crystal drawings font

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bobcdy
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crystal drawings font

Post by bobcdy » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:03 pm

Just finished my first symbol font; it has 26 drawings of minerals taken from various mineralogy texts. Some might use it as decorations, borders, etc. FontCreator 5 is a really great and easy to use program. I have access to FontLab and tried to use it for the font but could never get it to correctly accept the drawings and never could correct the errors using that program. With FontCreator, the glyphs were flawlessly created without any trouble.

Esample and keyboard/mineral names at
http://www.ge-at.iastate.edu/Cody/fonts ... yboard.pdf

and the font can be downloaded at
http://www.ge-at.iastate.edu/Cody/fonts/cryst__.ttf

Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: crystal drawings font

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:32 pm

Yes. Ease of use is a major factor in favour of FontCreator over other programs.

Run the Validator from the Font menu to fix some problems.

A couple of glyphs have some stray contours in them. The validator will show you which glyphs have errors that could not be fixed automatically.

All of the glyphs need adjustment for spacing and centering between side-bearings.

Vertical and horizontal lines can be made perfect using the Align toolbar to align nodes. Straight lines can be made perfect by deleting off-curve points.
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bobcdy
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Re: crystal drawings font

Post by bobcdy » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:47 pm

Thanks for the tips. I'll do what you suggest.
Bob

bobcdy
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Re: crystal drawings font

Post by bobcdy » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:09 am

I've redrawn the three fonts that gave bad vibes on Validation, made the most obviously misaligned crystals so that they are aligned vertically, and adjusted the left and right bounding lines so that the characters are more evenly spaced than before. Validation shows no errors now. I've reposted the revised font and pdf file. Please let me know if you notice any other errors, and additional comments and suggestions for improvements in content and style will really be appreciated.
Bob

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Re: crystal drawings font

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:07 am

It is looking better now. Good enough to be usable. How much time you want to spend on improving it is up to you. See How Long Does it Take to Make a Font?

There are several things you could do. You can do these as a way to learn new techniques:
  1. There are still some validation errors. Go to Tools, Options, Validation, and select "Local Detection" — the default is "Global Detection" — and run the validator again. Even after that, there is still a stray contour in glyph 57. This will ruin the line-spacing of your font, and it affects the spacing of that glyph.
  2. Spacing looks too tight. If you look at Wingdings, most of the symbols will have about 150-200 funits on each side. So use the automatic glyph metrics on Tools, Autometrics to set the bearings to 175 funits of white space on each side. Then save the font to set the left side bearings at x=0. To change bearings for individual glyphs, if you think they need less or more spacing than others, use the Bearings Tab on the Transform toolbar.
  3. Look at the naming fields in Format, Naming. It says "Typeface © (your company). 2009. All Rights Reserved" That could be improved. So go to Tools, Options, Naming and fill in the fields. They will then be used with all of your new fonts. Then run the Autonaming Wizard on the Tools menu. Maybe you could think of something more imaginative than just "Crystals" ? Short, but memorable is good. You might also like to rename cryst__.ttf to something better.
  4. Then, if you want to improve the details, start looking closely at individual glyphs. For example, glyphs 55, 58 have white contours that are not needed. Glyph 50 has not traced very well. Enter points mode, select a few nodes at the joins, and zoom in using the "Zoom to selected" icon on the drawing toolbar. Start deleting nodes so that you get nice sharp corners. Use the "Fit to window" icon to zoom out again quickly.
  5. Make vertical and horizontal lines perfectly straight and vertical or horizontal. For example, in glyph 46. Do this by deleting any off-curve nodes (the round ones), and use the align tools to align pairs of selected on-curve nodes (the square ones) precisely.
  6. To align nodes on a diagonal, use guidelines. Select two nodes and press the "G" shortcut to add a guideline. Now drag the intermediate nodes to snap to the diagonal guideline. You can turn off "Fill Outlines" to see the guidelines inside the glyph.
    Diagonal Guideline.png
    Diagonal Guideline.png (3.63 KiB) Viewed 10157 times
  7. When you have done with editing and removing all the stray contours, recalculate the font metrics from Format, Settings, Metrics, Calculate. This will change the line-spacing of your font and move the bearing lines in the Glyph edit window.
  8. Now check the perspective on you crystals to see if they look right. Hide all of the toolbars in the glyph edit window and use a trick to hide all the guides quickly. Press alter H, and then click in the window to hide the help menu. Scroll through your font using the Alter Left and Right cursor keys. Closing and reopening the glyph edit window will restore the guides.
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Dick Pape
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Re: crystal drawings font

Post by Dick Pape » Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:55 am

Hurray. It looks very nicely done.

Come cosmetic improvements I would recommend: (took me too long to compose this and BP got in ahead!! boo hoo)

-- Check glyph 57 for stray points really up high. When recalculating Format/Settings/Metrics things changed from how they had been. The change was very much larger than before. The Font/Properties noted a very large glyph (57) which is how I saw it.

Validate doesn't detect those other points as they are valid constructions.

-- Remove empty glyphs to make the font smaller and more focused on your characters (Edit/Select Incomplete/Delete.)

-- Also if you check Font/Properties thereis a very large value for Max Advance Width -- glyph 221 which wasn't one of yours. It should be manually corrected or deleting empties would drop that aberration. I always check Font/Properties for unreasonable numbers.

-- On drawing straight lines you don't need to set intermediate points as they should be redundant for this design.

-- Complete the font naming options (Copyright notice) as that shows on a font list. Perhaps walk through the PANOSE settings (Format/Settings/Panose) and add (maybe) #2-Shapes, #4- Proportional Spaced.

-- Under settings perhaps you could put your initials as Font Vendor rather than using HL.

Personal view is that Symbol glyphs don't need left side, right side bearings other than 0 as symbols are generally used one at a time and you could use your graphics program to define the distance between characters. (There's no kerning for that reason too.)

I also tend to delete the notdef construction as it clutters up a font display of a symbol font. It's not needed as in alphabetic fonts as you'd know if the symbol/image is missing by its absence.

This is a good start. Now what are you going to do for font 2 ???

bobcdy
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Re: crystal drawings font

Post by bobcdy » Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:49 pm

Great thanks to Dick and Bhikku for the time and efforts to help improve my font! Still a bit to do and I'll start working on the changes today. I hadn't realized the details that go into making a well-styled font and the suggested improvements may take a bit of time, especially to learn how make the changes.

As for the 2nd font? The problem with alphanumeric fonts is that there are so many of them already that I doubt I could contribute much new, so I suppose another symbol font. I taught mineralogy at a state university for many years so I have more interest in mineralogy than in many other graphic subjects. I suppose I could simply expand the number of drawings beyond 26 in the current font. There are thousands of mineral drawings...

One question - is there a way to make a print file with the font number and the drawing correlated? I know that mappings will show what I need but I couldn't make a printable file from it.
Bob

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Re: crystal drawings font

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:56 pm

You can print your font from FontCreator as a grid with a caption and each symbol. Right-click to change the caption option to Postscript name or Symbol characters.
Attachments
Crystal.pdf
(25.77 KiB) Downloaded 373 times
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Dave Crosby
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Re: crystal drawings font

Post by Dave Crosby » Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:16 pm

Great Job! And THANKS FOR SHARING!
Aut nunc aut nunquam

bobcdy
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Re: crystal drawings font

Post by bobcdy » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:15 pm

Finally got my revised version of crystal drawing font finished and posted. The url is
http://www.ge-at.iastate.edu/Cody/fonts/Font1a_FC.ttf

and the pdf file that goes with it is
http://www.ge-at.iastate.edu/Cody/fonts ... l_font.pdf

As with the previous version, any suggestions for improvment will be appreciated. I especially thank
Bhikkhu Pesala and Dick Pape for the help with the 1st version! Without their help, I wouldn't know how to start with improvements.
Bob Cody

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Re: crystal drawings font

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:36 pm

It still needs some work with the align tool to make straight lines truly vertical, horizontal, and truly straight (delete off-curve nodes).
Wolframite.png
Wolframite.png (8.6 KiB) Viewed 9995 times
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bobcdy
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Re: crystal drawings font

Post by bobcdy » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:59 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. Actually, I used FontLab to be certain that all the vertical/horizontal lines were correct, because FL shows such problems with a red arrow. I think most, if not all, such lines are aligned properly. The only problem I really had was with my drawing program, Corel Designer x4. The method I used to produce two horizonal lines defining the dark lines of the gylphs unfortunately produced three nodes at each corner. Although I could have deleted two of the nodes and repositioned the third, I decided to delete one node that left two close-together nodes at all corners. This was only detectable at high mag and produced a slightly squared corners rather than really sharp corners, but this seemed like a minor defect. I'll go over the gylphs again to eliminate extra nodes such as on the Wolframite that seems to have been overlooked by the font validate command.
Bob

bobcdy
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Re: crystal drawings font

Post by bobcdy » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:36 pm

I've modified a few glyphs as suggested (I couldn't see the multiple nodes for wolframite even at high mag). A problem is that the thickness of the lines obscures details in a few cases such as the diakisdodecahedron. The glyph looks like there are nodes at odd places but this is because there are two crystal faces that does not show up because of line thickness. Rather than use a thinner line, I decided to let it go because a thinner line will obscure smaller font type. Here's the actual drawing I used for the diakisdodecahedron glyph:

Image

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