Is import of vector formats implemented?

Discuss FontCreator here, please do not post support requests, feature requests, or bug reports!
Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 6810
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Dec 11, 2016 5:08 pm

I have only the ancient CorelDraw 9.0 Essentials, which can copy/paste WMF. The results are not worth having.

See the reply by Mike W in this earlier thread.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC11.0 Pro + MT7.0 @ Win10 1703

MikeW
Posts: 377
Joined: Mon May 20, 2013 2:51 pm

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby MikeW » Sun Dec 11, 2016 6:15 pm

I haven't tried the pasting thing in a while. As Erwin mentioned it could be improved and maybe it has as I haven't done so but will later.

The default AI installation place PDF onto the clipboard (among other formats). FL retrieves the PDF content and so it is a pretty good method with it. An AI template is also generally set up for the baseline and LSB, x-height and cap height. And the glyphs are positioned prior to the copy and FL respects that placement and sizing (assuming it is set up with compatible f units).

The above would be welcomed by me in FC.

Erwin Denissen
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6567
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2002 12:41 am
Location: De Bilt, The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby Erwin Denissen » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:50 am

FontCreator has specific vector based import options:
vectorimportoptions.png
vectorimportoptions.png (6.26 KiB) Viewed 413 times
Erwin Denissen
High-Logic
Proven Font Technology

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 6810
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:08 pm

Surely the way forward is to spend time improving the drawing tools in FontCreator so that one does not need to use an external drawing application? The ability to drag a curve directly is already a significant improvement.

Why do font designers need to use Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw to design fonts?

What extra tools are required to make the curves needed for font design?
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC11.0 Pro + MT7.0 @ Win10 1703

MikeW
Posts: 377
Joined: Mon May 20, 2013 2:51 pm

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby MikeW » Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:22 pm

I wouldn't agree that too much time should be spent on the drawing tools in FC. For what they are designed to do, they work well.

Thing is, a vector drawing application will always be a more efficient means of actually drawing than any font editor. I can make a font using CorelDraw but it isn't efficient to do so and should still be corrected in a font application.

A for instance. In FC I can use the Bold transform. And it often creates as much work as it tries to save. But in XDP, AI or CD, I can properly increase the character shape by one of a couple means, like offset path in AI, or using the contour process in XDP. Bust that apart and recombine them in seconds and it does not increase the number of nodes, there are no weird overlapping of the paths, etc.

So if there was anything to aid the development of a font in FC, I would say doing the above without the dross would be time better spent than fleshing out its drawing capabilities.

Mike

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 6810
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:38 pm

MikeW wrote:Thing is, a vector drawing application will always be a more efficient means of actually drawing than any font editor.

I don't think there's anything efficient about drawing in one application and exporting or copy/paste to another. Nodes and curves are liable to change in subtle ways that one might fail to even notice.

Drawing apps may have pressure sensitive tablet support, calligraphic lines, etc., but who says that that cannot be done in FontCreator? I am sure it's not all easy to do, but some may not be hard, and it seems a better use of time than supporting more vector import formats.

If CorelDraw is not able to export EPS or SVG properly, surely the Corel team should be fixing that, rather than a single FontCreator devleoper reverse engineering the CorelDraw propriatory format?

If you embolden a serifed outline or a high contrast script in AI or CorelDraw do the thin strokes become too heavy just like they do when using the Transform scripts?

Why not fix the bold and thin transformations to use proportional enlargement/reduction, then the intersecting co-ordinates would become less of an issue.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC11.0 Pro + MT7.0 @ Win10 1703

MikeW
Posts: 377
Joined: Mon May 20, 2013 2:51 pm

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby MikeW » Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:35 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I don't think there's anything efficient about drawing in one application and exporting or copy/paste to another. Nodes and curves are liable to change in subtle ways that one might fail to even notice.

Drawing apps may have pressure sensitive tablet support, calligraphic lines, etc., but who says that that cannot be done in FontCreator? I am sure it's not all easy to do, but some may not be hard, and it seems a better use of time than supporting more vector import formats.

If CorelDraw is not able to export EPS or SVG properly, surely the Corel team should be fixing that, rather than a single FontCreator devleoper reverse engineering the CorelDraw propriatory format?

If you embolden a serifed outline or a high contrast script in AI or CorelDraw do the thin strokes become too heavy just like they do when using the Transform scripts?

Why not fix the bold and thin transformations to use proportional enlargement/reduction, then the intersecting co-ordinates would become less of an issue.

I didn't think I asked for wider vector import support. CD, AI et al export AI, PDF and SVG just fine. When imported into FC, the number of nodes increases beyond reason, though. For instance, a cap letter G in a drawing application that has 26 nodes when imported into FC has 81 nodes. Now, using the new Optimize feature brings that down to 60 which to correlate to the drawing application is really only 30 (because of handles versus off-curve nodes in FC). This is acceptable. But why cannot FC just do that upon import?

Yes, a contour adds an even amount. So either work has to be done in the drawing application to thin down serifs a percentage (only a percentage because one shouldn't fully match the lighter weights). But there are also scripts that automate this and can act upon selected nodes. It takes a couple seconds. This is something that I doubt can make it into FC.

But what doesn't happen is crossed knots, paths that horribly run into where they shouldn't be, etc. Trust me, there is less work to deal with the contour than going glyph by glyph and dealing with the dross a transform script does.

You can believe Erwin should make better drawing tools all ya want. That I don't agree is my opinion.

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 6810
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:10 pm

MikeW wrote:I didn't think I asked for wider vector import support.

No, but that's the topic of the discussion started by Branais.
MikeW wrote:Why cannot FC just do that upon import?

Exporting from one program and importing to another is apparently not as easy as one might imagine. That's why I think it is best avoided. If you're exporting to Truetype outlines it would be best to draw with Truetype curves, and with Postscript curves if exporting to CFF postscript outlines.
MikeW wrote:There are also scripts that automate this and can act upon selected nodes. It takes a couple seconds. This is something that I doubt can make it into FC.

Scripting might be hard to implement, but Erwin has said that it should not be difficult to make transformations proportional. Scripting may be fast, once you have taken a few hours to write the script. Take a look at CompositeData.xml. That saves a lot of work, but it took a lot of writing and testing. It's still far from perfect.
MikeW wrote:Trust me, there is less work to deal with the contour than going glyph by glyph and dealing with the dross a transform script does.

You don't have to look far to see that I am well aware of the work caused by Transform scripts being limited to absolute transformations. I think that scaling transformations proportionally to the stroke weight will remove most, if not all, of those crossed knots resulting in much less work fixing errors.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC11.0 Pro + MT7.0 @ Win10 1703

MikeW
Posts: 377
Joined: Mon May 20, 2013 2:51 pm

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby MikeW » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:26 pm

Better handling of imported graphics, better handling of pasted content and better transforms would all be welcome.

I can draw so much quicker in a vector drawing application. They have evolved to be more efficient at drawing since the 1980s. While one may be able to take advantage of those advancements in FC, it is a lot of work. Time that could be better spent to improve the aforementioned things.

Mike

Branais
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:48 pm

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby Branais » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:45 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
MikeW wrote:I didn't think I asked for wider vector import support.

No, but that's the topic of the discussion started by Branais.

I raised the suggestion of wider import support for a couple of concrete reasons, but the endpoint is making the act of moving one's work into FC less laborious and potentially fault-prone.

I don't think FC spending development cycles on duplicating drawing tools is a useful approach. I'm not a fan of any applications trying to be the be-all in any field -- I think import/export interoperability is a much better approach -- and not least because it would mean every user would have to acquire a new but duplicate skillset, which seems a waste of wheel-spinning. If people already have skills with vector objects -- whether it's in Adobe or Corel or something else -- then it seems to me to make best sense to let them use those skills when working with fonts, rather than having to learn additional new ones for that purpose only.

I never suggested Corel can't export EPS or SVG successfully, only that it would be helpful not to have to. It's not an unreasonable feature request. In the meantime, CD does have the ability to save vector images to a genuine Truetype font -- although it's no longer a promoted feature, with the availability of dedicated tools like FL, and the resultant ttf is unsophisticated, in the sense that there's no way to add hinting or kerning -- but it can then be opened in FL, repaired or modified and more advanced features added. It's a solution for now, but there's no guarantee it will stay possible in future versions.

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 6810
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:12 pm

Branais wrote:I never suggested Corel can't export EPS or SVG successfully, only that it would be helpful not to have to.

When you said:
Branais wrote:At the moment, CDR files have to be saved as SVG or AI, but like any conversion that can lead to loss of information.

I assumed that the export/import process was not fully successful, and I think that's because they use different types of curves — i.e. cubic curves instead of bezier curves as explained by Chris Eilers who did a thorough investigation. I don't see how importing CDR format is going to solve that fundamental problem.

What information is currently being lost when you export to AI or SVG, then import those vectors into FontCreator?
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC11.0 Pro + MT7.0 @ Win10 1703

PJMiller
Posts: 471
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:12 pm
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Contact:

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby PJMiller » Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:54 pm

MikeW wrote:I wouldn't agree that too much time should be spent on the drawing tools in FC. For what they are designed to do, they work well.

Thing is, a vector drawing application will always be a more efficient means of actually drawing than any font editor. I can make a font using CorelDraw but it isn't efficient to do so and should still be corrected in a font application.

A for instance. In FC I can use the Bold transform. And it often creates as much work as it tries to save. But in XDP, AI or CD, I can properly increase the character shape by one of a couple means, like offset path in AI, or using the contour process in XDP. Bust that apart and recombine them in seconds and it does not increase the number of nodes, there are no weird overlapping of the paths, etc.

So if there was anything to aid the development of a font in FC, I would say doing the above without the dross would be time better spent than fleshing out its drawing capabilities.

Mike


I would agree that the drawing tools in Font Creator are good enough as they are but what could be improved is the Bold transformation which sometimes ties the contour in knots where it goes into a concave curve/corner.

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 6810
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: Is import of vector formats implemented?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:34 pm

I think the drawing tools could be improved significantly without a whole bunch of sophistication.

  1. The free draw tool currently works like a fixed width paint brush. It could have a calligraphic angle and elliptical or rectangular brushes.
  2. A pen tool with calligraphic or fixed width strokes, double-lines, etc., that works like the Free Draw Tool, and converts vector lines to contours after drawing is finished.
  3. Controls to make the lines drawn with either bitmap or vector Free Draw tools smoother.
  4. A smoothing command that can be applied to existing curves. Optimize already does this, but it could be improved.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC11.0 Pro + MT7.0 @ Win10 1703


Return to “FontCreator - Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests