"Entry-Level" Webfonting

hrant's picture

For the client of the "con-script" font I'm making I need
to provide a webfont so he can avoid text-as-image or his
users needing to install the font. The results do not have
to reach any pinnacle of quality - I simply need to end up
with a decent rendering - some blurriness being OK.

I'm assuming there's a zero-cost way of doing this,
but I'm in the dark concerning "best practice".
Any pointers would be highly appreciated.

hhp

Richard Fink's picture

@hrant

If the Fontsquirrel generator doesn't give you something you consider acceptable, drop me a line. I'll be glad to help.

Rich

hrant's picture

So Font Squirrel is the only game in town?
OK, I'll give it a shot, fingers crossed.
But you might indeed be hearing from me Richard! Thanks.

hhp

Richard Fink's picture

@hrant

All depends on the nature of the font you're starting with. OT rasterizers are generally more forgiving than TT rasterizers so sometimes there's no avoiding having to tweak the outlines to make them more TT autohint-friendly.

Another option is ttfautohint. (There's Windows and 'Nix executables available but I'm not sure about Mac.) Does pretty well with bold outlines, especially those with a lot of straight lines. A work in progress.

PabloImpallari's picture

I used to use the Fontsquirell generator, but it strip out most of the font metadata, so you may need to reopen the font and putt all the info back in, and regenerate the font (keeping the hints table).

Now I'm using TTF Autohint v0.5 and I'm very happy so far.
If you want, I can give it a run on your font for you.

Ramiro Espinoza's picture

From my tests, the best results in autohinting are achieved by:

1- Generate a proper TTF font with well made blue zones in place.
2- Autohint with TTFAutohint
3- Use Fontsquirrel generator **in expert mode**, set to not autohint.

hrant's picture

Pablo, thank you!

Ramiro, do the outlines have to be designed
as TT cubic beziers, or is conversion OK?

hhp

Ramiro Espinoza's picture

@Hrant: Well, conversion is OK if you compare and check against the original PS contours. First, I erase the mask layer and copy all the glyphs to mask layer. Only then I convert the foreground to TTF outlines and I go glyph by glyph checking is everything is fine and eventually tweaking some details in TTF outlines.
Avoid "in poitn BCPs" (BCPs with zero value). They distort the contour when the line is converted to TTF.

hrant's picture

What I meant was, is the hinting ported over in a way that works onscreen?

> Avoid "in point BCPs"

Which I hate doing, but had to for Vem (Ernestine's Armenian).
And make inflections explicit, and avoid crossing projections
of BCPs, and.... :-/

hhp

Té Rowan's picture

@Fink – IIRC, OS-X has a BSD foundation, so using ttfautohint there in a shell should be possible.

@Pablo – I suspect that Fontsquirrelmort’s hinter is FontForge which, as I have seen, throws away any and every table it doesn’t understand, most likely because it won’t know if, when and how to rebuild them. One could probably work around that with ttx and a bit more scripting, though.

Richard Fink's picture

@Té

I don't have time to check, but I seem to remember that Karsten Luecke did some work porting ttfautohint to Mac. It's on the ttfautohint repository. Github, or wherever. (I know he contributed something, I think that is what it is.)

@all
If you need to run the Windows ttfautohint executable repeatedly, I have instructions to do so, setting it up as a "SendTo" Menu shortcut posted on the Google Web Fonts blog.

But a warning: The performance of ttfautohint ver .5 is very, very spotty. Both literally and figuratively. But I applaud the continuing effort, though.

hrant's picture

Hoping not to curtail this fruitful exposé, an update:
With help from a Nordic friend, I've seen Font Squirrel
produce quite acceptable results (surely thanks in part
to this invented script being quite geometric).

hhp

Richard Fink's picture

@hrant

Glad it worked out. The Generator is a terrific tool, absolutely.

Rich

abattis's picture

Most of the Google Web Fonts are 'magic' hinted using http://code.google.com/p/googlefontdirectory/source/browse/tools/nonhint... as TTFAutohint bloats the filesize too much at the moment. Donate to the project to help the programmer optimize it for the web! :)

Jens Kutilek's picture

Most of the Google Web Fonts are 'magic' hinted using setnonhinting-fonttools.py

The standards of what kind of font treatment may be called »hinting« have surely gone down since the good ol' days ;)

hrant's picture

Yup. Probably because quantity and quality don't mix.

hhp

abattis's picture

Interesting discussion with Dan R on twitter about this just now; I suppose 'non hinting' is a better description than 'magic hinting' - setting the PREP and GASP tables with 'magic numbers' improves rendering over no hinting tables at all, and while it is no substitute for top quality hand hinting, it doesn't effect the filesize at all :)

Jens Kutilek's picture

MIght as well call it »religious hinting« instead of »magic hinting« ;)

Si_Daniels's picture

>MIght as well call it »religious hinting« instead of »magic hinting« ;)

Not sure that would work, after all these magic/religious hints are stripped out of the fonts when served to Mac based browsers to reduce file sizes, and you simply can't remove religion (or magic) from any Mac/Windows debate.

So maybe "mythic hints" or maybe "social hints" might be better. :-)

Si

dezcom's picture

How about "Tree falls in the Woods" hints? or "The Emperors New Hints"?

Té Rowan's picture

I nominate "thong hints". A thong, btw, is a small triangle of nothing tied up with some string to resemble knickers.

abattis's picture

lol Té :)

k.l.'s picture

did some work porting ttfautohint to Mac

(Merely compiled a Mac binary of an earlier version.)

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