Really long list of different requests... =)

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Gunny
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Really long list of different requests... =)

Post by Gunny »

I don't visit this forum very often but I've been using FontCreator for a long time and I have gathered also a long list of missing features over the years.

FontCreator basically does what it should but I miss many shortcuts that would speed up my work. I should probably also mention that I am still using version 9.1 but I have tested several newer versions too and these features seems to be still missing (or I just have not noticed them yet).

I don't really expect all these things to be included but it would be nice to get made at least some of them.

Here's the list:

1. Hotkeys!

That's the most painful item on my list.

The first detail si that functions from toolbars does not display their keyboard shortcut and I think they definitely should.
(K - Knife, M - Measure) Why is it burried only in Help?

Some other don't have hot keys at all (Selection, Lasso) and I have no idea why.

I would like to have shortcuts for many items in menu too:

- Make simple
- Optimize Contours
- Align left / right / top / bottom (CTRL+ALT+Shift + Left / Right / Up / Down) - I use this all the time.

- new function Apply last settings of Glyph Transformer on current glyph

Of course, the best solution would be the option to set my own hotkeys for each existing function in FC.


2. Custom settings

I would really like ho have the possibility to change the colour and size of point handles because I don't like their current look.


3. Mass transformation of selected points

FC can transform the whole curve so I think it should be able to transform a set of selected points too. It could be enabled e.g. by holding Alt while in point mode and the rectangle handle could appear.


4. Customizable reduction of number of points

I noticed that the latest versions include some functions for simplification (Simplify and Compress, I think) but they both seems to me "too nice". I often edit weird fonts with hundreds points per glyph and I would like to reduce the number more drastically.
It would be really nice to have an option in Glyph Transformer how many points should disappear - or many points it should keep.

Even better would be a live version of it (Illustrator way) and the best version should work even on a selection of points.


5. Free / perspective transform

That's an old Photoshop function. Pressing Alt enables you to drag corner point of selection handle and perspectively stretch the selection.
This should work in Glyph Transformer too.


6. Math transformation

Useful and more versatile addition for Glyph Transformer would be Math transformation where we could simply type two function that would move all points to their new positions.
Something like this:

New X: "x + y/2 * sin(x)"
New Y: "y - x/2"


7. Batch import

It is very annoying to import a long set of glyphs one by one so it would be nice to a function ar wizard for that.
You could choose source folder, format of input files and the right filename-to-glyph mappings (e.g. filename == glyphname, filename == ASCII code, etc.) and FC should handle the rest.

8. Font Validation Wizard rework

FVW is my long term enemy. It's nice to get a list of possible errors but there is not easy way how to get to the point.
It should basically look like the list of compiler errors in Visual Studio - i.e. it should be an optional panel that could stay open all the time (!) and clicking on each error item should open the glyph and set the cursor on the problematic location.

I also think that all functions does not follow the setting of validation in Options (definitely in version 9.1). I set "off-curve extremes" to "global detection" but FC still adds points that are unnecessary with this setting.

9. Left panel

I really like the left panel and I use mostly Tags and Find in it but I feel it misses some features.

- The section with tags should definitely include folder called "Untagged" too because that's the default status of all glyphs.
- It seems that latest version removed the option with "Find to left panel". I quite liked it and I even often wanted to save it somehow (i.e. created a new category or tag) for future use.
For example I would like to have a category for all glyphs derived from A (A, Aacute, Agrave, ...). I often create such classes in OpenType Designer so it could be interconnected too (i.e. one section of left panel should be "OpenType classes).
- Of course, all custom tags or groups (OpenType classes?) does not have to work exclusively. (Let's say I've got "d" which is "tall lowercase" that "needs review" at the same time.)

10. New PANOSE Wizard

Every time I try to fill the exact PANOSE parameters I am angry how long it does take to measure glyphs and I think it could be made much more convenient and faster using a Wizard.
The basics should be set manually by letting the user choose from some sample pictures (Family, Tool) but I think TC should be able to count parameters for Weight, Aspect Ratio, Contrast and so on all by itself.

Thank you for your attention - especially if you have managed to read the whole text. =)
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Re: Really long list of different requests... =)

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

Yes, that is a long list. FontCreator 9.1 is old now, it would be worth upgrading to version 13.0, so much has changed, though not a lot regarding shortcuts. Customising shortcuts has often been requested, but I think it is hard to do. There are not too many free shortcuts left to assign, and if users cannot change them, they probably cannot remember them either.
  1. It should be easy to add the shortcuts to the toolbar tooltips e.g. "Cut Contours (k)". The selection tool is automatically selected by pressing escape when another tool is active. The align functions can be accessed entirely using the keyboard and access keys: Shift+F10 (or menu key), then "b", followed by L,C,R (Left, Centre, Right) or T,M,B (Top, Middle, Bottom), or H,V (distribute Horizontally, Vertically).
  2. A dialog to select point options: size and colour, like guideline options would be helpful.
  3. Movement of selected points can be done with the move tab of the Transform toolbar. Keyboard shortcuts Up/Down/Left/Right with Ctrl or Shift can move by 1 or 100 font units instead of 10.
  4. Optimise can be applied multiple times. It can change the shape of contours, so it is wise to set the background image from the current glyph before using it.
  5. Transform of selected contours can be done by clicking a selected contour or selected group of contours again. This gives you skew and rotate handles on the selection.
  6. Math transformation is a bit over the top IMO.
  7. Batch import is available by drag and drop of multiple images from Windows Explorer. PDF or AI images import much faster as no tracing is needed.
  8. The Font Validation Wizard now creates a new category in the Overview side panel, so you can go through the glyphs with errors one by one. The Validation Toolbar (F7) lets you locate errors in a glyph by double-clicking on the error to centre its co-ordinates in the window. Zoom in further if it is hard to spot. Changing node colours might help, or reduce the shade of the contour fill to 5 or 10%.
  9. Invert selection will find all glyphs not tagged with a particular tag. Only one tag (or none) can be applied to any glyph. Find and list in search category works well, but it is temporary.
  10. A PANOSE Wizard has been requested before. I see a huge amount of work needed to implement this, but limited need for it. I just copy and paste a PANOSE number from a similar font that does include the information and leave it at that. Which programs make use of this data?
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Gunny
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Re: Really long list of different requests... =)

Post by Gunny »

Thank you for your reply. It seems you are often trying to show me an alternative path but for the most part I already know it. =}
FontCreator 9.1 is old now, it would be worth upgrading to version 13.0
Yes, but it seems to me that the new features are mostly related to colours and similar stuff that I don't really need for monochrome fonts.
1. There are not too many free shortcuts left to assign
Sorry, that sounds like a joke. =] There are about 40 existing shortcuts in FC in total. With combinations of Ctrl / Alt / Shift you can get around 800 different shortcuts (around 50 basic keys and 16 modification combinations).

I know apps where I spend a lot of time finding an unused shortcut combination (https://reaperaccessibility.com/index.p ... y_headings) but FC is not one of them.

Affinity Photo options:
hotkeys_tn.png
hotkeys_tn.png (12.07 KiB) Viewed 1995 times
Shift+F10 (or menu key), then "b", followed by L,C,R (Left, Centre, Right) or T,M,B (Top, Middle, Bottom), or H,V (distribute Horizontally, Vertically)
Unfortunately that's not really fast. =(
2. A dialog to select point options: size and colour, like guideline options would be helpful.
I'm glad we both agree on that. =)
3. Movement of selected points can be done
Of course, but that's really very basic functionality. What about stretch, skew, rotate, ...? If I want to do it now I have to split the contour to several pieces, modify them and then merge them together again.
4. Optimise can be applied multiple times.
As far as I remember the second application usually did not change anything. I guess I have to check that again in the latest version. Anyway, it's not really interactive. I would really like to have a "live" version where I could move the slider and see the points disappear or appear again.
5. Transform of selected contours
I am talking about perspective transformation - see the image.

Free transform
perspective_tn.png
perspective_tn.png (3.24 KiB) Viewed 1995 times
6. Math transformation is a bit over the top IMO.
It may sound like a very complicated function but it's really not that hard. If you limit the number of operations to + - * / and braces () you just have to break the input into a binary tree and evalute it.
I know similar feature from a sound editor called Goldwave and it's more than 20 years old.

GoldWave (year 2000!):
function_tn.png
function_tn.png (12.02 KiB) Viewed 1995 times
7. Batch import is available by drag and drop of multiple images from Windows Explorer.
Ok, I'll have to try that with version 13 too. I wonder how it handles the mapping.
8. The Font Validation Wizard now creates a new category in the Overview side panel
I have not noticed that yet but it sounds quite promising. =)

9. Invert selection will find all glyphs not tagged with a particular tag.
That's fine but I don't want to select them - I want to filter the glyphs that I have not tagged (i.e. revised) yet and adding one more tag category (no tag) should not be that complicated.
Only one tag (or none) can be applied to any glyph. Find and list in search category works well, but it is temporary.
I know - it's a suggestion. ;)

I would really like to repeat this: one section of left panel should be "OpenType classes". It would help me both filter the glyphs I need at the moment and modify the classes from the main windows.
10. A PANOSE Wizard has been requested before. I see a huge amount of work needed to implement this, but limited need for it. I just copy and past a PANOSE number from a similar font that does include the information and leave it at that. Which programs make use of this data?
That's quite good question - and I don't know the answer. But I think one of the reasons why PANOSE is not being used is the big number of fonts that include only useless default information.
The more fonts will have valid PANOSE parameters the more it will be used.

You are right that some of the parameters could be tricky to calculate automatically (e.g. contrast) but many others could be calculated rather easily (things based on total width, total height, etc.).
The rest is stuff that should be chosen by the user but many users don't really understand what the text descriptions mean so it would help presenting several small pictures to choose from.
That would be basically the same images that can be found on https://monotype.github.io/panose/pan3.htm but the Wizard would display only those that apply to the current font category.
(There are four basic "paths" in PANOSE: 2-Latin Text, 3-Latin Hand Written, 4-Latin Decorative and 5-Latin Symbol)
The first iteration of the Wizard does not have to be perfect and solve all existing problems at once. Any Wizard would be welcome - at least it would define space for future improvements in this field.

Now I remember I forgot to include one more item:

11. Snapping

Very nice addition would be optional snapping of point to the X and Y axes of two neighbouring (or even all existing) points.
That's exactly the kind of detail I would like to see more often. (Similar feature can be seen e.g. in Affinity Designer while moving shapes.)
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sat Jun 13, 2020 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed Typo
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Re: Really long list of different requests... =)

Post by Erwin Denissen »

We will add the feature requests to our to-do list. It would be great if more people comment here, so we know what requests are most important.

2. Do send us some samples, and maybe we will include them in a future release!

For us 3. 4. and 9. are most promising.
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Re: Really long list of different requests... =)

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

Gunny wrote: Sat Jun 13, 2020 1:26 pmSorry, that sounds like a joke. =] There are about 40 existing shortcuts in FC in total. With combinations of Ctrl / Alt / Shift you can get around 800 different shortcuts (around 50 basic keys and 16 modification combinations).
No, it was not a joke. You were asking about shortcuts for the Tools, which are all single-key shortcuts. That is why I say that the number of shortcuts left to assign is limited. (/ A B C E F G H K M P Q W are already used). L for lasso and S for select do seem to be available). Making the shortcuts customisable is not a trivial task.
Gunny wrote: Sat Jun 13, 2020 1:26 pmUnfortunately that's not really fast. =(
Nor is remembering six different key combinations. If you use the access keys regularly it soon become faster, and the visual reminder is always there if you forget. I don't know about you, but I will use FontCreator intensively for a few weeks or months, then not pick it up again for six months.
9. Invert selection will find all glyphs not tagged with a particular tag.
I think you misunderstood the problem. Only one tag can be applied to any glyph. However, if you rename one free category to "Untagged" you can tag the untagged glyphs with that tag.
Untagged.png
Untagged.png (33.44 KiB) Viewed 1978 times
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Re: Really long list of different requests... =)

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

Here, you can find an Autohotkey Script to add shortcuts to FontCreator.

It is an old thread, so the script probably needs updating for recent versions.
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Re: Really long list of different requests... =)

Post by PJMiller »

The perspective transform is cool but I doubt it would get used very often. In a regular drawing program like Inkscape yes it would be useful but in designing fonts I doubt it will get used more than the occasional person testing it out to see what it does.

It would be adding features just for the sake of adding features.
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Re: Really long list of different requests... =)

Post by Erwin Denissen »

Here is an update which contains scaling of selected points. We might need to think about a more convenient way to trigger it, but for now select a bunch of points, and then press key T.
scaleselectedpoints.png
scaleselectedpoints.png (42.83 KiB) Viewed 1915 times
(more recent update below in another post)

Please test all these, as a lot of code has been refactored to make this work:
- Transform selected contours
- Rotate selected contours
- Transform selected points
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Re: Really long list of different requests... =)

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

Scale selected contour using the Transform toolbar does not fully obey the 9 points.

Bottom Left scales about the centre.
Bottom Centre scales about the top centre.
Bottom Right scales about the top right.
Top Left scales about the Bottom Left.
Top Centre scales about the Bottom centre.
Top Right scales about the Bottom right.
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Re: Really long list of different requests... =)

Post by Erwin Denissen »

Good catch. I have also fixed a severe bug in the matching undo-redo and repeat actions.
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Re: Really long list of different requests... =)

Post by Erwin Denissen »

Here is one more update. We will officially release it, if this one proves to work.

FontCreator 13.0.0.2660 (64-bit)
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Re: Really long list of different requests... =)

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

All seems to be working well.

Is it feasible to click on any selected point to enable the scaling selected points mode? Currently, clicking on a selected point does nothing.

Clicking again on a contour does that, while click and drag move it and ctrl+drag copies it.

The "t" shortcut works for me, but mouse users prefer a mouse only route if possible.
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