Smallcaps suggestions?

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Psymon
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Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Psymon » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:19 am

I'm pluggin' away at my historical roman/italic font here, and it occurred to me that it would be nice to have a set of "real" smallcaps for the roman font. I seemed to recall that there were codepoints for that (I think I came across them by chance one day, months ago) and so I started googling a bit on the subject. It would seem that indeed there are, but according to this Wikipedia page on the subject, for some weird reason they didn't include slots for the Q and X characters. Strange.

So that has me thinking that I might be better off doing up my smallcaps as an entirely separate font (with the alphabet included in their regular slots).

Any thoughts on that, what the advantages/disadvantages are for whether to include smallcaps within one's "regular" font, or whether to do them up as a completely separate font? I'm leaning toward the latter -- if only for the above reason (missing two characters!), but also that I have a feeling that as a separate font it might be more user-friendly for people without software that can make use of OT features.

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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:22 am

Unicode Small Capitals are Phonetic Extensions and should not be used for Typographical Small Capitals.

The Complete Composites and Glyph Transform features in FontCreator generate small capitals in the Private Use Area, which is where they belong.

Also consider that your font may need Small/Petite Capitals for àèìòù etc.

A separate font for applications that don't support Small Capitals features may be best for some users. I prefer to include both small and petite capitals in a single font. It makes editing easier. LibreOffice now supports such OT features.

The Glyph Transform scripts will give you a head start, but depending on the typeface there may be a lot of manual editing required. Experiment with different values in the script to get the desired height, width proportion, and weight before going on the manual editing.

Petite Capitals are x-height small capitals. Small Capitals are between 70-80% of the regular caps height.
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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Psymon » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:11 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:22 am
Unicode Small Capitals are Phonetic Extensions and should not be used for Typographical Small Capitals.
Ah, okay, didn't realize that.
The Complete Composites and Glyph Transform features in FontCreator generate small capitals in the Private Use Area, which is where they belong.
Oh, cool! I didn't realize there was an automated way to create these -- that's great! That'll certainly simplify certain things, for sure.

I haven't done anything with this yet, but if only to confirm that I knew where to go look for it when I do, I found the script for creating that (or those, rather). I see that there's both a "Small Capitals Private Use" script and another for just "Small Capitals" -- what's the difference?
Also consider that your font may need Small/Petite Capitals for àèìòù etc.
10-4.
A separate font for applications that don't support Small Capitals features may be best for some users. I prefer to include both small and petite capitals in a single font. It makes editing easier. LibreOffice now supports such OT features.
I've been googling a bit on this subject today, and it seems that there's quite a bit of differences of opinion on small caps vs petite caps -- some prefer one, while others prefer the other (and some people like to use both!) -- and also over whether to include them within the font or provide them as a separate font. And apparently there are font sets out there where they do both -- provide them as an OT feature within the font, and also as a separate font for people who can't use those features.

And so while I've been sitting here debating whether to even bother with doing up a small (or petite) caps version of my font at all, now this has me also considering whether to do both! AND with both petite AND small caps!

I'm totally undecided whether to even bother doing this at all for my font, but in the meantime thanks, as always, for your help, Bhikkhu! :)

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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:34 pm

Psymon wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:11 pm
I see that there's both a "Small Capitals Private Use" script and another for just "Small Capitals" -- what's the difference?
Read the Comments section(s) for each script to see how they were designed to work. If they don't suit your needs, they can be edited, or you can create your own scripts from scratch, and save them in the Transform folder.
Small Capitals
This script scales the selected glyphs to about 80%. Before running it you need to copy the uppercase glyphs to the lowercase glyphs and select them. For fonts with lowercase AND Small Capitals use the Private Use Area scripts.
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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:37 pm

Psymon wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:11 pm
I see that there's both a "Small Capitals Private Use" script and another for just "Small Capitals" -- what's the difference?
Read the Comments section(s) for each script to see how they were designed to work. If they don't suit your needs, they can be edited, or you can create your own scripts from scratch, and save them in the Transform folder.
Small Capitals
This script scales the selected glyphs to about 80%. Before running it you need to copy the uppercase glyphs to the lowercase glyphs and select them. For fonts with lowercase AND Small Capitals use the Private Use Area scripts.
Psymon wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:11 pm
'm totally undecided whether to even bother doing this at all for my font, but in the meantime thanks, as always, for your help, Bhikkhu!
Play with the scripts a bit, to gauge how much work is involved. Think long and hard whether it is really worth doing for your fonts before committing to doing it. It is a lot of work to do properly. Kerning pairs are also needed, as well as Extended Latin Glyphs.
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Psymon
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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Psymon » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:08 pm

Oh, okay -- I've never really used those scripts much before, so this will be a little learning experience for me, too. Thanks (once again)! :)

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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Psymon » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:29 am

Okay! I've made a whole set of petite caps, gone over each one individually and fixed up the accents and anything else that needed attention, and now what? How do I "activate" them and make use of them? I'm clueless, and poking around all over the place seemed of no help. :(

Also, before trying to figure that out I thought I'd first get all my small caps done, too -- since I was already on a pretty good roll with that same task, after all -- but when I go to run that script (in the same font that I just made all my petite caps) it seems like nothing happens. I tried both of the small caps scripts, and the same thing happened -- nothing.

How do I go about getting both small and petite caps in the same font? :roll:

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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by PJMiller » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:58 am

You add the small caps/petite caps feature in open type designer then you add a single substitution look up table to each feature. Then you add the lower case letters and the small cap/petite cap substitutions to the table.

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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:43 am

Psymon wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:29 am
Also, before trying to figure that out I thought I'd first get all my small caps done, too -- since I was already on a pretty good roll with that same task, after all -- but when I go to run that script (in the same font that I just made all my petite caps) it seems like nothing happens.
The Petite Capitals and Small Capitals in the Private Use Area share the same code-points. I assume that most users will choose one or the other.

To add Small Capitals after Petite Capitals, use the "Unmapped Latin Small Capitals" script.
Unmapped Latin Small Capitals
This script will insert unmapped Latin glyphs for Small Capitals, and scale them to about 80% of CapHeight. Edit the Insert Glyphs command to add or remove glyphs. Edit the scale, bold, and move commands to adjust the size, weight, and baseline of the added glyphs.
The unmapped scripts rely on Glyph Names, not code-points. Petite Capitals can also be unmapped. The difference is that unmapped glyphs cannot usually be accessed by applications that do not support OpenType features. I say “usually,” because Serif PagePlus can do this by using the Glyph Index to insert unmapped glyphs or glyphs beyond the Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP) although it does also support OpenType features, which is the preferred method.

Using PUA code-points may have undesirable effects if the font in a document is later changed.
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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Psymon » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:20 pm

I feel so stupid, or maybe just too inexperienced and I've gotten myself in over my head here -- or maybe I'm just getting old and my brain simply isn't working as well as it used to -- but I find this all so confusing. I thought this would be fairly easy and straightforward (to add small/petite caps in) but now it seems so much more complicated and confusing. :(
PJMiller wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:58 am
You add the small caps/petite caps feature in open type designer then you add a single substitution look up table to each feature. Then you add the lower case letters and the small cap/petite cap substitutions to the table.
Okay... um... I open up the OTD, click the "+" sign, check off the "Single substitution" radio box, click "Finish"... and then I just add in all the various characters, basically in the same sort of way that I did, say, my lining figures (or my alt fractions or whatever else)?

Isn't there "something else" that I need to do, though, to that lookup? LIke, I know the lookup for small caps is supposed to be an "smcp" one (not sure about petite caps, but I'm guessing "ptcp" or something), but how do I make it that, so that it'll be recognized as that?

And if that didn't confuse me, I got even more confused with Bhikkhu's reply (and rest assured that's not your fault -- I'm blaming myself!)... :roll:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:43 am
The Petite Capitals and Small Capitals in the Private Use Area share the same code-points. I assume that most users will choose one or the other.
Um, I'm not sure that I quite grasp the "sharing code-points" thing, but in any case, perhaps on a related note, even if that's the case, when I ran that small caps script -- after running the petite caps script (and fixing up all the accents, etc.) -- then if it did insert those glyphs somewhere, where are they? Are they "invisible"? Like, my font now has 951 glyphs, and if I run that small caps script then my font still has 951 glyphs. :shock:
The unmapped scripts rely on Glyph Names, not code-points. Petite Capitals can also be unmapped. The difference is that unmapped glyphs cannot usually be accessed by applications that do not support OpenType features. I say “usually,” because Serif PagePlus can do this by using the Glyph Index to insert unmapped glyphs or glyphs beyond the Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP) although it does also support OpenType features, which is the preferred method.

Using PUA code-points may have undesirable effects if the font in a document is later changed.
More confusion here, too. I guess I don't want my small/petite caps to be unmpapped, then, because there's a LOT of people out there who can't make use of OT features, and I'd like for them to be able to access whatever glyphs they want.

I'm not sure what to do -- this all even has me thinking that perhaps the best way to go, and the simplest for both myself and the end user, might be to just do up my small/petite caps as a totally separate font (or two fonts).

I don't know -- I feel so stupid (or inexperienced) with all this. Is there a tutorial on this somewhere? I searched but couldn't find one.

Or perhaps a different way of putting it would be how would you guys go about doing this, adding in both small and petite caps to a font? Would you include them in the same font -- and how exactly would you go about that? -- or do them each as separate fonts on their own?

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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:46 pm

Psymon wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:20 pm
Okay... um... I open up the OTD, click the "+" sign, check off the "Single substitution" radio box, click "Finish"... and then I just add in all the various characters, basically in the same sort of way that I did, say, my lining figures (or my alt fractions or whatever else)?
If you already have a default script and some other features, you select the default script and add a Petite Caps (pcap) feature to that script. The feature needs a lookup, so you add the lookup to the feature. The lookup needs a table of glyph substitutions, so then you add those a = A.pcap etc.
Adding Petite Caps.png
Adding Petite Caps.png (52.2 KiB) Viewed 154 times
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:43 am
The Petite Capitals and Small Capitals in the Private Use Area share the same code-points. I assume that most users will choose one or the other.
As when using the Insert Characters dialogue, the Transform script cannot insert characters that already exist. It will just skip them and add nothing at all if they all exist already.

I use only applications (Serif apps), which do support OpenType features, so I add them all to one font. It is easier to manage edits and updates, and easier for users to install one set of four fonts, instead of two or three sets. If the Small Capitals are in separate fonts, every time they want to use them they have to switch fonts MANUALLY when OT features will do it AUTOMATICALLY. However, they have no choice if their favourite application does not support OpenType features.The only other way would be to insert individual glyphs from the PUA.

My own view is that it is best to encourage people to upgrade to better applications rather than trying to support legacy applications forever. PagePlus X5 added OpenType support in October 2010. PagePlus X9 is now at the end of the road, but it's only £20, so what incentive is there to use Word if they want good typography? Those who don't care won't use small caps anyway, they will just set Capitals in a smaller font size. It is all the same to them.
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Psymon
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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Psymon » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:34 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:46 pm
If you already have a default script and some other features, you select the default script and add a Petite Caps (pcap) feature to that script.
Ah, okay, I see what I did wrong before. I had selected the "Lookups" item in that menu, and then hit the "+" sign from there -- and then promptly got confused. ;)
The feature needs a lookup, so you add the lookup to the feature. The lookup needs a table of glyph substitutions, so then you add those a = A.pcap etc.
Okay, I'm doing this right now...

I right-click on "Default" in the list of scripts, choose "New Item," then under "Known Feature" I add "Petite Capitals" -- and what's "Petite Capitals From Capitals"? -- and then click "Finish."

Now I right-click on "PetiteCapitals1 (pcap)" in the list and again select "New Item"... and then what? Is this where I select "Single substitution" (as PJ mentioned)?

If I do that, then under "PetiteCapitals1 (pcap)" in the menu I have a new "SingleSubstitution1" item, not a "PetiteCapitals" item, like you have -- did you just change the name yourself? Or did I do something wrong here?
As when using the Insert Characters dialogue, the Transform script cannot insert characters that already exist. It will just skip them and add nothing at all if they all exist already.
Ah, okay. Now my universe makes sense again -- at least, that small corner of the universe. ;)
I use only applications (Serif apps), which do support OpenType features, so I add them all to one font. It is easier to manage edits and updates, and easier for users to install one set of four fonts, instead of two or three sets. If the Small Capitals are in separate fonts, every time they want to use them they have to switch fonts MANUALLY when OT features will do it AUTOMATICALLY. However, they have no choice if their favourite application does not support OpenType features.The only other way would be to insert individual glyphs from the PUA.

My own view is that it is best to encourage people to upgrade to better applications rather than trying to support legacy applications forever. PagePlus X5 added OpenType support in October 2010. PagePlus X9 is now at the end of the road, but it's only £20, so what incentive is there to use Word if they want good typography? Those who don't care won't use small caps anyway, they will just set Capitals in a smaller font size. It is all the same to them.
I totally agree with most of what you said there, except the bit about encouraging people to upgrade to better apps. I don't mean that you shouldn't encourage them to do so, but encouraging them is one thing -- expecting them to actually do it is another thing entirely. ;) If I learned anything from my years doing freelance web design, it's that you always design for the lowest common denominator -- at least, if that's what constitutes a part of your target audience. Nowadays, I think most web browsers update themselves automatically, but I remember years ago when it was a hopeless endeavour to try to get people "out there" to upgrade their browsers -- there'd be, like, whole companies and entire government departments, where every computer was using a browser that 2, 3, even 4 versions behind, and you just couldn't get them to get everyone to updgrade. And web browsers are free!

When it comes to design software, though, often that's VERY expensive -- and not everyone has money to throw around (I certainly don't), not to mention students and stuff. I don't want to design a font that can't be used by "anyone," even if the only way some of those people can make use of all the glyphs is in a kludgy sort of way. I did things the kludgy way for years -- heck, probably decades -- until I finally was able to afford Photoshop and stuff.

Anyway, just my 2 cents on that subject. :)

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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:03 pm

For details of OT features, bookmark the Microsoft Site:

Petite Capitals From Capitals

I rename everything to user-friendly names.
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Psymon
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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Psymon » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:15 am

10-4 -- I'm still confused, but 10-4. ;)

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Re: Smallcaps suggestions?

Post by Psymon » Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:12 am

Okay! I forget where we were at (or what my problem was before), but I've now got a bunch of small caps added into my regular (roman) font, with all the lookups working, etc., but then I found that I probably could use myself a separate small caps font, and so that's what I'm pretty much finishing up now.

But then I went to name it, and there I'm confused again. In there, there's checkboxes for bold and italic, but nothing for small caps, and I don't see any other place to specify that. Is there a way to have my small caps be part of the same font family?

I'm thinking of, like, in Photoshop (for example), when I'm using the type tool, I go and select the font I want to use, then there's a drop-down box to select "Regular" or "Italic" -- and I know I've seen other fonts where there's a whole bunch of options in there.

I just can't figure out how... assuming one can. :roll:

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