Kerning problems

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Karin1610
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Kerning problems

Post by Karin1610 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:34 pm

I'm encountering some weird things with kerning.
1) I wanted the space before and after vertical bars to not be so big, so I added kerning pairs "space/bar" and "bar/space". Same for broken bar and double vertical line. The first two worked fine, but the double one doesn't.
571742bug01a.png
571742bug01a.png (34.6 KiB) Viewed 271 times
In the first line you can see what the Font Test window puts out. The bar is clearly not centered between the words.
The second line shows what the preview window in the Open Type Designer puts out, and this is also what see when testing the font in Word. So it does work, but the Font Test window can't display it right.

2) Similar thing with this. I wanted the right quote closer to the period, but not change any side bearings.
563303bug01b.png
563303bug01b.png (40.05 KiB) Viewed 272 times
In the Font Test window no effect could be seen (see first line), even with a really crazy minus value.
In the Open Type Designer again it shows correctly (with that crazy minus value) and so it does in Word.

3) The last one is different. I wanted to adjust the space before and after the Ellipsis (in the screenshot it's too big, I was just messing around, trying to figure out what's going on.)
537267bug01c.png
537267bug01c.png (15.23 KiB) Viewed 272 times
Again, the first line is from the Open Type Designer preview, the second one from the Font Test Window. BUT this time Word doesn't put it out right. What I see in Word is what I see in the Font Test window.
The weird thing is, the H has equal side bearings and I put equal side bearings on the Ellipsis too to try out if that would work. Then I put the same kerning value to both "space/ellipsis" and "ellipsis/space". Yet the outcome is what you see in the bottom line of the screenshot.
As long as I don't add kerning values the Ellipsis is perfectly centered. Only afterwards it's messed up.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Saved JPG images as transparent PNG and uploaded them to the forum

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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:02 pm

For 1 and 3 the right way to fix the issue is to change the side-bearings.

For 2, you may need to use kerning. If you can attach the font project it will be easier to see what you have done.
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Karin1610
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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Karin1610 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:34 pm

Not sure, but I think you maybe misunderstood what I was trying to say.
On every screenshot both lines are the results of the same settings. It's just being displayed differently, depending on where I test it. The font test window puts out something different that the preview window in the Open Type Designer and in the case of 1) and 2) also Word.

If with 1) and 2) I trust the preview in the Open Type Designer (see bottom line in each screenshot), then my settings are okay. It looks fine to me.
(Well, of course in the screenshot of 2) it doesn't because I set exaggerated values to make clear that the font test window doesn't display any change in kerning whatsoever.)

If consistently just the font test window showed something weird, it wouldn't bother me as much. It's annoying, but not really a problem as long as it looks right when I test the font outside of Font Creator. But as I said, in the case of 3) it doesn't. The preview window in the Open Type Designer displays it correctly, but it looks wrong not only in the font test window, but also in Word. Now of course I wonder how many other kerning pairs that I made will look wrong outside of Font Creator ....

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:02 pm
f you can attach the font project it will be easier to see what you have done.
Sure. If you can see a mistake I made I'll be happy to know. I myself can't think of any although I really cracked my brain.
Attachments
Dodolino.fcp
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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:32 pm

1) I think you're designing this wrongly. Kerning should not be required for pairs with | The spacing should look right without spaces: H|H, but I see the same discrepancy in the Font Test Window with double bar.
2) The .” works for me
3) The ellipses does not have equal left and right side-bearings: they are 214 and 188
Ellipsis.png
Ellipsis.png (9.39 KiB) Viewed 292 times
Double-bar Spacing.png
Double-bar Spacing.png (10.47 KiB) Viewed 292 times
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Karin1610
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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Karin1610 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:40 am

Thank you for taking the time to look into it.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:32 pm
1) I think you're designing this wrongly. Kerning should not be required for pairs with | The spacing should look right without spaces: H|H, but I see the same discrepancy in the Font Test Window with double bar.
I'm aware that it's unusual, but this will be a school font and there are several reasons for me to do it that way. However, I might just do it "normally" and people who do want to use spaces could adjust the gap size by changing the font size for the space.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:32 pm
2) The .” works for me
I just figured out why. In English the Right Double Quotation Mark is on the right side, but in German we have the left one on the right side. In my font they just need to look both the same.
With the right one it works too for me, but not with the left one. Funny.

EDIT: Now both no longer work. This is really weird!
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:32 pm
3) The ellipses does not have equal left and right side-bearings: they are 214 and 188
I know. This was the last thing I had saved when trying out different things. I put different side bearings and calculated the kerning values accordingly, just to see if I can get it to look right. And in the Open Type Designer it does.
But when putting equal side bearing values and kerning values I get totally the same result. Looking good in OTD, but not in font test and Word.

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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Erwin Denissen » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:39 am

Karin1610 wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:34 pm
2) Similar thing with this. I wanted the right quote closer to the period, but not change any side bearings.
In the Font Test window no effect could be seen (see first line), even with a really crazy minus value.
Better upload your images to the forum, as external web sites might remove images after a while or require a payment to continue to use them.

The Font Test Dialog uses a common Windows control which relies on a basic Windows font renderer. I suspect Microsoft is not putting a lot of effort into fixing issues in that renderer.

I suggest you ensure the fonts works in the application you think your customers will use. For example Word or InDesign.
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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Karin1610 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:39 pm

Erwin Denissen wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:39 am
Better upload your images to the forum, as external web sites might remove images after a while or require a payment to continue to use them.
Oh, I didn't know that was possible. I'm used to having to use an image host at other forums. Thanks for the advice.
Erwin Denissen wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:39 am
The Font Test Dialog uses a common Windows control which relies on a basic Windows font renderer. I suspect Microsoft is not putting a lot of effort into fixing issues in that renderer.

I suggest you ensure the fonts works in the application you think your customers will use. For example Word or InDesign.
Okay, though I have to say, this isn't very convenient. I appreciate the option of temporarily installing the font so I can test it outside of FC, but I'd even more appreciate getting a reliable final result within the program.

The preview window in the OTD only gives a rough sketch and isn't very sensitive to changes. Sometimes I change a value by just 1 and the preview changes too, but another time, when changing the value by 10, no difference at all can be seen.
Same for the normal preview window. When I first started with kerning I tried to adjust kerning values, then exit out of the OTD, open the preview and hit undo/redo to compare before/after, but I quickly realized that won't work as half the time I can't see any change.

I found that the font test window is way more sensitive to displaying the changes, so I relied on that for the most part. It's way more time consuming already to always exit out of the OTD and test the font, then get back to the OTD and if necessary adjust some more. Comparison is hard that way because I can't get back and forth between before and after changes without leaving the dialog.

Now if in addition to that I had to go to Word all the time, re-select my text and find the correct test font, I'd go bonkers.

Don't get me wrong, I really like this program and without it I guess creating my own font would have remained a dream. But I think this is a bit of a weak point.

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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Jonne Haven » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:26 pm

Karin1610 wrote:Okay, though I have to say, this isn't very convenient. I appreciate the option of temporarily installing the font so I can test it outside of FC, but I'd even more appreciate getting a reliable final result within the program.

The preview window in the OTD only gives a rough sketch and isn't very sensitive to changes. Sometimes I change a value by just 1 and the preview changes too, but another time, when changing the value by 10, no difference at all can be seen.
Same for the normal preview window. When I first started with kerning I tried to adjust kerning values, then exit out of the OTD, open the preview and hit undo/redo to compare before/after, but I quickly realized that won't work as half the time I can't see any change.

I found that the font test window is way more sensitive to displaying the changes, so I relied on that for the most part. It's way more time consuming already to always exit out of the OTD and test the font, then get back to the OTD and if necessary adjust some more. Comparison is hard that way because I can't get back and forth between before and after changes without leaving the dialog.

Now if in addition to that I had to go to Word all the time, re-select my text and find the correct test font, I'd go bonkers.

Don't get me wrong, I really like this program and without it I guess creating my own font would have remained a dream. But I think this is a bit of a weak point.
Karin,

This post addresses "The sensitivity or lack thereof in OTD and Preview". I too may change the kerning by 5 points and see no difference in the results of aforementioned aspects of FontCreator. I made the same inquiries months ago because I understand that even if these small differences in kerning don't show up in the software they do show up in WP's like Word. The best answer I got was to increase the size of your font in preview and OTD. This was not the answer I would have liked so I guess that part is a little disappointing though it is true, expanding the size of your selections will respond with more minute changes being noticeable. I see this as an aspect that FC could improve upon especially for those of us to whom the slightest amount of kerning is well devised and noticeable. Perhaps on a later version of FC this could be remedied although I heard no promising news in that regard. So I guess for now all we can do is make the font samples larger. Hope this helps...I hope that this problem gets solved or at least gets better.

Blessings

Jonne

Karin1610
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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Karin1610 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:47 pm

Thanks, Jonne, for your support. I'm kind of glad I'm not the only one being unhappy with this.
I do increase the font size, but that alone doesn't do the trick for me. I need to see it in different sizes so I can decide what I like best. Also, I like to type sentences to see what it looks like, rather than just looking at words or groups of letters. That's not really possible with a really large font size.
Jonne Haven wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:26 pm
I see this as an aspect that FC could improve upon especially for those of us to whom the slightest amount of kerning is well devised and noticeable.
With this statement you help me too - to be clear, it helps my self-confidence. I always thought to see the slightest changes, but people around me keep telling me it's ridiculous and I'm "seeing ghosts". I'm still a bloddy newbie and tend to not trust myself. I don't know, maybe I end up making completely different decisions than a skilled typographer would, but that's not the point. The point is, if those little changes do matter, like you said, it would be even more important to have a real good preview within the program.

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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:22 pm

The problem is that the Font Test window uses a standard Windows control. Microsoft are the ones who should fix it, not Erwin.
Karin1610 wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:47 pm
I always thought to see the slightest changes, but people around me keep telling me it's ridiculous and I'm "seeing ghosts".
The people around you are right. I used to kern much too tightly (and probably still do) because when you're designing and seeing your kerning pairs at very large sizes you tend to overcompensate. Ordinary readers, who know nothing about font design, just read it at 12 point or whatever, and only notice if the kerning is a long way out (by 100 funits or more).

In DTP applications, one can condense text using "Tracking," by up to 3% before it becomes noticeable. This is very useful for fitting the last few words in a paragraph into the previous line, and preventing Windows/Orphans. Even values of 0.1% often make enough difference to fix such problems, but no one can detect that the text tracking has been condensed.

See my tutorial on Advanced Typography.

Join the TypeDrawers forum to get advice from professional font designers. I am still an amateur in spite of my high post count and long-term use of FontCreator.
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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Jonne Haven » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:27 pm

But Erwin is a steely eyed superman! He can do anything!!! ;)

Jonne

Karin1610
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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Karin1610 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:12 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:22 pm
The problem is that the Font Test window uses a standard Windows control. Microsoft are the ones who should fix it, not Erwin.
I still think there should be some way of getting a correct preview. I'm not a programmer, I'm just a user who spent quite some money on a software, and my logic tells me that a program that's designed to create something visual should as well provide an option to test it properly. Like when I purchase an audio processing software I'd expect to be able to test my soundtracks.

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:22 pm
The people around you are right. I used to kern much too tightly (and probably still do) because when you're designing and seeing your kerning pairs at very large sizes you tend to overcompensate. Ordinary readers, who know nothing about font design, just read it at 12 point or whatever, and only notice if the kerning is a long way out (by 100 funits or more).
Well, since this will be a school font especially for first graders, it's more likely to be used in larger sizes.
Also, I'm aware that "normal people" won't see those kerning differences. But for me it's more that I want to make the whole thing look right. I'm always afraid that when I don't kern really well (at least to what my eyes consider well - someone else's eyes might see different things anyway) it will end up looking like there's something wrong.
I guess it will be part of my learning process to find out how picky I really have to be ...
Thanks for the link, I'll look into it and try hard to understand at least a little part, lol.
Jonne Haven wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:27 pm
But Erwin is a steely eyed superman! He can do anything!!!
Well, then he can maybe implement a good preview too! :D

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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Erwin Denissen » Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:59 pm

Jonne Haven wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:26 pm
This post addresses "The sensitivity or lack thereof in OTD and Preview". I too may change the kerning by 5 points and see no difference in the results of aforementioned aspects of FontCreator. I made the same inquiries months ago because I understand that even if these small differences in kerning don't show up in the software they do show up in WP's like Word. The best answer I got was to increase the size of your font in preview and OTD. This was not the answer I would have liked so I guess that part is a little disappointing though it is true, expanding the size of your selections will respond with more minute changes being noticeable. I see this as an aspect that FC could improve upon especially for those of us to whom the slightest amount of kerning is well devised and noticeable. Perhaps on a later version of FC this could be remedied although I heard no promising news in that regard. So I guess for now all we can do is make the font samples larger. Hope this helps...I hope that this problem gets solved or at least gets better.
There is not much we can improve, so I might be missing something. Please explain how can we show a horizontal movement of less than a pixel?

This is the formula to convert a font unit into a pixel unit:

PointSize * resolution / ( 72 points per inch * units_per_em )

So basically if you look at some text from a 2048 upem font on your screen (96 dpi) with a font size set to 12, you will need to shift your characters 128 units to see it move a single pixel.

Note that modern screens tend to have higher dots per inch (dpi) and refer to it as pixels per inch (ppi) or relative pixel density. In those cases you will see 64 unit or even a 32 unit shift, but applying a 5 unit movement is just not noticeable.
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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Jonne Haven » Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:36 pm

Erwin Denissen wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:59 pm

There is not much we can improve, so I might be missing something. Please explain how can we show a horizontal movement of less than a pixel?

This is the formula to convert a font unit into a pixel unit:

PointSize * resolution / ( 72 points per inch * units_per_em )

So basically if you look at some text from a 2048 upem font on your screen (96 dpi) with a font size set to 12, you will need to shift your characters 128 units to see it move a single pixel.

Note that modern screens tend to have higher dots per inch (dpi) and refer to it as pixels per inch (ppi) or relative pixel density. In those cases you will see 64 unit or even a 32 unit shift, but applying a 5 unit movement is just not noticeable.
Erwin, thanks for looking into this. I understand and agree with the technicalities of what your saying and that all things being equal a 5 point change does not seem to be noticeable.

I wish to point out that when you drag the glyphs closer and further apart in the OTD top screen, the movement of the glyphs reflect in the little preview window below it. What is curious and a little frustrating is that when I move the large glyphs, the preview glyphs co-incides with the spacing I make in the top window, but the preview shows changes in spacing by about 20-30 units at a time. It would be nice to see the glyph pairing values reflect more smoothly instead of 'skipping' about every 20-30 units.
I hope I'm being clear.

Karin Hope this helps. Maybe if you and I get on Erwin to fix this 'space chunk theory' as I perceive them if we're polite and explain as best we can our observations.

Blessings,

Jonne
Last edited by Jonne Haven on Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Karin1610
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Re: Kerning problems

Post by Karin1610 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:20 pm

Jonne Haven wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:36 pm
Karen Hope this helps. Maybe if you and I get on Erwin to fix this 'space chunk theory' as I perceive them if we're polite and explain as best we can our observations.
Well, if this could be improved, it would be great for sure.

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