Getting my ducks in a row

Discuss FontCreator here, please do not post support requests, feature requests, or bug reports!
Post Reply
Psymon
Posts: 167
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Getting my ducks in a row

Post by Psymon » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:28 am

So here I am, plugging away at my font, occasionally discovering new ligs I need to make for it 'n' stuff, and now I have 235 (and counting!) glyphs in my PUA, over 100 of which are various ligatures.

When I look at them -- and, eventually, when anyone will look at my font (in charmap or whatever) -- what one sees is all those ligs not really in any order (like, some sort of alphabetic order) or anything. I know that there are some that I can't (or shouldn't) move around or anything -- like the fi, fl, etc. ligs -- but for all those others that aren't standard ligs, there's a part of me that thinks that once I'm sure that I've finished adding in all my ligs (and pretty much finished my font), perhaps it would be nice if I rearranged all those ligs into a nicer, more easy-to-find alphabetic order. I suppose this would be particularly handy if people don't have access to OT features in their software (and, hence, the lig lookups don't work) and they need to find whatever ligature their looking for to insert manually.

Is there, actually, any value in doing (re-doing) that in that way, basically for that latter purpose? Looking at other fonts that have lots of ligs, it seems that nobody really bothers with this -- but I should think that it could be a worthwhile endeavour, for the aforementioned reason.

Should I bother (eventually)?

Psymon
Posts: 167
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Getting my ducks in a row

Post by Psymon » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:55 am

Oh, it just occurred to me that if I was to do this -- i.e. put my various ligs into some nicer (more alphabetical) order -- I guess I would have to do that before I do all my kerning and stuff, otherwise I would screw everything up.

Right? Well, that throws a bit of a wrench into my thought here. Or is there a way that one could rearrange things AND not lose the kerning one has done -- like, to move around that info as well? When I wrote my original post, I was aware that I would have to re-do all my lig lookups, but that doesn't take too long too do, of course -- kerning is another story, though.

This is all just a thought, reflecting on what it's like trying to access those PUA glyphs in software that can't make use of OT features, and trying make that/those a little easier to sift through and find what character(s) you're looking for. :)

Psymon
Posts: 167
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Getting my ducks in a row

Post by Psymon » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:11 pm

Well, I suppose that in light of the lack of response to my query here, there isn't really an answer to this -- at least, I guess the only way to do what I was thinking would be to get one's ligs all nicely in order (alphabetical, or however one might want to arrange them) before you do your kerning and stuff. That's rather what I thought, but newbie/dummy that I am, it didn't hurt to ask. ;)

It does occur to me, however, that there's something that I might add to a wish-list for FC features -- although I can only imagine that it's probably far, far too complicated a thing to do...

You know how on Facebook (hopefully you're on Facebook) you can load up a whole bunch of photos to a new album, and then before you post the whole shebang you can first drag around the pics with your mouse into whatever order you'd like them to appear? That's my dream wish -- something like that, where you could pop up a little dialog box and then drag around the glyphs in your PUA and place them in whatever order you'd like, without losing any kerning or other lookups in the process, just changing the order that they appear.

Know what I mean? Like I said, I realize that's probably something rather complex to do (as far as software programming goes) -- but what do I know? That would be VERY cool, though, if one could do that! 8)

TypeSafe
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:31 pm
Location: Daly City, California

Re: Getting my ducks in a row

Post by TypeSafe » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:54 pm

You should be able to move the ligs up or down, in the 'Lookup' table.

Psymon
Posts: 167
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Getting my ducks in a row

Post by Psymon » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:19 pm

TypeSafe wrote:You should be able to move the ligs up or down, in the 'Lookup' table.
That's not what I mean. ;) Here's what I mean...

Imagine you're a designer, you like to make use of the extra ligs'n'stuff in fonts, but your software doesn't make use of OT features and so the ligs don't appear automatically, and so the only way to get them into your document is to insert them manually. To do that, one would probably use Windows charmap -- or, of course, MainType or some other similar software. Now, here's a screenshot of my font (the earlier version that's installed on my system, anyway -- not the latest FC project I'm still working on), as it appears in MainType, if someone were looking at the various ligs in my PUA in order to pick whichever ones they wanted to use...
Wickednesse - ligature order.jpg
Wickednesse - ligature order.jpg (200.56 KiB) Viewed 405 times
Basically, those ligs got added in, one-by-one, as I discovered a need to create them, but for the end user it would be so much easier if they were in an order -- basically alphabetical -- that was easier to sift through in order to find the glyph(s) they want.

Don't ya think so? I'm just thinking that if -- while I'm designing a font -- I could drag my PUA glyphs around and put them into a better order, then it would make it nicer and easier for the end user in certain contexts (especially where they have software limitations -- like no OT feature capability) and need to find a particular ligature (or alt character or whatever) "manually."

Hope I explained that a little better -- and, as I said, I do understand if it's impossible, or just far-too-advanced a feature, to really incorporate. But it's a thought. :)

TypeSafe
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:31 pm
Location: Daly City, California

Re: Getting my ducks in a row

Post by TypeSafe » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:01 am

I looked at your example, and am impressed. Often, ligatures represent a form of typographical refinement. As far as having a large array readily available (on the keyboard), using 4 character unicodes will work in most word processors. In Windows, type the 4 unique characters, then holding the Alt key down, press x. The corresponding ligature should result. I'm not sure what the procedure is for MAC. The unicode for "fi" is FB01. There might be other ideas. I'll have to look into it. :D

Psymon
Posts: 167
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Getting my ducks in a row

Post by Psymon » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:20 am

Oh, thank you for your kind words, :) but from your reply I think perhaps I'm still not quite being clear what I meant. It's not how to insert whichever lig (manually -- not via OT features) that I was hoping to address here, but rather just the ability to find the correct ligature that you're looking for in the first place, or even just simply to browse through what all is there to choose from.

I've been interested in old-style fonts like this for a many years (if not decades) now, and before I had software that could make use of OT features -- indeed, even my current WordPerfect word processing software can't make use of them -- I would have to open up charmap (or whatever) and go looking for the lig that I wanted. And then I'd see SO many different ones, all mixed up, not in any order or anything, and I'd sit there looking... and looking... and looking, until fiiiiiiinally I found the right one that I was looking for. Sometimes it could be very frustrating! And with this font that I've been working on, I've got a whole ton of f-related ligs as well as a whole pile of longs-related ligs, which naturally all look very similar and it could be very frustrating trying to find the right one.

If only they'd be in alphabetic order, that would be so much easier! And that's all I'm trying to address here -- make things simpler and easier for the lowest-common-denominator users out there who may only have the most basic software (like just a word processor or something) to work with. :)

The only thing you confused me with a bit in your reply was this part...
TypeSafe wrote:In Windows, type the 4 unique characters, then holding the Alt key down, press x. The corresponding ligature should result. I'm not sure what the procedure is for MAC. The unicode for "fi" is FB01.
Huh? I know about holding down the Alt key and then hitting whichever numeric value to get your character, but I can't see how your method works. Like, you're saying type (for example) "FB01" and then hit Alt+x and that should give me the "fi" lig? Doesn't work -- I just end up with FB01 typed in there, and Alt+x seems to do nothing (I just tried it, just now, right here!). Perhaps I misunderstood your instructions?

TypeSafe
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:31 pm
Location: Daly City, California

Re: Getting my ducks in a row

Post by TypeSafe » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:15 am

I just trie what I have suggested. It worked in Office 365, in Word, But not Publisher. It didn't work in Adobe InDeign CS3. My InDesign CS3 is probably too old. It didn't work in WordPerfect X6. That's a fairly new program. I just now tried here, within the HiLogic venue, and it didn't work. I suggest the correct procedure, but it may not work on application which aren't programmed for unicode. I need to run a few more tests, and get back to you tomorrow. I'm in PDT (California). In the mean time, if you have Word 2010 or 2013, or Adobe InDesign CS6, it should work with those. Hope this helps. :D

Psymon
Posts: 167
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Getting my ducks in a row

Post by Psymon » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:26 am

Well, when I've had to manually insert PUA glyphs in the past, I never even bothered with that anyway. I could never remember the codes off-hand, and would have to go look up whichever character I was looking for either in charmap or MainType -- and if I'm in there anyway, then I might as well just copy/paste! ;) And I guess I'm thinking that that's probably what others would do, too, of course.

In any case, it was the other issue that I was hoping to address -- just being able to browse through those "extra" characters (ligs, alts) and more easily find what you're looking for, by having them in a nicer (alphabetical) order. :) And my query here was whether there's an easy way to get them in that nicer order while keeping your kerning AND/OR if perhaps the software developers might some day be able to implement a way to move things around (in a way perhaps like you can change the order of photos over on Facebook -- something like that).

Typewhisperer
Posts: 72
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:36 pm

Re: Getting my ducks in a row

Post by Typewhisperer » Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:58 pm

TypeSafe wrote:I just trie what I have suggested. It worked in Office 365, in Word, But not Publisher. It didn't work in Adobe InDeign CS3. My InDesign CS3 is probably too old. It didn't work in WordPerfect X6. That's a fairly new program. I just now tried here, within the HiLogic venue, and it didn't work. I suggest the correct procedure, but it may not work on application which aren't programmed for unicode. I need to run a few more tests, and get back to you tomorrow. I'm in PDT (California). In the mean time, if you have Word 2010 or 2013, or Adobe InDesign CS6, it should work with those. Hope this helps. :D
For what I can see, the reason why this seems to sometimes work, but most of the time not is that itʼs a feature you can/could retrofit by messing with the Registry. The idea was exactly as laid out above, that you can then insert ANY character in ANY Windows program/app by using said keyboard combination. I donʼt recall the exact procedure, but it involved creating a new key in one very specific entry, give it a certain value, etc·. I actually tried it on my system, but it didnʼt work. Must have been removed in newer versions of Windows.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests