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New tutorial - My First Font

Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:42 am
by Erwin Denissen
Here is a new tutorial; very useful when you want to make a font based on your own handwriting.

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:24 am
by William
Early on Friday evening just over a week ago I downloaded copies of the eight webpages of the tutorial and a copy of the characterset.doc file to local hard disc storage.

At various times during this week I have been trying part of the tutorial and wonder if some readers might like to know of what has developed.

There is a scanner here yet it was not set up and, since my wish was primarily to do the part using Font Creator 5.0, I decided to produce a graphics file by displaying the characterset.doc file, then using Print Screen and copy and paste and using Microsoft Paint so as to produce a bmp file as a template for doing some drawing manually so as to produce a bmp file with the cells provided from characterset.doc and some of my own drawing. This would be the usual 96 pixels per inch, so rather less detailed than a scanner might provide, yet I hoped that this would be adequate in order to learn the techniques explained in the tutorial.

I opened the characterset.doc file using Word 97, though as that is a premium product I decided to try to open the file using WordPad as I like computing to be as accessible as possible to people who do not have the advantage of having a premium product such as Word 97 available. I could not open the file using WordPad on this Windows 98 machine.

Word 97 opened the file at 88% magnification, but I reset that to 100% before doing the Print Screen process.

Anyway, I made template.bmp as a bmp file 652 pixels wide and 855 pixels high, which includes a 2 pixel margin around the edges. This took a while.

I found, by looking at template.bmp at 8x magnification in Microsoft Paint and counting by temporarily adding red pixels, that the top of capitals to top of x height was 11 pixels and the top of x height to the bottom of x height was 23 pixels. So I set guidelines in Font Creator 5.0 to be at y=1536 font units and y=1024 font units as guides for scaling glyphs after scanning. I did not stick to them totally, yet found that having guidelines spaced apart in almost the same ratios as in the bmp file most helpful.

Anyway, I then made a copy of template.bmp so that I could use the template again for another project later without having to spend a long time making a basic sheet again and then produced calligrapher.bmp as a copy of template.bmp. I then tried, using the Brush tool in Paint at 1x magnification, using the medium size round brush, which is the middle one in the top row of the selection panel for the Brush tool, to produce the artwork for the font.

I decided that I would try to produce, within the limits of the experiment and by suspending my disbelief in the manner of creative writing, a font in the style of renaissance calligraphy.

I then used this to produce the font Calligrapher 001 which has 52 letters and a full stop and a long s in the at position, on Tuesday. Calligrapher 002 was produced on Wednesday, completing the characters needed for font viewer, redesigning the full stop and adding a few other characters, ampersand, hyphen and e acute.

The font looks as one might reasonably expect the results of such an experiment to look when viewed using fontviewer: namely there is a font, it looks like handwriting and it looks not excellent, though not awful, yet the learning of some of the techniques in the tutorial has been achieved.

However, when I tried using the font to produce a pdf document using Serif PagePlus 9.04 the results for a page of text set in 24 point when viewed using the Adobe Acrobat viewer (version 5.0) were, in my opinion, amazingly good. I tried a Print Screen and viewed the result in Paint at 8x magnification and the smoothing effect has been applied and that has clearly made the font, which had looked like the result of an experiment when viewed directly and unsmoothed, look much better.

I have now started to try to produce a precise version of such a design , though whether that will lose some of the handwritten look of Calligrapher 002 is something of which I hope to learn.

I enjoyed the tutorial and feel that I have learned a lot from it.

William Overington

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:30 am
by Erwin Denissen

Great to see the tutorial is in use.

Although you probably won't need it anymore, the template is now available as a PDF:

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 10:49 am
by Heian-794
I was reading the tutorial myself; it's great! I printed out the template too.

When I first attempted to make a handwriting font using Softy, I wrote all the characters I needed on graph paper, which works fine, but doesn't have the guidelines for x-height and descenders that this template has. Very useful.

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:13 pm
by William
I have just added onto the web a pdf document which I produced this morning. ... est002.PDF

It is available from a link in the following web page.

The document contains some text, mostly in 24 point, and a test of some Calligrapher Ornaments which are encoded in a new font which I produced this morning, using the skills learned from the tutorial. All except one of the present items of the Calligrapher Ornaments font are used. The other item is a monochrome version of the tree design.


Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:10 pm
by William
I have earlier this evening uploaded to the web a later version of the calligraphertest002.PDF document.

The new version contains more text than before, using the same font.


Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 1:18 pm
by William
An interesting optional adaptation to the tutorial could be as follows.

When drawing out the alphabet, instead of just drawing the letters, try drawing some of them with accents. This means that the accents are drawn to a correct scaling and positioning. Once imported into Font Creator 5.0 the accent part and the letter part can be separated and used for producing composite glyphs if so desired.

I suggest the following as a useful selection.

a grave
c circumflex
e acute
n tilde
o diaeresis
u breve
s caron
y macron

The letters can be found in the following documents.

The following documents are also of use if using Latin script.

All of them are available for download from the following web page.

I have found that it is, in my own experience, best to draw out the whole font at one session even if that means that some of the less than common characters, such as AE and ae, are left for a while as regards entering into Font Creator 5.0. This seems to keep the same style more easily than if trying to add a few characters later when needed.

William Overington