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Is Scanahand for me?

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:54 pm
by hhnguyen
I'm an absolute beginner on making font (let's say I've never made a font in my life), but the idea of making myown fonts excites me. I've read the Bhikkhu Pesala's reviews on various font tools. I know the font creator has a steeper learning curve than Scanahand. So I'm wondering if the experts on this forum would recommend Scanahand. If I'm not mistaken, if one can draw letters, one can make font out of it using Scanahand tool. Is there a catch?

The sale makes it even more atractive.

My goal is to make my own Vietnamese fonts in Unicode.

Many thanks in advance


Re: Is Scanahand for me?

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:08 pm
by Bhikkhu Pesala
Vietnamese fonts require lots of letters with diacritical marks (accents). To get a consistent design by filling in templates for Scanahand is really not practical, although theoretically possible with the Premium Edition.

Also the font will be much larger than necessary. Vietnamese characters use composite glyphs, which combine a base letter such as "a" with two accents such as ` and ^

If you use FontCreator, you only need to create the "a" just once, and then combine it in various ways with different diacritical marks. This keeps the design of your font consistent and makes it much easier to edit.

Font editing is not a task for the faint-hearted, and Vietnamese fonts have extra challenges for the font designer. However, you can start with one of my GNU license fonts, rename it, and redesign it to suit your own needs and preferences. About 95% of the hard work is already done for you. You could draw new letters for A-z and 0-9, scan them, and paste them into FontCreator to create an entirely new font design fairly quickly. Then, its just a matter of adjusting the spacing, and positioning the accents correctly to suit the new design.

You will need the Professional version of FontCreator if you intend to use these fonts for commercial work, and even if your intended use is for personal use only, the Home Edition doesn't include the Complete Composites feature, which is almost essential for producing fonts with large numbers of composite glyphs. You can manually edit and create composite glyphs in the Home Edition, but its a tedious copy and paste operation. In the Pro Edition, a few clicks of the mouse will create all of the composite glyphs that you need in seconds, leaving you just to make some adjustments to the position of the accents.

Re: Is Scanahand for me?

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:56 pm
by hhnguyen
Thanks for the clear and detailed recommendations.

I will save my $$ for the creator professional

Best Regards