Ralf Herrmann about switching to "Glyphs"

charles ellertson's picture

That’s why in apps like Photoshop and InDesign I am a master of smart objects, smart filters, objects styles, nested character styles and the like.

Humm. One of my grumbles about InDesign (aside from the horrendous number of bugs that never get fixed) is you can't nest character styles. How's he do that?

Theunis de Jong's picture

No doubt he's a master of your regular bog standard Nested Styles, but not so much of properly naming ID's features :)

The only way to get something nearing nested character styles is by using a Nested Style or a GREP Style to force a 'step 1' character style into place. You can apply any single character style to the same text and see them 'nesting'.

.00's picture

I have a copy of Glyphs and while I want to like it, the interface seems particularly weird to me. In order to kern two glyphs I have to put the cursor to the left of the first glyph in the pair. Wouldn't it make more sense to put the cursor between the two glyphs to be kerned?

blank's picture

Glyphs takes a while to get used to. The trick is just accepting the simplicity of it. Glyphs can seem really infuriating because Georg tries to keep most functions in one window as opposed to a collection of windows and palettes. So you have to force yourself to just work with the one window instead of jumping back and forth between the glyph window, the font window, the metrics window, and the preview window. I forced myself to use it full time for a week to wrap my head around it. Once you do get used to Glyphs the consolidated interface saves a lot of time. Especially once you realize that the Glyphs interface mostly obviates the need for Prepolator and makes multiple master development a breeze.

As for kerning, are you using an old version of Glyphs? I have the latest version and it works with either the cursor between the two glyphs or by selecting either glyph and entering numeric values into the kern value box.

William Berkson's picture

I'd like to see a comparison of Glyphs and Robofont, by someone who's used both.

.00's picture

I have the latest version of Glyphs bought two days ago. Unless the version being sold on the iTunes interface is an old one.

And kerning only works with the cursor to the left of the first glyph in the pair.

Personally I don't have the time to live with this thing for a week to figure it out.

Back to FontLab and making fonts for me.

Synthview's picture

Dear James,
Kerning with glyphs is really simple. Don’t cede to FL bad habits ;)
Please take a look of the image I’ve posted here.


Please take also in account you can forget the FL kerning-groups table. Just add your group name into the info box below your current glyph. You’ll see two “G:” labels, one for the left group, the other for the right one.

You may also change the values of several of them at once in the panel at the bottom left of the main font view.

schriftgestalt's picture

Hi James.
Considering you have typed VAY (as in the image above)
You can place the cursor between the V and the A. Then change the bottom left number in the info box. Or use the shortcut ctrl+opt+(shift)+left/right arrow keys. This is how I usually do it.
Additionally, without moving the cursor, you can adjust the kerning on the AY pair. By editing the value in the lower right corner of the info box. Or use the command cmd+opt+(shift)+left/right arrow keys.

The keyboard shortcuts for changing the metrics are quite similar, just without the option key.

From the three command keys next to the space, the left one (ctrl) modifies the left side of the selected letter and the right key (cmd) changes the right side of the letter.

The shortcuts are not very obvious at first, but you get used to it after a few minutes.

And it helps if you change the shortcut for Spotlight (e.g. to ctrl+space, this also helps in Adobe apps) and Spaces in the system preferences.

Synthview's picture

I didn't know these shortcuts.
Thanks Georg!

.00's picture

Don’t cede to FL bad habits ;)

I appreciate the advice and I will take a look at this in a deeper way. I understand your zeal, but I don't think anything I do to make fonts in FontLab are "Bad Habits".

Is there a Glyphs manual?

I remember when I first made the transition to FontLab all those years ago, I found reading the FL manual on the train from NY to Washington to be a very useful way to spend some time.

dezcom's picture

So far, the manual is a PDF file. Following the Glyphs Forum also really helps. I wish there were more to the manual but I guess his being a one-man-band makes it tough. He is very quick about fixes though. He fixed a bug in one day for us.

http://glyphsapp.com/forums/

Synthview's picture

James, bad habits is about FL user interface,in my opinion outdated and not ergonomic at all. Of course once you’ve got used to it, you find it normal.

.00's picture

I'm looking forward to seeing if Glyphs does it for me, but, the idea of a separate Font Window, Glyph Window and Metrics Window does not see that outdated of a concept nor ergonomically inferior to me.

dezcom's picture

I remember when I used to use FontStudio years ago. The interface was quite intuitive. I never felt like it was hard to figure how to do something. Years later, FontLab became almost the only show in town. I found it insane to get behind but eventually learned how to get by with it. I still remember FontStudio fondly, though. I also went into Quark Withdrawal for a few years after moving to InD.
I am not quite a convert to Glyphs but am giving it a go. I am a very old dog trying to learn new tricks :-)

schriftgestalt's picture

I added the Manual to the website at Resources > Tutorials

.00's picture

I was a big-time Letraset Font Studio user as well, but I think I found the move to FontLab less painful than you did Chris. The Metrics Window in the current FL owes an awful lot to that Letraset product.

dezcom's picture

James,
I have no problem with the FLS Metrics Window (except that tabbing through places a zero as a data point forever. If you delete it, it stays a zero. The problem I have with FontLab deals mostly with opportunities to do things that a computer does well are often missed. Error reporting is a guessing game. There should be an error message that tells you clearly what your error was and how to fix it. It should even open the screen or panel or whatever, to the location of where that particular error can be fixed. Also, errors should be prevented by having the software keep track of all data entries and prompting the proper solution. For example, if I attempt to place a glyph in 2 opposing kerning classes. There should be an audible beep and the error message "glyph yacute is already in a Left-side kerning group called "_y.L" Would you like to remove it from that Class? [at this point the class in question should pop up on the screen at the proper location.] I should not have to wait until I generate the font to get a cryptic error message which can only be understood by a computer programmer. When their is an error in coding features, we should get a prompt such as "Syntax error--semicolon required at line ending"

.00's picture

As they say on the "Wire" Chris, I feel you!

ralf h.'s picture

No doubt he's a master of your regular bog standard Nested Styles, but not so much of properly naming ID's features :)

I don’t understand what you are talking about. Of course as German I use a German version if InDesign and the features use menus have German names. So I don’t know if “nested character styles” is the usual term in English, but if I embed a series of character styles within a paragraph style, I would call that “nested character styles”. And it does’t seem that I am the only one who calls it this way: http://vimeo.com/9880383
If that’s not the proper way to name or understand it, just let me know.

Theunis de Jong's picture

Sorry Ralf, but your wording was understood by Charles to mean that character styles themself can be nested -- more than one style applied to the same text. Now that seems impossible in InDesign, as "Character Style" is a singleton text attribute, just like "font" (obviously you cannot assign two fonts at the same text), size, color, et cetera. (The very weird thing is that a GREP style suddenly can be applied on top of each other and on top of other char styles, so it's not an obvious problem for ID's internal structure.)

I would hesitate to call a series of char styles in a single paragraph "nested". I think I'd just say they are "applied" or "used", like you can use several fonts in a single paragraph. The notion of "nesting" implies "on top of each other"; at least, that is my view when I read this term.

ralf h.'s picture

Thanks! Seems I fell for a typical “false friend”. There is »to nest« in English and »nisten« in German – probably related, but as I understood now, used rather differently nowadays.

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