Anyone have info about creating pixel fonts ?

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Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2002 12:56 pm

Anyone have info about creating pixel fonts ?

Post by carbon » Sat Oct 05, 2002 1:55 am

A couple examples of what I'm talking about :

Any hints on where to start, how you create them, what's the process...


Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2002 5:48 am
Location: Järvenpää, South Finland

8-pixel fonts

Post by stehvelo » Sat Oct 05, 2002 6:55 am

I can give you a few pointers to get started. Historical background: Many years ago, printers had 8-pin printing heads which flew across the page at the rate of 80 characters per second to print a line of lettering. The characters couldn't be flowery or elaborate simply because eight tiny vertical pins firing along a line can't create fancy details in a font. The individual letters also each had a maximum width of eight dots. Even so, it was possible to create widely differing fonts for printers with programmable printing heads.
Progress progressed, as it sometimes does, and we got printers and technology which allowed us to do what we always wanted to - print using fonts like Magnificat and Univers 53 (not together, for Pete's sake!) For a couple of years, everyone was happy.
Along came the Net. Websites. It seemed that you could say and display anything you wanted, as long as you could do it in Times. That was fine for about three weeks, then people began to be sick of seeing the same cruddy black typeface on a gray background.
It may seem a complete coincidence, but the good old 8-pin printers held the key to dedicated website fonts. Monitor technology is responsible for the fact that fonts created with multiples of 8 pixels look sharp onscreen. It's not surprising really - ASCII text norms, monitors and printers were all created to work together.
Fast forward to 2002: how to design a great 8-dot pixel font? First, understand this is not something you're going to create in an afternoon. Start by getting some graph paper. If you already have an idea of what kind of style you want your font to have, you're halfway there. Draw a frame around a square 8 divisions by 8 divisions. In fact, draw about 12 such squares in the paper. Then start planning how to fit your letters into the squares. Remember that each letter has to have a baseline in common - that's the line on which all the letters in the word "communion" sit. See how all those letters are also the same height? Draw another line on the paper to correspond to the height of them. (These limits are called the "x-height" BTW). Now think of the word "Egypt". If your font uses capital letters (= upper case letters), the top of the E is another limit so draw a line there. Are you still inside the 8 by 8 dot box? Let's hope so. And see how the "g", "p" and "y" hang down below the "communion" base line? The dangly bits are called "descenders" and you need to draw a line at their lower limit too.
Now you've got your x-height, and the limits for descenders and the bits which stick up, "ascenders". Now color in the tiny boxes inside, one at a time where necessary, to form your font's "h". That gives you the width of most of your letters too, so if your "h" is five pixels wide, your a,e,g,s,u etc should also be as wide. "w" and "m" will be wider, "i", "j" and "l" narrower.
If you're in the USA or another English-speaking country, please don't forget that there are more of us who can't use your font than those who can if you design letters from A to Z and leave it at that. I won't use fonts which don't have double-dotted "a" or "o", because my local language needs those letters. (The dots usually sit on the ascender line). French needs a whole slew of accented a e o i and c characters. That'll cover the whole of Canada too!
OK - when you've got that far, you can post back and we'll go through the process of transferring your designs into FCP. If you want to see these odd dotted letters I'm referring to, visit my website - the address is in my profile. It has parallel English and Finnish text.
Enjoy the process - we could make this our joint project!

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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2002 1:17 am

maybe you could use mine...

Post by mekaxero » Tue Oct 22, 2002 2:17 am

I posted a topic about this in the requests section, because i am using a font from a video game, os it is 8x8 pixels, only i have modified it to make it mine, and i would like to make it a font, but when i do this, it doesn't ever seem to look right, and i am having trouble. So far i have A-Z, a-z, 0-9, ", ', comma, period, !, and ? I could make the rest of them for the other languages, that would be easy, and i even have them all seperated into 8x8 bitmaps to load them into the program, but i still have trouble. if anyone wants to use my file to make the font, i would be greatful, since i continue to fail at this...

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