From Vector (e.g. an Adobe Illustrator image) to Font

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Erwin Denissen
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From Vector (e.g. an Adobe Illustrator image) to Font

Post by Erwin Denissen »

This article explains how to successfully import vector based images (e.g. EPS AI, PDF,) into FontCreator. If you are looking for tips about importing bitmap based images, then read this tutorial:
Import Images the Right Way (Size Does Matter!)

In vector based image editing software you can use all kinds of objects to create your images. Such objects can be paths, lines, shapes, text, etc. That's not it, as you can also apply specific strokes to each of these objects. These strokes control thickness, how segments join, and the appearance of both ends of an open path. There are numerous other capabilities like fill objects, gradients, etc.

FontCreator only extracts the bare paths, thus completely ignores the strokes, fills, etc. And since glyphs can only consist of closed contours, all open paths are automatically closed.

We could enhance the vector import to support strokes and even more, but this is very complex so we carefully have to decide which features to add in future versions of FontCreator. Fortunately most common vector graphics editors can convert strokes to paths/outlines that can be safely imported into FontCreator.

Here is a logo created with Adobe Illustrator. It contains four lines and a rectangle with two rounded corners and a gap at the lower right. All of these objects contain strokes to give them thickness.
logowithstrokes.png
logowithstrokes.png (4.54 KiB) Viewed 28644 times
When imported into FontCreator, the result is not as intended as the strokes are not imported, thus the thickness of the objects is stripped off. The lines are all discarded as contours with only two points are useless. The rectangle is imported but the gap is no longer there.
importedlogowithstrokes.png
importedlogowithstrokes.png (2.11 KiB) Viewed 28644 times
One easy step ensures our vector image can be safely imported into FontCreator. In Adobe Illustrator, select all objects, then from the main menu select Object -> Path -> Outline Stroke. The result is shown here:
logogood.png
logogood.png (4 KiB) Viewed 28645 times
When we import this version of the vector image the result is a perfect fit!
importedlogogood.png
importedlogogood.png (3.59 KiB) Viewed 28625 times
5 contours with 44 points is the final result.

Note: if after applying Outline Stroke in Illustrator the source image or imported image lacks quality or areas appear distorted, it might help if you resize the original image within Illustrator prior to applying Outline Stroke to ensure no details get lost/altered.
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Re: From Vector (e.g. an Adobe Illustrator image) to Font

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

Multiple selected images can be dragged from Windows Explorer and dropped into the FontCreator Overview. They will be imported in sequence, following the glyph they are dropped onto.

The screen shot illustrates how to drag and drop a full alphabet of images into FontCreator. PDF files will import as vectors. The import process will be many times faster than using bitmaps, and the resulting glyphs will generally have fewer nodes. The alphabet of 26 drop capitals took about 3 seconds to import.
Drag and Drop PDF.png
Drag and Drop PDF.png (23.08 KiB) Viewed 28458 times
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Re: From Vector (e.g. an Adobe Illustrator image) to Font

Post by algrass »

Bhikkhu showed this file:
The alphabet of 26 drop capitals took about 3 seconds to import.
Where is the source of this pdf file? I would be interested in viewing it to compare with some initials letters I have made. Is it available?
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Re: From Vector (e.g. an Adobe Illustrator image) to Font

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

I don't have the PDF files now. I am not even sure how I made them. Probably I opened the WMF in PagePlus and published to PDF from there.
Attachments
M.pdf
(9.95 KiB) Downloaded 830 times
A.pdf
(6.61 KiB) Downloaded 773 times
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Re: From Vector (e.g. an Adobe Illustrator image) to Font

Post by Erwin Denissen »

The PDF files contain outlines that look like smooth curves, but in fact the are made of short connected lines. So in my opinion this is not the best example, but it does convert correct and fast.

It would be better to have a PDF with true curves, to show how those are converted. I need to look for the original PDF used in my first post...
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Re: From Vector (e.g. an Adobe Illustrator image) to Font

Post by Erwin Denissen »

Here is the original Adobe Illustrator file I used. You can open it in Adobe Reader (drag-and-drop), and you can of course import it into FontCreator.
logogood.ai
(64.77 KiB) Downloaded 869 times
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Re: From Vector (e.g. an Adobe Illustrator image) to Font

Post by Erwin Denissen »

Usually the imported image needs to be scaled to fit into the visible area.

You can set a specific scale factor through the Options dialog.
fontcreator_options_glyph.png
fontcreator_options_glyph.png (14.72 KiB) Viewed 18598 times
Usually it is best to use a default scale factor, otherwise a dot (.) might become as large as an at sign (@).
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Re: From Vector (e.g. an Adobe Illustrator image) to Font

Post by 1940LaSalle »

I'm a retired engineer, so naturally I tend to use AutoCAD instead of, say, Adobe Illustrator to create glyphs and subsequently convert them to SVG files with another application. I noted that SVG files thus created need to have the glyph enlarged by dragging one of the corners of the imported image such that the size is correct.

Could someone please tell me what the units are of the grid in Font Creator? If I know that, I can set up AutoCAD files so that (theoretically!) there's a one-to-one correspondence between the Font Creator and AutoCAD grids, which should make life simpler. Thanks.
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Re: From Vector (e.g. an Adobe Illustrator image) to Font

Post by Erwin Denissen »

Actually more recent versions of FontCreator have improved way of exchanging vector based outlines.
exchange.png
exchange.png (38.23 KiB) Viewed 2658 times
The preferred values depend on the used document, and can be determined from within your external vector software. Do ensure that you measure the values while units are shown in pixels (px). The height of your image is usually a good value for Pixels per em.
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Re: From Vector (e.g. an Adobe Illustrator image) to Font

Post by 1940LaSalle »

Thanks; however, I'm not sure I understand. If I adjust the pixels per em, will that alter the size of the imported vector image correspondingly? In the final analysis, my goal is to have a situation where what I see in AutoCAD is what I get when the AutoCAD-generated / converted to SVG image is imported to FontCreator.

Is there some sort of documentation that will walk me through these options, assuming I know essentially nothing? Thanks.
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