3d glyphs

Discussions about the development of TrueType and OpenType fonts.
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William
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3d glyphs

Post by William » Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:02 am

If any glyph in an OpenType font could contain a 3d object then the COLR table could encode a 3d simulation.

For example, some cuboids and a few other opaque solids and a semi-transparent pyramid could encode a simplified, colourful, 3d model of the exterior of a famous art gallery, the Louvre in Paris.

More glyphs could be used to make a more detailed 3d model.

A colourful 3d simulation, possibly animated, could be encoded for an educational purpose.

I have been using the Serif ImpactPlus 5 program for some years.

One use was that I used it to make a virtual 3d model of a specially-shaped pasta piece, the idea being that that shape of pasta piece would only ever be made in gluten-free pasta, which would be a useful provenance check for people wanting to eat gluten-free pasta in a café or restaurant.

It seems to me that such a 3d model could become encoded within a font.

If implemented I feel that this idea could produce important, easy to use, educational 3d models expressed using vector graphics.

The 3d solids would be produced, one per glyph, in a font editor, by selecting a standard model with a standard set of x, y, z coordinates. The location of the points could then be altered if desired, perhaps by moving every point in the model by a fixed amount in some direction. The solid could then be coloured and its opacity set.

The specification would have a list of standard solids that could be used, each identified by an index number.

The specification would define each solid as a collection of triangles.

For example, solid number 1 could be a tetrahedron.

This could be defined as ABCD and triangles specified as ABC ABD ACD and BCD.

For example, solid number 2 could be a pyramid.

A pyramid could be defined as ABCDE with ABCD as the square base.

The triangles would include ABC and ACD so that if in font designing a font designer caused the four points of the base to become not all in the same plane, the rendering system would know how to render the model.

For example, solid number 3 could be a cuboid.

A cuboid could be defined as ABCDEFGH.

Each of the six rectangular surfaces would need the way that it could, if necessary, be regarded as two triangles defined in the specification.

An icosahedron would be fairly straightforward as it is constructed of triangles.

There could also be such items as a triangular prism, a triangular vase and so on.

I am wondering how would be the best way to encode the information for a 3d glyph in a new table in an OpenType font.

It seems to me that if there were a table for encoding 3d glyphs then that table could contain details of those glyphs that are 3d glyphs and then those glyphs could be referenced within a COLR table and be coloured using a CPAL table with no change to the structure of the COLR and CPAL tables.

Whether 3d glyphs will become part of fonts in this new incunabula age of printing and publishing is for the future.

The brilliance of the Microsoft invention of using multiple glyphs with just one colour per glyph to build up a mapped colourized glyph has opened up opportunities for many new possibilities that almost seem to just fall into place as potentially straightforwardly encodable within fonts; possibilities such as sounds, animation and colourized 3d models.

William Overington

18 September 2013

William
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Re: 3d glyphs

Post by William » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:44 am

I have been thinking further about this idea.

Previously I was thinking about having each glyph in the new table represent a particular type of solid.

For example, solid number 1 could be a tetrahedron.

Suppose that this were reworded as follows.

For example, item type number 1 could be a particular type of solid, a tetrahedron.

Then each glyph in the new table could represent either a particular type of solid, or an item of some other kind.

Then one could have the following.

Item type number 257 could be "an animation frame separator and frame timing software object".

Item type number 258 could be "an animation frame separator and wait for a key press software object".

So a 3d animation with, say, ten frames would include within it ten uses of a software object of item type 257.

Then item type 320 could possibly be used to control a 2d animation, as the glyph id could be included in the COLR table and the rendering system would find the glyph id within the new table.

There could be item types for controlling sound.

There could be item types to indicate to an application program a request to provide the end user with, for example, a pair of arrow controls so as to enable end user rotation of the 3d virtual scene on the screen.

William Overington

18 September 2013

Alfred
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Re: 3d glyphs

Post by Alfred » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:28 pm

William wrote:I have been using the Serif ImpactPlus 5 program for some years.

One use was that I used it to make a virtual 3d model of a specially-shaped pasta piece, the idea being that that shape of pasta piece would only ever be made in gluten-free pasta, which would be a useful provenance check for people wanting to eat gluten-free pasta in a café or restaurant.

It seems to me that such a 3d model could become encoded within a font.
That's an interesting idea, William, but I can't help wondering whether a 3D pasta shape (as distinct from an extruded 2D pasta shape) would ever be economically viable in practice. Gluten-free pasta already costs considerably more than durum wheat pasta, and I strongly suspect that the machinery required for the manufacture of your special shapes would be prohibitively expensive. However, 3D printers are now becoming affordable, so who knows what may happen in the world of food manufacturing?
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William
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Re: 3d glyphs

Post by William » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:11 am

Thank you for posting.
Alfred wrote:That's an interesting idea, William, but I can't help wondering whether a 3D pasta shape (as distinct from an extruded 2D pasta shape) would ever be economically viable in practice.
Thank you.

Actually the shape that I have used in an illustration in a pdf, using an illustration produced by exporting a png from Serif ImpactPlus 5, is a 3d shape that is an extruded 2d shape.

viewtopic.php?p=13721#p13721
Alfred wrote: Gluten-free pasta already costs considerably more than durum wheat pasta, and I strongly suspect that the machinery required for the manufacture of your special shapes would be prohibitively expensive. However, 3D printers are now becoming affordable, so who knows what may happen in the world of food manufacturing?
I worked out that it would need a special bronze die to be used in an ordinary pasta-making machine.

I used Serif ImpactPlus 5 to produce a concept illustration.

viewtopic.php?p=13791#p13791

I have really enjoyed building 3d models in ImpactPlus 5. However, although one can rotate the model in ImpactPlus one cannot export a model that an end user can rotate.

I suppose that I am wanting something like the combination of ImpactPlus, Google Street view, vector graphics, animation sequences at times, end user interaction and then telecommunication of all that using plain text and a colour font.

It seems quite a lot to want but I wonder how far off that would really be if 3d glyph capability is added to OpenType. .

William Overington

20 September 2013

William
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Re: 3d glyphs

Post by William » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:15 am

William wrote:Thank you for posting.
Alfred wrote:That's an interesting idea, William, but I can't help wondering whether a 3D pasta shape (as distinct from an extruded 2D pasta shape) would ever be economically viable in practice.
Thank you.

Actually the shape that I have used in an illustration in a pdf, using an illustration produced by exporting a png from Serif ImpactPlus 5, is a 3d shape that is an extruded 2d shape.

viewtopic.php?p=13721#p13721
Alfred wrote: Gluten-free pasta already costs considerably more than durum wheat pasta, and I strongly suspect that the machinery required for the manufacture of your special shapes would be prohibitively expensive. However, 3D printers are now becoming affordable, so who knows what may happen in the world of food manufacturing?
I worked out that it would need a special bronze die to be used in an ordinary pasta-making machine.

I used Serif ImpactPlus 5 to produce a concept illustration, using a to-the-purpose-specially-made font made using FontCreator.

viewtopic.php?p=13791#p13791

I have really enjoyed building 3d models in ImpactPlus 5. However, although one can rotate the model in ImpactPlus one cannot export a model that an end user can rotate.

I suppose that I am wanting something like the combination of ImpactPlus, Google Street view, vector graphics, animation sequences at times, end user interaction and then telecommunication of all that using plain text and a colour font.

It seems quite a lot to want but I wonder how far off that would really be if 3d glyph capability is added to OpenType. .

William Overington

20 September 2013

Alfred
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Re: 3d glyphs

Post by Alfred » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:38 pm

William wrote:Actually the shape that I have used in an illustration in a pdf, using an illustration produced by exporting a png from Serif ImpactPlus 5, is a 3d shape that is an extruded 2d shape.
If it's an extruded 2D shape, a 2D font already contains all the information you need apart from the depth. You can create 3D text objects of this type with Xara 3D (now called Xara 3D Maker) or via the 'Instant 3D' feature in several Serif products.
William wrote:I have really enjoyed building 3d models in ImpactPlus 5. However, although one can rotate the model in ImpactPlus one cannot export a model that an end user can rotate.
You might like to take a look at 3DBin.
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