Interface and shortcuts

Got a request? Post it here. Please do not post bug reports here.
Post Reply
stormag
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:20 pm

Interface and shortcuts

Post by stormag » Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:40 pm

Font Creator. I love it. I hate it.

It is such a brilliant and powerful tool, that can irritate a bit(/so much;) if you have ever entered the world of CAD and/or 3D modeling- a world in which you can be... ten times faster. Please, don't shoot the messenger- at least not before he will tell you how to make everything work perfectly;)! I'd just really love to see FC far cooler!!!



1. Zooming/paning - the ultimate (most convenient/fastest) way of doing that at the moment is using scroll wheel and middle button respectively for both functions (double-click middle mouse button to fit in window). Zooming up and down is OK for the glyph list, but not for glyph editor window.

Try: AutoCAD/Archicad- that will be the last time you'll EVER touch the keyboard to zoom/pan and after 5 minutes you'll forget that any zooming buttons have ever existed in any toolbars. In CAD packages, where everything is about speed and flexibility (zooming/panning every 5 seconds) you would have died without it!


2. Transform toolbar - what's the point of dragging it/closing it in the era of 30" (or at least ultra cheap 22") screens? Even more irritating than floating- what's the point of wasting the time clicking every 30 seconds on its tabs? Why not make it a Ribbon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribbon_(computing)) with all the options available directly?

Try: Cinema 4D - best example (I know) of flexible, dockable tabs, where you can freely adjust nearly any size and location (i.e. top/left/right ribbon depending on screen resolution and personal preferences).


3. Numeric fields (where you have/input numeric values, i.e. X/Y position) - accepting SIMPLE mathematical patterns; connected with ribbon they should integrate "Position" and "Move" tab
(In case of multiple selection it usually gives arithmetic average and span (in adjacent numeric field)- see Cinema 4D).

Try: Cinema 4D, Lightwave etc. Do you want to move coordinate X=2359 up 473 points (or multiply by two?)? In Cinema or Lightwave you don't have to switch to calculator or jump from "Position" to "Move" tab- just type "+473" after existing "2359", hit enter and you'll see "2832" it that field.


4. Keyboard shortcuts - current tendency of making single stroke shortcuts for the most repetitive drafting tools (Glypth Edit window) is generally the best, but some are clearly missing (like adding new contour or adding points by "cutting" ridge of a contour with "knife").

Try: SketchUP, Cinema 4D, Lightwave, ArchiCAD and many more- Fully customizable shortcut system is the ultimate solution! Why not? Luckily FC doesn't have as many functions as 3D Studio MAX, so maybe it will not be so painstaking to implement?


5. Snaps - snapping to points, especially with possibility of using another glyph as a trace in the background (with greatly reduced opacity or simply different (customizable;) color would be suuuuuper!!!

Try: ArchiCAD. Please note, that my request is a fraction of CAD features...



Please, don't say that they're all very serious programs,
but just look if implementation of this functions is easy or not.
If it is- why not do it the best way?

What do you think?

Cheers,

Adam
Last edited by stormag on Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 8345
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: Interface and shortcuts

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:17 am

I like the idea of merging position and move tabs: that should not be too difficult.

Likewise, scale and size tabs could be merged by typing * 1.5 in the size field to scale by 150% etc.

Making the interface fully customisable is a non-trivial task, and there is only one programmer — not a whole team. There is sure to be a trade off between improving the interface and adding new features. I think adding real new features is more important than resizable toolbars or ribbons.

Adding a few shortcuts is not a time-consuming operation I think, but I don't understand which ones are "clearly missing."

You can add nodes with the A shortcut. You can add new contours with Control C, Control V, or just Control drag.

You can already use a background image to trace around, or just paste one from the clipboard and have FontCreator trace it for you. Is this what you mean?
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC12 Pro + MT9.0 @ Win10 1903 build 18362.356

stormag
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:20 pm

Re: real new features

Post by stormag » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:57 pm

Huh, in the end they seem to be clearly overlooked by me:/. Thanks!
Is there any shortcut for the "knife" that cuts glyph edges and insert points on the intersections?

I would argue, though, with interpretation of the "real new features"- if there will be no efficient control over thousands of commands, many users will never even realize that they exist somewhere in 4th level submenu. This is particularly noticeable among big programs, like Photoshop or AutoCAD, in which there's really few new functions (in at least last five years), but plenty of tweaks making things instantly interactive or giving you direct or very intuitive context access to more and more tools, with as few strokes as possible (and eliminating clicking icons nearly completely)- WYSIWYG-ier text editing, double clicking items to bring they properties instead of going to the menu, or displaying a small context numeric box near you pointer during drawing any line, so you can enter the length or angle without moving mouse to any other place nor hitting any shortcut- everything just there, reading in your mind and appearing exactly in the place that you wish it would be!

Basically, I believe, that enabling people to use a program (literally) a few times faster IS a real new feature-
not to mention the ease of learning it, when you have most of the tools in front of you all the time- good example for me is comparing AutoCAD and Microstation (another CAD package, especially in a bit earlier versions)- the first one is a newbie paradise, because it gives you constant information about the options you have, along with shortcuts for these options- a monkey will know how to use 75% of its potential it after one hour, after that it will be getting faster and faster; the second has a great customizable shortcut system, but so hidden from the newcomer, that your life can be a misery until you find an expert/veteran user or go to a training...

One more thing: background image. Does Font Creator import any vector format?

Regards,

Adam

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 8345
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: Interface and shortcuts

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:38 pm

On the files of type drop list EMF and WMF are listed.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC12 Pro + MT9.0 @ Win10 1903 build 18362.356

Erwin Denissen
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8270
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2002 12:41 am
Location: Bilthoven, The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: real new features

Post by Erwin Denissen » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:50 pm

stormag wrote:One more thing: background image. Does Font Creator import any vector format?
FontCreator version 6 (almost ready for beta) will contain basic vector import support for ai, eps, pdf.
Erwin Denissen
High-Logic
Proven Font Technology

stormag
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:20 pm

Re: basic vector import support for ai, eps, pdf

Post by stormag » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:19 pm

That sounds very interesting!

Anyway, I'm very curious if there would be a chance of implementing zooming by mouse scroll.
I truly encourage everyone to see how does it work like in AutoCAD if you haven't try it yet- I have no slightest doubt that this tiny GUIless bit of code is a priceless improvement!!

That's really the last option to be missed out!

Regards,

Adam

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 8345
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: Interface and shortcuts

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:11 pm

Why keep on nagging about this? It has been requested many times, and is on the todo list. It won't happen for a while yet though, as far as I know. There are other more important things to fix first, and things are not always as simple to implement as they appear to be. If you like AutoCAD so much, try creating your Truetype fonts in that.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC12 Pro + MT9.0 @ Win10 1903 build 18362.356

stormag
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:20 pm

You're right.

Post by stormag » Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:58 pm

Sorry, I have to admit that I'm really obsessed with this option. No more nagging.

Designing fonts in AutoCAD? That's exactly what I'm doing. It's brilliant- the control that you'll not find anywhere else. The only disadvantage is the need to redraw glyphs in a software that saves font files...

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 8345
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: You're right.

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:29 pm

stormag wrote:The only disadvantage is the need to redraw glyphs in a software that saves font files...
Therein lies the rub — AutoCAD cannot create Truetype fonts. CorelDraw 3.0 can — that was the first program I used for editing Truetype fonts, but it was very hard work. Each character had to be exported from a single drawing to its intended position in the font. There was very little control over metrics, naming, platforms, etc.

FontCreator is not the ideal program for drawing contours, but it will gradually improve as the years go by. As Erwin says, the next version will include import for EPS, AI, and PDF. Importing postscript outlines is many times faster than tracing a bitmap or metafile. However, drawing programs and Truetype fonts use different kinds of curves, so imported curves will never be point for point identical, even if the import works perfectly.

See Chris Eller's excellent post on Quadratic (TrueType) v. cubic (Type 1) Bezier curves
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC12 Pro + MT9.0 @ Win10 1903 build 18362.356

Post Reply