Chromatic fonts

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William
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Chromatic fonts

Post by William » Tue Jun 27, 2006 9:25 am

There have recently been postings in the following two threads.

viewtopic.php?t=1456

viewtopic.php?t=1104

This, together with recent publicity that OpenType is becoming more widely used, has caused me to think that it could be interesting if July 2006 were to be Chromatic Font Month and people who so wished could, in the time running up to TypeCon2006, think about the possibilities for chromatic font technology, and maybe some experiments could take place. If there were sufficient interest in chromatic fonts, maybe the technology could be developed and the future of typography changed.

The word chromatic first appears in the archives of the Unicode mailing list with this post.

http://www.unicode.org/mail-arch/unicod ... /0223.html

If needing the username and password for guest access to the archives, please read the following page.

http://www.unicode.org/mail-arch/

This followed from a discussion initiated in the following thread.

http://www.unicode.org/mail-arch/unicod ... /0143.html

There are some earlier notes about holly ornaments in the following post.

http://www.unicode.org/mail-arch/unicod ... /0173.html

My experimental eutofont font format is still available, though, as far as I am aware, still unimplemented.

viewtopic.php?t=696

It would indeed be interesting if progress were made with implementing the eutofont font format as to whether that development would lead to the OpenType specification being extended to add chromatic font facilities to catch up with that development.

In researching this post I found the following thread.

viewtopic.php?t=145

So, with TypeCon2006 coming up and an unjuried showcase being promised, here is a big chance for Chromatic Font Month to make a forward leap for typography.

In order to try to start discussion, here is an issue for font design if chromatic fonts become established.

Please consider the Galileo Lettering collection of fonts available from the following web page.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/fonts.htm

Suppose that the artwork in the five fonts in the Galileo Lettering collection of fonts were to be used (and maybe adapted) so as to produce one chromatic font, so that effects like that shown on page 1 of the following document could be produced, in an appropriate wordprocessing package or desktop publishing package which as far as I know does not yet exist, simply by keying the text once, rather than having to use five layers and five fonts as needed at present.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/mosaic3.PDF

How would the contours need to be drawn in the chromatic font? In the five font set, the outline shape of each letter is in each font and the glyphs overlap in the PDF display. Would contours of different colours be allowed to overlap? If they were not allowed to overlap would there be a danger of rendering producing thin lines of background between sections of different colours in displaying a glyph? Would there need to be a rule that contours of differing colours one font unit apart were treated as being joined, perhaps with each odd-numbered coordinate being rendered as if it were rounded down or up to the even-numbered coordinate next to it?

William Overington

Bhikkhu Pesala
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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jun 27, 2006 9:59 am

ImageImageImage
:arrow:
ImageImageImageImageImageImage :?:

The basic concept seems flawed to me. Graphical applications like Page Plus, Draw Plus, or Photoshop can add all kinds of colour effects to standard monochrome truetype fonts. Chromatic fonts are not needed, and are a very labour intensive way of producing coloured text.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Thu May 17, 2007 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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William
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Post by William » Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:33 pm

Thank you for your reply.

> WHY BOTHER? (transcribed from ornate graphics capitals, so the original did not look as harsh as the capitals used here may look.)

Well, in your illustration the foliage could all be green, possibly several shades of green, the flowers could have red centres and yellow petals, all produced just by selecting the font and typing. There would need to be a software package that handled chromatic fonts and there would need to be chromatic fonts, yet the OpenType specification has been developed and some software packages that handle OpenType have been produced and some OpenType fonts have been produced, and OpenType is much discussed and enthused about.

> The basic concept seems flawed to me.

Why?

> Graphical applications like Page Plus, Draw Plus, or Photoshop can add all kinds of colour effects to standard monochrome truetype fonts.

Well, a person skilled in the art of using those packages can add some colour effects to displays which started off being produced by standard monochrome TrueType fonts, yet some of those effects are not on text as such but on graphics produced from text. Once one starts printing hard copy output or wanting to put the graphic into a pdf there could be problems. Chromatic fonts would be usable as fonts, so could be embedded in pdf documents.

> Chromatic fonts are not needed, and are a very labour intensive way of producing coloured text.

Well, I would like the chance to have a desktop publishing program which could use chromatic fonts, such as a holly decoration font where the letters each have green holly with red berries on them and one can select the colour of the letter as well, with a default colour of blue, all at a reasonable price, with some chromatic fonts included on the CD together with various monochrome fonts. I cannot say that it is a need as such, though many things are not needs. A series of advertisements on CNN some years ago carried the message "Advertising, your right to choose" and one of the advertisements was about instant coffee and made the point that people don't need it, they just like to have it and advertising helps them know what is available.

I suggest that if chromatic font technology is implemented and the price is reasonable then it will be widely used. People are very enthusiastic about OpenType technology and yet the prices for fonts are fairly high compared with TrueType technology and software packages which can use OpenType fonts are expensive. If the price drops and most packages handle OpenType then I think that ligatures and swash capitals will be widely used.

Labour intensive for whom? Certainly not for someone who could produce the effect on page 1 of my mosaic3.PDF document just by keying the text. So the work is for the programmers making the fontmaking software, for the font designers and for the programmers producing the desktop publishing software. That is what people do, work to produce results.

William
Last edited by William on Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

William
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Post by William » Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:43 pm

I just used Print Screen to copy your WHY BOTHER? ornate letters into Microsoft Paint and then, using 8x magnification, coloured the left flower of the Y with red centre, yellow petals and a green stem and leaves and then, using 1x magnification, viewed the result. Wow! And that is just one part of one letter! If the whole font did that automatically when keying it would be magnificent.

William

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Post by pwillard » Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:12 pm

The kind of work I do with fonts would be greatly enhanced if I could encode color... which us what I believe we are discussing.

If you look at some of my examples here:

http://www.railsimstuff.com/fonts1.php

You will see that I rely on using multiple glyphs for multi color "image characters".

Image

If this could be changed in the future to be part of the font spec... I'd be really impressed.
Pete

William
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Post by William » Thu May 17, 2007 10:37 am

There is the following thread about Chromatic Fonts Month.

viewtopic.php?t=1469

That was for July 2006.

Shall we try to have another Chromatic Fonts Month in July 2007?

Chromatic Fonts Month provides an opportunity to think about and discuss the possibilities for chromatic fonts and maybe make progress towards implementing chromatic font technology.

Views are sought please.

William Overington

17 May 2007

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