certainly an impressive application, and it's proven already that it's highly capable in performing the task it's developed to do. I'll bite and say what has made me a little queasy about this from the start: I wish this wasn't an installable app that uses local fonts. I would really like to see this, as some others have said, as an online service connected to databases of major vendors. That would be so much more helpful.

Using locally installed fonts, I have to admit that to me for instance this would be of very limited use since I only have a limited set of (licenced) fonts installed, and the ones I have I usually know what they look like (since I also paid for them, or selected them carefully from free stuff, or was given them by their designers, etc). So frankly for me the whole concept seems kind of besides the point, since the fonts I'd usually be looking for would be ones I don't have installed. Is it just me?

Alaskan's picture

I can't get it to repeat the behavior. I'm sorry, I thought I made that clear. After the freeze/crash and the restart, it's now working fine. If it happens again, I'll send a screen grab to you.

It crashes when I shut down, though; every single time, without fail. I've never once quit the application without getting this popup:

Bendy's picture

It's great to see an app that can solve so many font ID requests here in the forums, but if it's finding fonts locally on the system it's installed on, does that mean Fivos your machine has all these fonts? Or is there something I've missed?

As the others have said, it would be extremely useful to plug it into the databases of type distributors, as well as find local font files. I do see the second function as highly useful too as I don't always remember the fonts installed by default with the OS (Like Nina I tend to use only the ones I've licensed or been given), and I know publishers/design agencies that have thousands of font files scattered haphazardly around their networks. (Does it search networks too?)

One final question: how good is it at recognising photographs of text, which may have some perspective, slant, distortion or squooshing?

fvilanakis's picture

Alaskan,
ok if you ever be able to repeat the behavior, please sent me a screenshot.
About the crash when you shutdown, it must be something related to your system (You O/S, a strange combination with other Apps installed, etc).
If the report you already sent me, it's not from a shutdown crash, please send me also a shutdown crash report.
Thank you!

Nina
I fully understand your point, but -judging from your comments in the Id forum- you are a very experienced designer, able to recognize every single font you own. This is not always the case.

Consider for example the case of a not-so-experienced designer, or a designer working for a big company which has purchased -though the years- a huge collection of thousand of fonts. In such cases, there is no single person in the company able to recall all typefaces of the company's collection.
Actually the first versions of the Find my Font were designed as an internal tool for 2 companies having this specific need.

That said, I already mention that we understand the need to identify also fonts that you don't have, and we examine the best option of how to implement this functionality, while you will still be able to search your own fonts.

Thank you for your thoughts
Fivos

fvilanakis's picture

Hi Ben,

about the possibility of searching distributor databases in the future, see my answer to Nina above, and you can see also my answer in previous page about the ways this can be implemented (e.g. downloadable font libraries, having only the information needed for matching and not the actual fonts).

One final question: how good is it at recognising photographs of text, which may have some perspective, slant, distortion or squooshing?

The current version recognizes just italic & bold variations by creating an artificial Oblique or artificial Bold typeface based on your original font file.
You can also rotate the whole image, horizontalize the text baseline, or split connected script letters.

For the future we plan to add some new tools to recognize artificially expanded or condensed letters or letters slanted to the left (reverse italic?) but these are not yet included in the current distribution.

Fivos

PS: I missed one of your questions: Yes it can also search in any network location you have access from your computer. You can specify either a local directory or a network location as a new discreet 'FontSet' which you may also switch on/off in every match you perform.

nina's picture

> «or a designer working for a big company which has purchased -though the years- a huge collection of thousand of fonts»

Granted, that makes a lot of sense. I think what makes me unhappy is that outside of such a scenario, it seems to assume – or even gently encourage – a «collector» mentality (the more fonts you have, the more you can ID!) – which I'm not sure is a good thing, also ideologically if you will. But maybe it's just me, or I'm misunderstanding something, etc.

> «(e.g. downloadable font libraries, having only the information needed for matching and not the actual fonts)»

This sounds interesting. In case you can share, what sort of «information» would this need to be? Perhaps just outlines of a few key glyphs?

BTW, I really wouldn't call myself «very experienced» (thanks tho), I'm just a typenut.

bojev's picture

I do not have thousands of fonts installed on my computer - but with collections bundled with software over the years, freeware downloads and other sources I have a good collection. What "Find My Font" has been doing for me is getting me as close to a look as my collection has, suggesting fonts that have the same feel, gets me into the same aesthetic. And I do not care how well you know fonts you still can't remember all of them visually.

fvilanakis's picture

Nina I fully understand your concerns, but it's not the collector mentality that I personally fear the most.

If somebody has the moral strength and the maturity to respect the work of others, he will do it anyway, by checking every time if a font he/she downloaded from a (supposed) "free fonts" site is really free, or there is actually a commercial license to be acquired before using it in a project.

On the other side, I suppose that many people are searching for a font using e.g. the WhatTheFont service and then they download the matching font from other illegitimate sources and sites.
The later I'm sure they will do exactly the same, even if we provide them with downloadable Find my Font libraries.
They will also do the same with our software: Instead of buying Find my Font, they will try to find an illegitimate cracked version of it.

What I'm trying to say is that Find my Font is just another tool and every good or bad usage of a tool depends -finally- on the wisdom, maturity and ethics of each user.

This sounds interesting. In case you can share, what sort of «information» would this need to be? Perhaps just outlines of a few key glyphs?

I can't say much because I don't want to accidentally reveal any details about our matching algorithm but I can say this:
a) All glyphs must be present in the library because we don't know in advance which glyphs a user may select for matching or preview
b) The glyph outlines are not required; a low resolution bitmap image should be sufficient for a small-size preview. This way a font vendor can be sure that there is no way for anyone to acquire the original outline font data from our libraries.

At this point I need to repeat that, we haven't yet decided how we will implement the feature of non-local fonts matching (it can be downloadable libraries, but it can be as well a connection to a remote server) and we also cannot promise yet any release date for this feature.

Thank you for your thoughts

Bob,
you are so right! Even I, which I have zero background on font-design and a highly untrained eye, I have come to realize that there can be so many small variations based on each font designer decisions, that is almost impossible to visually remember all the details and differences between 2 similar fonts.

Bendy's picture

>They will also do the same with our software: Instead of buying Find my Font, they will try to find an illegitimate cracked version of it.

This makes me wonder if Find My Font could be offered as a web service rather than a downloadable app?

fvilanakis's picture

Hi Ben,

although at the last messages we all talk about Font-Libraries etc,
you should consider that the primary purpose of Find my Font,
is to match an image against local fonts on your computer.
This is not possible -or at least it would be much more difficult and very slow-
if the application is offered only as a web service.

More than this, I don't think anybody will be willing to pay for such a service when he can use instead e.g. WhatTheFont or your excellent ID forum here in Typophile.

An alternative is to offer both:
(a) Find my Font (for local fonts) + connection to a web-service (for vendor fonts)
(b) An independent payed iPhone application (vendor fonts only)

..but that's another story, and only the future can show us if there is a market big enough to support the developing of such applications.

Fivos

Bendy's picture

True, good to think about all the angles, competition and alternative possibilities. I'll be very interested to see how it all evolves. It's a very exciting time in the font industry. (Or maybe it's always an exciting time :)

riccard0's picture

At last I’m adding my two cents about the tool.
They’re pretty random observations and I’m sorry if they overlaps with the ones of others.
1. First thing, since it is aimed at professional users, which most probably use some font management software or another, Find My Font should, upon the first launch, ask the user where they keep their font files. And/or ask if they would like the app to scan their drives for font files.
2. I like the single window approach, I find the numbers between parentheses (used to order the steps) distracting. They should at least be replaced by more graphic elements or, better yet, with a different solution (maybe disabling input on the not ready yet steps and/or highlighting the current step).
3. Some kind of auto-discovering/guess of shapes would be welcome.
4. Some of the common behaviours I’m missing are:
- Click and drag to zoom a portion of the image (with the auto-guess thing it would be useful a click and drag selection too).
- Command-z to undo.
- In the Finder, the ability of right click on a image file and have Find My Font on the list of "Open with…" apps.
5. The tooltips on the icons show the Windows keyboard shortcuts even in the Mac version (and Command-s is always used for Save, so it’s a bit confusing having it for Screenshot).
6. Adjustable/moveable letter splitters would be a nice addition.

That’s the main of it :-)

fvilanakis's picture

Thank you Ricardo

3. Some kind of auto-discovering/guess of shapes would be welcome.

Do you mean e.g. to drag a rectangle and (if the image has a simple background) to automatically select the letters?
...or do you mean something different?

4. Some of the common behaviours I’m missing are:
- Click and drag to zoom a portion of the image

You can zoom in/out using the mouse wheel.
Did you miss this functionality or do you think a more precise rectangle-based zoom tool is required?

You have an eye for the detail for sure, and all of your observations are very valuable and welcome.

Thanks!
Fivos

riccard0's picture

About auto-discovering/guess of shapes: yes, exactly.

About zoom: yes, I think a rectangle based zoom would be useful (also note that Apple's mice don't have a scroll wheel).

Glad to have been of some service.

dezcom's picture

But the mice do have a "scroll gesture" by sliding the index finger up and down.

riccard0's picture

Yes, but since it doesn’t always work the same as a physical scroll-wheel for zooming (for example, in Flash), I’m used to think of this feature as a Windows thing ;-)
Also, rectangle selection to zoom is more precise.
That said, I’ve now tested the scroll gesture in Find My Font and indeed it works very well.

fvilanakis's picture

A new release Find my Font v2.3.01 is available.
You can read the details about minor improvements and the new feature "Browse Fonts by Visual Similarity" here:
http://typophile.com/node/88132

Thank you all for your valuable feedback! :)

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