TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

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bflmpsvz
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TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby bflmpsvz » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:10 pm

Hi,
I would like to know, why Roboto font looks ugly in Windows, while Arial looks good (speaking about black&white version, aliased).

Roboto_vs_Arial.png
Roboto_vs_Arial.png (14.86 KiB) Viewed 3737 times

http://forum.zive.cz/download/file.php?style=5&id=45017&mode=view

I have read about "hinting" , instructions embedded in a font on how to modify a glyph to look better on low-resolution displays.
I downloaded the Roboto font which should be hinted:
https://github.com/google/roboto/tree/master/hinted
But as you can see, especially size 12 looks ugly compared to Arial.
What's wrong?
Last edited by bflmpsvz on Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby Erwin Denissen » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:38 pm

I don't see the image. Can you please try to attach it again?
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Re: TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:56 pm

A likely cause is that the font has no hinting.

Open a glyph in the glyph edit window and look at the top left intersection of the rulers. If there is a capital H there, the glyph is hinted. If Robert lacks hinting, the H will not be there.

Hinting.png
Hinting.png (991 Bytes) Viewed 3737 times
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Re: TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:25 pm

Hint: If you reply to the thread, rather than editing your first post, you will soon have enough posts so that your posts no longer require approval.
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Re: TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:29 pm

I found this note at the bottom of the download page:

This directory contains hinted TrueType outlines based on specific and sometimes older versions of the fonts. The hints are not generated from the sources.

That might explain why the hinting is not very good.
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Re: TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby bflmpsvz » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:16 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Hint: If you reply to the thread, rather than editing your first post, you will soon have enough posts so that your posts no longer require approval.

Well, I was confused a little bit. No other forum based on phpBB makes such problems to my browsers (I can't add attachment in Firefox), also images are resized in any case... And approval of post also surprised me. I supposed that something failed :)

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Re: TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:04 pm

bflmpsvz wrote:No other forum based on phpBB makes such problems to my browsers (I can't add attachment in Firefox), also images are resized in any case... And approval of post also surprised me. I supposed that something failed :)

We get very few spammers here because they cannot easily get past moderator approval. I suspect that the inability to add attachments is also related to the fact that you have only 1 or 2 posts to your name.
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Re: TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby Dick Pape » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:39 pm

There are two variations of Roboto I have seen. One as you have shown as Version 2.00+ doesn't have kerning. Another (available on Dafont - http://www.dafont.com/roboto.font version 1.0 ) has kerning.

I'm not certain, but the Version 2 could be a web font wherein kerning has been removed. However, your file size (506kb) is 3 times larger than the version 1.0. Something else may be going on.

You might get a new copy of the font and see.

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Re: TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby bflmpsvz » Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:45 pm

Dick Pape wrote:You might get a new copy of the font and see.

Well, Roboto version 1.0 looks little bit different, but still very ugly :(
See the size 12 (resized 4x) of both versions compared to Arial:

Roboto_vs_Arial_12.gif
Roboto_vs_Arial_12.gif (5.87 KiB) Viewed 3700 times

But I am not sure if kerning is what has influence to the bad look..

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Re: TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby Dick Pape » Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:16 am

Here's some better samples:

Roboto Lt:
robo.jpg
robo.jpg (77.61 KiB) Viewed 3695 times

ArialBd:
arialbd.jpg
arialbd.jpg (76.14 KiB) Viewed 3695 times


Two other considerations closer in weight can be:

Helvetica 65 Medium:
helvm65.jpg
helvm65.jpg (73.44 KiB) Viewed 3695 times

Arial Medium:
arialmed.jpg
arialmed.jpg (75.42 KiB) Viewed 3695 times

There are a lot of similarities but significant differences, with weight and letter width being obvious. Surprised Google would do an Arial/Helvetica-like design.

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Re: TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby bflmpsvz » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:58 am

Dick Pape wrote:Here's some better samples:


What is better on these samples?
Aparently, you don't understand what I am talking about.

At first, I am talking about small sizes - namely 12 here. You have used something much bigger.
At second, I am talking about aliased version, black and white fonts.
Your samples use ClearType antialiasing, or another subpixel antialiasing, because blue and red strips are visible around letters.

So your samples are completely out of topic.

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Re: TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby Dick Pape » Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:35 pm

Designing fonts for use at small sizes is a specialized process. Here is extract from http://www.fontbureau.com/ReadingEdge/ (My highlight).

"The limitations of today’s screen-based media impose many restrictions on web typography. Even if a designer understands these limitations, the large majority of typefaces available for web use were not designed for that purpose. Crafted with the same level of care as the rest of Font Bureau’s library, the Reading Edge™ (RE) series is a collection of web fonts that helps alleviate this tension between refined typography and the screen.
Every pixel counts.

The Reading Edge typefaces were designed from scratch specifically for small sizes on screen. Small type on the web faces problems that hinder onscreen read­abil­i­ty. Details that are critical for legibility can be easily lost when reduced to sub-pixel sizes. Clarity is also sacrificed with low resolutions. Additional “hinting” data can be embedded in fonts, instructing how to bend each glyph to fit the pixel grid at different sizes, but hinting alone can’t guarantee legibility. The underlying design of each letterform is essential, especially in rendering environments like Mac OS X that ignore hinting data. Font Bureau’s RE typefaces do more than take these limitations into account. The RE fonts are carefully produced with the restrictions of web typography guiding each step of the process."

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Re: TrueType/OpenType fonts, why looks like they looks.

Postby bflmpsvz » Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:11 pm

Dick Pape wrote:the Reading Edge™ (RE) series is a collection of web fonts that ...

RE series fonts suffer the same problem as Roboto font:

Scout_RE.png
Scout_RE.png (1001 Bytes) Viewed 3673 times


I suppose their "hinting" does not care about the situaton, when anti-aliasing, greyscale or subpixel, are switched off.

So again, my original question was why Arial looks good in this situation, while Roboto or many other like Font Bureau Reading Edge fonts look ugly.


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