Spacing changes?

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clemon79
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Spacing changes?

Post by clemon79 » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:51 pm

Okay, the following TrueType fonts are on my Web site:

http://fredsmythe.com/downloads/Eggcrate.ttf
http://fredsmythe.com/downloads/Eggcrate3.ttf

The former is the font as I downloaded it, and the latter is the very same
font, edited using Font Creator 5.0 only to change the name of the
font.

The problem is, Font Creator is doing something to change the font spacing, because if you try them both out in Word, one on top of the other, the latter is squeezed together a LITTLE more than the former. And that's creating quite a problem for me.

So I admit to being a font ignoramus. Does anyone know enough to have an idea what's changed and how I might be able to change it back? Is there an easy way to globally edit character spacing in a font? I don't need to kern, per se, I just need to know why things are smooshing up.

Thanks!

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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:30 am

If you look on Format, Settings, Ranges, you will notice that the original font as a value of zero in Average Character Width field. This is clearly not correct. Font Creator seems to calculate this field automatically on opening or on renaming the font.

This value might perhaps be used by Word when justifying the font. I don't really know what it is used for, but that is an educated guess. The width is calculated from a table of letter frequencies.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC12 Pro + MT8.0 @ Win10 1809 build 17763.475

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Post by Erwin Denissen » Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:19 am

The original font contains a Horizontal device metrics (hdmx) table. Font Creator doesn't support this table. On opening a font, unsupported tables can be preserved or deleted. To change these table settings, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Font tab.

The hdmx table, as well as LTSH and VDMX, can be regenerated with a free utility from Microsoft called CacheTT, located at:
http://www.microsoft.com/typography/tools/tools.htm

These three tables contain cached data that might slightly improve performance, as the rasterizer can use those values. Without these tables the rasterizer has to calculate the values. Although I've never done extensive testing, I think we’re talking about milliseconds here.

Hope this helps.
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clemon79
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Post by clemon79 » Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:12 am

Erwin Denissen wrote:The original font contains a Horizontal device metrics (hdmx) table. Font Creator doesn't support this table. On opening a font, unsupported tables can be preserved or deleted. To change these table settings, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Font tab.
Okay, so you're saying that if I tell it not to remove that then the spacing in the original font will be preserved?

I notice a setting in the tab you mentioned that says "Recalc average character width", as well. Would it be good for my purposes to turn that off too?

I appreciate the help!

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Post by Erwin Denissen » Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:39 am

When all you want to accomplish is a font name change, then you can include all unsupported tables, as those tables are never in conflict with font name changes.

I don't know what happens when you correct the average character width, but it is unlikely it will cause any problems.

Note: most font license agreements don't allow you to change a font, on the other hand several font vendors do allow you to modify a font as long as it is only used on machines for which you have licensed the original font. To be sure you are allowed to change the font, I suggest you read the license agreement or contact the font's manufacturer.
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clemon79
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Post by clemon79 » Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:56 pm

Erwin Denissen wrote: I don't know what happens when you correct the average character width, but it is unlikely it will cause any problems.
As it happens, if I uncheck that box, the resulting font is squished WAY together, as in characters are overlapping each other. And if I leave it checked and uncheck the boxes that delete these tables, we have the original spacing issue. So whatever that is doing is part of the key to why it's not preserving the spacing.

(This is NOT a professionally-produced font, by the way (as if you couldn't tell :)) so it's entirely possible that something was screwy when it was initially produced to cause this to happen.)

Any other ideas?

EDIT: Never mind, found it. It seems to have to do with that Average Character Width thing that Bhikkhu mentioned. It automatically sets it to 570 when it saves the font. If I turn off the auto-calculate thing, and then set it to 650, the font now spaces too WIDE. So somewhere between 570 and 650 lies the Truth. Thanks, Bhikkhu!

EDIT AGAIN: Hmm. Or not. That seems to widen the font in Word, but where I'm using it (in a Visual Basic app) it's still smooshing. Not MUCH, but just enough to be really irritating and not look like I want the font to. Maybe Font Creator just isn't a good app to be doing this with, because it's clearly screwing up something that it really shouldn't be touching. I should look for a font editor that only changes what I tell it to instead of trying to be "helpful". :P

The whole reason I'm doing this is because I am using this font in an app I'm writing, and I'm unhappy with the way the decimal point is spaced the same as the other characters...it leaves too big of a space between the ones and tenths digit and I'd like to tighten that up a little for my app.
To be sure you are allowed to change the font, I suggest you read the license agreement or contact the font's manufacturer.
Of course. I know the guy who made it, and he said "sure", so that sounds like permission to me. :)

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An Inconsistency

Post by Dick Pape » Fri Mar 24, 2006 6:43 am

In MT it shows it as Monospaced. The glyphs are variable sized. The fonts have Font Settings/Post/Fixed Pitch = 1 (monospaced).

It could be this conflict causes conflict in your application.

clemon79
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Re: An Inconsistency

Post by clemon79 » Fri Mar 24, 2006 6:52 am

Dick Pape wrote:In MT it shows it as Monospaced. The glyphs are variable sized. The fonts have Font Settings/Post/Fixed Pitch = 1 (monospaced).

It could be this conflict causes conflict in your application.
Ah, so it IS a monospace font. I looked all over and I couldn't find the property that would tell me if it was or not.

So the practical upshot is that it's a lot more complicated than just reducing the width of the glyph for the decimal point / period if I want to edit this font and preserve the spacing of font overall, is this what I'm led to understand?

If so, then I'm totally back at square one, but at least I know.

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Post by William » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:28 am

When I started fontmaking I used an older software program named Softy. I produced some fonts and published some of them on the web.

After using Font Creator for some time and updating the original Softy-produced fonts using Font Creator I came to the conclusion that the best thing to do with each of the older Softy-produced fonts was to start a new font in Font Creator 5.0 and then open the original font in Font Creator 5.0 and then copy the glyphs one by one from the original font and then paste them into the correct place in the new font. This meant that all of my original work in producing the artwork for the glyphs was not wasted, yet the underlying flags were all set as for a brand new Font Creator 5.0 produced font rather than having Font Creator 5.0 very courteously preserving the underlying flag states of the original font.

So, maybe that solution might be of help to you.

It is possible to copy more than one glyph at a time, yet that technique needs learning, so maybe one at a time is the best way to get started.

If you were to start a new font using Font Creator 5.0 and then copy the glyphs one by one from the original font into the new font, then that might be a good position to achieve and then you could begin to make your adjustments. Certainly there may be some adjustment of the metrics to be made, yet those could be copied (by reading from the original and then keying into the new font) from the old font and if there are problems then maybe you could put the new font into your webspace and hopefully someone here could advise you.

In all of this, the fact that the glyphs are 581 font units wide does not help with rendering on a PC, as ultimately the system will need to decide how many pixels to use and the formula for a PC running under Windows is (4*581)/(3*2048)*point size which is 0.378255208333333333333333333333333 times point size which for 12 point is 4.5390625 which needs rounding to a whole number!

So, depending upon which point size or point sizes you wish to use, it might be a good idea to try widening the glyphs a bit.

If you wish, you are welcome to have a look at one of my own fonts which has a similar sort of look.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/TOL.TTF

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/TOL2.PDF

There are some notes about the font in two posts of 30 April 2005 in the following thread of the Gallery forum.

viewtopic.php?t=844

I hope that this helps.

William Overington

Dick Pape
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Post by Dick Pape » Fri Mar 24, 2006 8:01 pm

It's not clear to me what you are after.

If you want monospaced use Tools/Autometrics and give it some "Fixed" values. Include all glyphs so space and notdef are that size too. Recalculate Format/Settings/Metrics and you're done.

If you want variable sized characters set the Format/Post/Fixed Pitch to 0. Fix Format/Settings/Metrics and you're done.

Proves you have to be careful which font you select to be the base of your designs. The ratio of variable to monospaced fonts is probably 1000 to1 -- so you had bad luck to select the one that didn't work for you!

Check the other values in that font to see if you wish to tailor them also. You've left some stuff: Jay Lewis 1999, Macromedia Fontographer 4.1 Wednesday, September 01, 1999 11:26:43 AM, etc. which is not you or your font!

clemon79
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Post by clemon79 » Fri Mar 24, 2006 8:16 pm

Dick Pape wrote:It's not clear to me what you are after.
Ultimately, all I really want to do is change the font so that the decimal point (and ONLY the decimal point) isn't monospaced; the rest of the characters maintain the same spacing, but the decimal point doesn't have so much space on the left and right of it. I can do this now with FC5.0, but doing so seems to decrease the spacing between the other characters just enough to be annoying to me.

This sounds like I would have to change it to be a variable-sized font. It also sounds like accomplishing what I want, while still preserving the precise spacing from its current form, is way more work than I thought, and very much over my head. I'm probably just better off living with the font in its current form. All of this stuff you guys are suggesting is confusing me; I'm not a font guy, I'm just some schlub who wants to use an eggcrate font for the countdown clock on the game-show buzzer software I'm making.
Proves you have to be careful which font you select to be the base of your designs. The ratio of variable to monospaced fonts is probably 1000 to1 -- so you had bad luck to select the one that didn't work for you!
Well, yeah. :) The problem is that there just aren't a lot of eggcrate-readout style fonts out there. (In fact, if there is another one besides this one, I don't know about it. There's a website for game-show related fonts, but they are all Jay's work, so all of the challenges that follow are still there.) The other problem is that the fellow who created this font did so LONG ago and doesn't remember how to edit it, and even if he did the vibe I get is that he isn't too interested in fixing the decimal point for me, for whatever reason.
You've left some stuff: Jay Lewis 1999, Macromedia Fontographer 4.1 Wednesday, September 01, 1999 11:26:43 AM
Right. It's still ultimately Jay's work, so it feels like he should have credit, but I was just doing quick-and-dirty until I figured out if I had done it right.

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Hi Clemon79

Post by Dick Pape » Fri Mar 24, 2006 8:50 pm

It should be easy to fix the font so that all characters are the same size and then adjust the period the way you want.

Tools/Autometrics. Select all (>>) Next. Select Fixed Select Change Advance Width. Enter 581 (which is what they are now). And that should make them monospaced. (Do not Fix Left Side Bearing or your square brackets will move).

I really don't know the better way to do this, but Edit the Period (glyph 17) and move the left and right vertical lines where you want them.

If you F5 Test Font you will see all glyphs are the same except those following a period. You can setup some test numbers to see the alignments.

I would suspect it will be tricky to use this unless all numbers have the same number of decimals. There is no "align to decimal" option I am sure that would make a column of figures look right.

You mentioned another approach in passing that in fact may work better which is Kerning.

Set up Kerning pairs for each number and the decimal (both before and after) so they are squeezed. About 20 kerning pairs (0. 1. 2. 3. and .0 .1 .2 .3) would be setup rather quickly. You need to have an application that handles kerning however. (I'm not sure Kerning and Monospacing are compatible options in True Type so call it a variable font.)

Kinda cute solution I might try...

clemon79
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Re: Hi Clemon79

Post by clemon79 » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:11 pm

Dick Pape wrote: Tools/Autometrics. Select all (>>) Next. Select Fixed Select Change Advance Width. Enter 581 (which is what they are now). And that should make them monospaced. (Do not Fix Left Side Bearing or your square brackets will move).

I really don't know the better way to do this, but Edit the Period (glyph 17) and move the left and right vertical lines where you want them.
AHA. This Change Advance Width thing is at least part of the solve. It appears I can tweak that and get the spacing I want, and then edit the period to how I want it.

The problem now, though, is that because changing the width to get the spacing I want between characters is creating more white space to the right of a character, the numbers aren't centering right in my program. They're off a LITTLE to the left.

So I'm thinking this is fixable one of two ways: either:

a) center the glyphs (and globally is fine, I don't care if it screws up other characters, since all I plan to use in my app are the digits and the period), or

b) find a setting that worries more about the spacing BETWEEN characters. (If that exists. Remember, I'm not a font guy.)

Is there an easy way to accomplish either? Is this what that "White space before/after characters" thing does? Would I do well to autometric the glyphs to the exact width of each and then futz with that instead?

EDIT: Ooh no. That really didn't work, it breaks the monospace. (Which makes sense.) So the "global centering" question is the ultimate solution. If I can do that, I can do the rest. (I'm also noting that when I drag the dotted lines to adjust spacing, the one on the right needs to be further away from the one on the left to create equal spacing. Is that a problem too?)

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Aayyy, the rub!

Post by Dick Pape » Fri Mar 24, 2006 11:05 pm

Welcome to the wonderful world of designing fonts...

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