Need Help with Handwriting Font

Get help with FontCreator here. Please do not post feature requests or bug reports here.
PJMiller
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 808
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:12 pm
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Contact:

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by PJMiller » Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:57 pm

Psymon wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:07 pm
Ha ha, yes, considering the types of fonts that I've chosen to make, I've definitely become "skilful in the crookedness, knots, and defects." ;)
What I meant was, you can do 80% of the work in 20% of the time but the other 20% takes 80% of the time. You can come up with something passable in a short time but then you notice some slight defect which needs correcting and then another etc. and you can go on polishing it indefinitely but it is a law of diminishing returns, it just depends on how polished you want the end product to be. Perfection takes a long time. There has to be a cut off point, the question is where do you want to put that cut off point.

Psymon
Posts: 444
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Psymon » Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:49 pm

PJMiller wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:57 pm
There has to be a cut off point, the question is where do you want to put that cut off point.
After my NEXT revision. I hope. ;)

I did upload a couple updates to the font already, since I first did an "official" release the other day, and those were pretty significant. There's one other thing I'm still thinking about, re-doing my emdash (and checking my other dashes) to make it look more "Thoreauvian" -- ie. longer and skinnier than the one I used.

I got distracted with my next project already, though, so I guess that's a good sign that my Thoreau fonts are wrapping up -- I'm just sorta mulling in my head about those dashes at the moment, though, but I should have those revisions done within a week. And then I'll post a link to the gallery here. :)

Psymon
Posts: 444
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Psymon » Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:34 pm

So I did the "official release" via my website (and on Facebook, etc.) of my Thoreau fonts the other day, version 1.00, and within 2 hours I realized I hadn't kerned my "fi" lig -- yikes!

So I immediately went to correct that oversight, and soon came out with version 1.01.

After which I thought that maybe I should check the "fl" lig, and all the other "basic" ligs, and indeed I had totally not checked those over very well before.

Thus, later that night, version 1.02.

And then everything was fine -- except the em-dash I had kinda bugged me. I got it right from Thoreau himself, but somehow it just didn't look "Thoreauvian," it was too short, and too thick, from how one usually might think of his dashes (and hyphens), so I re-did it -- and, in fact, replaced the one em-dash I had before with three! :)

So that then became version 1.03.

And then the next day I thought it might be nice to have a way to do up Thoreau's signature, as he did it when he was feeling his fanciest -- and thus was born the latest version, 1.04.

I'm pretty happy with everything now (unless someone catches something funny going on). There was some discussion elsewhere for adding in another lig to go with the other two signature-related ligs I made, to have the "H" display larger when one types "Henry" -- that's a nice idea, it would balance out his signature better, but at the moment I don't see doing a whole revision just for that. Plus it would throw all my version numbering outta whack, as then only the one oblique would become 1.05, while everything else stayed at 1.04.

So I'm not adding that in just yet -- but if I do end up doing a revision to all 4 fonts in the family (and bumping the whole shebang up to 1.05), then I'll add that in, too. :)

Thoreau's Hand New Stuff 103.jpg
Thoreau's Hand New Stuff 103.jpg (630.85 KiB) Viewed 683 times
Thoreau's Hand New Stuff 104.jpg
Thoreau's Hand New Stuff 104.jpg (632.31 KiB) Viewed 683 times

Oh, and as always, you can preview/download the fonts at the same link as before, of course...

http://www.psymon.com/fonts/thoreau.html

:)

Psymon
Posts: 444
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Psymon » Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:37 pm

PS... Oh, I forgot to mention, PJ, that I also finally got around to posting my font(s) to the gallery pages here, too. ;)

Psymon
Posts: 444
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Psymon » Mon Oct 26, 2020 5:46 pm

What do you do with cases like this? I just used the word "witch" as an example, of course -- it's timely. ;) But I did my kerning on the "h" and double-quote, and they look fine whether it's the regular "h" or the alternative, ender "h," but as soon as I add in a period it's as though I hadn't done kerning at all -- but the closing double-quote is kerning to the period, not the "h," of course. If I kern the period further away from the period, so it works okay when there's an "h" there (before the period), then it'll screw everything up for when there isn't an "h."

witch witch.jpg
witch witch.jpg (8.76 KiB) Viewed 663 times

I'm not sure if I explained that well, but I presume you can actually see the issue here -- I just don't know what one can do about it.

EDIT/PS. Yes, I was horrified myself after posting this to see that my "c" and "h" could be kerned better, to connect up more nicely -- it's beyond me how I missed that! Geez... I've fixed that already (in all 4 fonts). :roll:

Psymon
Posts: 444
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Psymon » Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:17 pm

I think I figured out how to resolve my previous conundrum -- I just kerned the period (etc.) away from my "h," which then pushed the quote mark away, too, of course.

But without a quote, that period looks kinda far away -- but then, that's how Thoreau often wrote them himself. If I had my druthers, though, I think it would look nicer if it was closer -- but what can ya do?

If anyone knows a better solution, fire away!

In the meantime, Erwin, if you catch this, my next question might be right up your alley (as a software designer)...

When I'm in Photoshop, as with many word processing programs, "smart quotes" can be turn on so that when I type a regular, straight apostrophe, or straight double-quote mark, then it converts them to smart quotes, somehow knowing whether it should be an opening or closing one.

That would be nice to add in my font -- indeed, all my fonts! -- because I'm always frustrated having to dig for smart quotes in some programs, and with my Thoreau font, especially, users will undoubtedly want the "smart" ones, not the "dumb" ones.

I suppose that I could set that up basically like I did with my opening-letter and ending-letter contextual alts, but smart quotes in software seem "smarter" than just that -- I'm not sure what criteria they use in their coding, but it seems to know if the opening quote was used before (anywhere, not just at the start of a word), and whether or not the next one should be a closing quote.

And same with apostrophes -- software just seems to be pretty "smart" about that, more than just what I know about re contextual fonts.

And so, Erwin (or anyone), do you know how the coding in software (like Photoshop or whatever) does that, and can that be replicated in a font?

Erwin Denissen
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9138
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2002 12:41 am
Location: Bilthoven, The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Erwin Denissen » Tue Oct 27, 2020 9:47 pm

Psymon wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:17 pm
That would be nice to add in my font -- indeed, all my fonts! -- because I'm always frustrated having to dig for smart quotes in some programs, and with my Thoreau font, especially, users will undoubtedly want the "smart" ones, not the "dumb" ones.
It looks like you want to replace a character with another one. That is not something that should be done at the font level, you need to leave that to the word processing software.

I see an awful lot of marketing material, on Dutch main TV channels, in magazine, flyers, etc., with incorrect usage of quotation marks. They spent a lot of money to advertise, but somehow hire a person who uses software that does a poor job at being smart... In Dutch, several words start with an apostrophe. It can be represented by a right single quotation mark, but not by a left single quotation mark, or some other strange quote sign.
haantje.jpg
haantje.jpg (296.39 KiB) Viewed 636 times
Erwin Denissen
High-Logic
Proven Font Technology

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 9008
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:48 am

Psymon wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:17 pm
When I'm in Photoshop, as with many word processing programs, "smart quotes" can be turn on so that when I type a regular, straight apostrophe, or straight double-quote mark, then it converts them to smart quotes, somehow knowing whether it should be an opening or closing one.
Autocorrect is often not smart enough. Word-processors replace the actual text, while fonts will perform a glyph substitution leaving the original text string untouched.

“Smart quotes,” don’t work too well with measurements like 5’6”, which should use straight quotes: 5'6"

Some fonts use a single right quote glyph for the apostrophe, which is OK until you need a single straight quote.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC13 Pro + MT10.0 @ Win10 2004 build 19041.746

Psymon
Posts: 444
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Psymon » Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:40 pm

Hey, thanks for the replies on this, Erwin and Bhikkhu! You both bring up some rather good points -- and yes, I have indeed encountered that issue you illustrated (literally), Erwin, with the opening apostrophe showing up as a left-quote, rather than a right-quote.

Nevertheless, I still find myself wondering if I should try to do this anyway, if only with just my Thoreau font (but not necessarily my other fonts), simply because of the ways in which I would imagine my Thoreau fonts to be used -- it's not a "text font," like, something you would use for business letters or something, but rather a font you would tend to use for artistic purposes, or perhaps to write personal letters or something -- and in that regard I would think it would be rare for one to need straight quotes.

You mentioned a couple things, Bhikkhu...
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:48 am
“Smart quotes,” don’t work too well with measurements like 5’6”, which should use straight quotes: 5'6"
Technically, in that context shouldn't those "quotes" actually be the minute and second glyphs (which I have)?
Some fonts use a single right quote glyph for the apostrophe, which is OK until you need a single straight quote.
Yes, I did that at first with my Alde blackletter font -- that was a mistake. ;)

Well, I'm a bit undecided about this, if only with regard to my Thoreau font -- although I'm not sure how I might practically implement such a thing. I suppose for opening/closing double-quotes, I could simply set up a contextual alt to swap out the appropriate one when it's at the beginning or end of a word (as I did with the other alts), but I'm not sure what I would set up re the apostrophe. I guess you could set up an alt for that, for when it comes right before an "s"? That only works for English, though, I suppose.

Well, I'm still wondering about this -- but I guess I can backburner it, too, and leave it alone for now. Thanks for the input, though! Last night I "really" wanted to do this, but you've both made me a little more realistic about the practicalities of it.

Nevertheless, I'm still wondering... :wink:

Psymon
Posts: 444
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Psymon » Sun Nov 01, 2020 4:53 pm

I'm still working on another update for my font (I'm trying really hard to not overlook anything this time before I upload the next one), and hopefully should have that done soon, but here's a couple links that I came across before at the beginning of this contextual alts journey, back when I was looking all over the 'net for info on how to do this.

Erwin, you'd pointed out a link earlier that gave a nice overview of things you can do with contextual alts -- here's another good link, similar to that. Not to be redundant, of course, but I thought this one was pretty good, too...

https://www.typenetwork.com/news/articl ... alternates

In that article, there's a reference to this youtube video as well -- and for anyone interested in doing stuff with contextual alts (and ligatures, too, I suppose), I can't recommend this one enough!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCviu05n_XA

The description for that video is: "Boon and Bane of OpenType Features: In her talk Ulrike shared advanced tips and tricks on how to get the most out of the OpenType feature syntax and demonstrates what to bear in mind when it comes to the implementation within layout software."

I get a bit lost at times when she shows her "hand coding" for everything -- I've been doing my alts, etc. using the GUI interface that FontCreator has, of course, which relieves the user of having to do the coding themselves -- but, nevertheless, even though I don't know the syntax, etc. to do the coding myself, I can get a gist of the really VERY COOL ideas she has for randomizing letters and stuff.

But perhaps even more important than those groovy design ideas are her cautions against them, in that no matter how much time and effort you put into getting your alts and ligs working "just right," at the end of the day even professional publishing houses -- using perfectly OTF-capable software, no less -- will invariably neglect to turn those damn things on, and use your fonts "plain," without any ligs, without any alts or anything.

All that work for nothing. :(

But she makes a very, very good case for getting your font to look as good as you can WITHOUT the need for ligs/alts -- and in that regard I'm so glad that with this Thoreau font I didn't know any of this contextual alt stuff first, and put a ton of time into trying to get things looking good without them before I later added them in.

Really great video there. :)
Last edited by Psymon on Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Erwin Denissen
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9138
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2002 12:41 am
Location: Bilthoven, The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Erwin Denissen » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:11 pm

Ulrike Rausch makes amazing handwriting fonts. She is currently working on a color COLR version, which is something I would love to make, but I always seem to have more important things to do.
Erwin Denissen
High-Logic
Proven Font Technology

Psymon
Posts: 444
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Psymon » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:16 pm

Erwin Denissen wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:11 pm
She is currently working on a color COLR version
What's that?

Erwin Denissen
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9138
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2002 12:41 am
Location: Bilthoven, The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Erwin Denissen » Sun Nov 01, 2020 10:32 pm

Psymon wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:16 pm
Erwin Denissen wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:11 pm
She is currently working on a color COLR version
What's that?
A color font with the COLR extension. We have a tutorial about it here:
Create OpenType Color Fonts
Erwin Denissen
High-Logic
Proven Font Technology

Psymon
Posts: 444
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Psymon » Sun Nov 01, 2020 10:50 pm

Oh, okay. I tried to make a colour font once before (ages ago) and even got help here on that, but just couldn't seem to get things to work right -- it would have been very nice if I could, but at the same time it's not "imperative" that I figure it out.

I didn't realize you ended up with a font with a different extension, though -- I thought it would still just be ".ttf" or whatever.

Um, you said earlier that a COLR version is "something you'd like to make" -- I thought you were talking about adding something new to the program. Do you design fonts, too, Erwin? You've often said that you're more concerned with the programming end of things, rather than the design aspects of fonts, so I just assumed you didn't make fonts yourself.

Do you make fonts, too, though? I'd be interested to see what sort of stuff you've done, if so. :)

Bhikkhu Pesala
Top Typographer
Top Typographer
Posts: 9008
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Seven Kings, London UK
Contact:

Re: Need Help with Handwriting Font

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:05 am

You can find a sample Font Project for Odana in my tutorial thread. That will show you how to make coloured glyphs.

Fonts with coloured glyphs are exported with the same *.ttf or *.otf extension. Applications that do not support colour font technology will display the coloured glyphs in monochrome.
My FontsReviews: MainTypeFont CreatorHelpFC13 Pro + MT10.0 @ Win10 2004 build 19041.746

Post Reply