Adding Ligatures in place of Kerning.

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PJMiller
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Adding Ligatures in place of Kerning.

Post by PJMiller » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:53 pm

Many programs don't support Kerning.

Most word processors do but not all of them, when it comes to other programs whose primary purpose is not to accurately render text then the chances of it using the kerning information embedded in the font goes down considerably. Programs like ConnectedText, MyInfo and Ultra Recall do not kern.

Even some programs which really ought to kern don't, Inkscape for example.

For some of these programs it might be possible to put ligatures into the font to correctly render kerned characters, like T e being replaced by composite 'Te' ligature for example.

The only problem is that the sort of program which doesn't kern is also likely not to support ligatures either.

Just a thought.

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Re: Adding Ligatures in place of Kerning.

Post by MikeW » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:12 pm

I like thought. I express it all the time ;-)

I do not believe it is our job in general to make up for any application's lack of abilities. I do make exceptions for certain OT features. For instance, InDesign cannot turn on hlig without scripting. So I do the same lookups for hlig in a stylistic set. There are similar other work-arounds I also do, though I try to keep them at a minimum.

Kerning would be one area I would not do so. If one designs a font with careful attention to side bearings there can be a minimum amount of kerning required for at least the lc/lc matching. In your example of the /T and, well, any x-height tall lc, I could care less if certain applications can kern them. It's not my target audience.

Mike

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Re: Adding Ligatures in place of Kerning.

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:27 pm

I add some standard ligatures for ky, tt, tty, tr, ttr, fr, ffr, etc., but not for uppercase-lowercase, Qu and Th are discretionary ligatures.
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Re: Adding Ligatures in place of Kerning.

Post by PJMiller » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:01 pm

MikeW wrote:I like thought. I express it all the time ;-)

I do not believe it is our job in general to make up for any application's lack of abilities.
Isn't the point to try to make a font which works as well as possible for the maximum number of people ? ... and if that means using Contextual ligatures inappropriately so that they work with Microsoft Word then so be it.

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Re: Adding Ligatures in place of Kerning.

Post by MikeW » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:26 am

PJMiller wrote:
MikeW wrote:I like thought. I express it all the time ;-) I do not believe it is our job in general to make up for any application's lack of abilities.
Isn't the point to try to make a font which works as well as possible for the maximum number of people ? ... and if that means using Contextual ligatures inappropriately so that they work with Microsoft Word then so be it.
I did write, in general...and did mention a type of work-around I do, yes?

I may occasionally even mis-use things like init, medi and fina for western connected scripts, even if it can be annoying to users in an application such as Affinity Draw where they follow the tag registry change explicitly (i.e., they are on by default).

What I wrote I wouldn't do is fake kerning by the use of ligatures. And I certainly wouldn't stick non-standard (expected) ligatures into the lig feature just so some off-beat application can appear to utilize kerning. Because what then happens when the fonts are used in proper applications? All these lig subs happen that are unexpected when the lig feature is activated.

I could care less if an application doesn't support the very most basic of font technology: kerning. And like you wrote, if they don't support kerning then likely they don't support ligs anyway. So that makes the examples kinda moot, doesn't it?

There are applications that can make use of TT fonts with kerning tables. But not TT flavor of OTFs with OT kerning nor even if both kerning schemes are included in the same font. If this is more than just theoretical in applications such as those you listed, and if you haven't tried yet, export a pure TTF with kerning tables.

Mike

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Re: Adding Ligatures in place of Kerning.

Post by PJMiller » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:32 am

I'm sorry, my comments were not meant as a criticism.

Yes I experimented with these ligatures and the applications I mentioned above didn't do ligatures either. They didn't even kern with a legacy kern table.

Oh well ...

It was worth a try.

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Re: Adding Ligatures in place of Kerning.

Post by William » Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:48 pm

Well, if you are simply trying to produce a good display so as to produce a graphic or a print out, you could try mapping the ligature glyph directly to a Private Use Area code point in the font and then inserting the ligature into the application using an Insert Symbol facility or even getting the code point into WordPad using an Alt code and then using copy and paste from WordPad to your chosen application program.

I hope that this helps.

William Overington

Monday 27 February 2017

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Re: Adding Ligatures in place of Kerning.

Post by PJMiller » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:49 pm

Actually I just wanted to type the text and have it displayed well.

Putting in all the ligatures by hand would be a real pain.

The problem is the difference between applications which handle information well but don't support open type features and those that display text well with all the bells and whistles but don't process information well. I suppose you can't have both ... oh well.

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Re: Adding Ligatures in place of Kerning.

Post by William » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:27 am

> Putting in all the ligatures by hand would be a real pain.

Well, yes maybe, if there are a lot of them, but if time is not critical and the end result is desired, then maybe producing the end result is worth the extra effort.

One possibility is to produce a PDF (Portable Document Format) document that has the ligatures in the document. Then it is a matter of copy and paste from that PDF document whenever a ligature is needed.

If using that technique I found that for some reason that I do not understand one needs, at least with the system that I used, to have in the PDF document, possibly before the ligatures occur, some text from the 7-bit ASCII range: I found that otherwise copy and paste would not work properly.

Here is a link to an example of such a PDF document.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/t ... atures.pdf

The file is typecase_Chronicle_Text_golden_ligatures.pdf

William Overington

Tuesday 28 February 2017

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Re: Adding Ligatures in place of Kerning.

Post by PJMiller » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:46 pm

But this problem should not exist.

I am not a programmer but I sometimes wonder why some applications support Open Type features whilst others do not. Are Open Type features implemented in the application or in the operating system ? I thought they were implemented in the operating system, in which case all applications would render text correctly.

Are there different methods for rendering text some of which implement Open Type features whist others do not ?

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Re: Adding Ligatures in place of Kerning.

Post by MikeW » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:31 pm

The OS makes it possible for applications to query fonts as to the font construct and any features available. It is up to the applications to implement those features. I don't know about the MacOS, but in Windows there are at least two programmatic methods of both querying the OS and using/displaying fonts.

In days gone by, some applications had their own method of utilizing font resources. The only applications I am aware of these days that bypass the OS (both Windows and Mac OSs) are Adobe applications (I don't know about them all, but this at least applies to the main 3: ID, AI and PS). Adobe applications bypass the operating system's font subsystem altogether--which definitely has pluses and minuses. More pluses, but they can be finicky concerning fonts that appear to work fine in other applications but do not in Adobe applications (and ID is the most strict when it comes to fonts).

Mike

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