Why can't you visually kern pairs?

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jedbadda
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Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:19 pm

Why can't you visually kern pairs?

Post by jedbadda » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:15 am

I'm in the Pair Adjustment dialog.

Have a list of Kerning Pairs on the left.

When I select one, there is an editable value under 'X-Advance' for the first letter. When I change that number, higher or lower, nothing happens to the letter pairs in either of the 'preview' windows.

When I hit 'Apply' or 'OK', still no difference.

Why can't I see a visual preview of what I'm doing to the Kern Pairs, instead of just entering random numbers and hoping it somehow works out? Or is this broken?

jedbadda
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:19 pm

Re: Why can't you visually kern pairs?

Post by jedbadda » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:29 am

Oh I think I see it now. You have to move a TON of numbers to see the letters move at all.

jedbadda
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Re: Why can't you visually kern pairs?

Post by jedbadda » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:38 am

Now I'm seeing a lot of the same pairs repeated in the same lookup, does anyone know why that is?

jedbadda
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Re: Why can't you visually kern pairs?

Post by jedbadda » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:01 am

Ok I see now that these must be different 'classes.' Where are all of these different classes coming from and how do I know which is being used when my font is in use?

Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Why can't you visually kern pairs?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:19 am

jedbadda wrote:Why can't I see a visual preview of what I'm doing to the Kern Pairs, instead of just entering random numbers and hoping it somehow works out? Or is this broken?
If the funits/em value of your font is higher than the usual 2048, the XAdvance value will have to change by tens or hundreds of funits to have much effect. Values between 10 and 300 are fairly typical for a font with 2048 funits/em.

You can drag the right glyph of the pair using the mouse.
Adjust Kerning Pairs.png
Adjust Kerning Pairs.png (36.21 KiB) Viewed 286 times
I find it easier to use the keyboard shortcuts: With the kerning pair in the list on the left selected, Left/Right change the XAdvance by 10 funits, Shift Left/Right by 100 funits, and Ctrl Left/Right by 1 funit.
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Why can't you visually kern pairs?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:22 am

jedbadda wrote:Ok I see now that these must be different 'classes.' Where are all of these different classes coming from and how do I know which is being used when my font is in use?
The kerning classes are generated by Autokern automatically. For large fonts, there may be far too many for comfort. You can see which are unused in the Class Manager, and Cleanup the unused classes with the brush icon.

I prefer to create my kerning classes manually. It is a lot more work in the short term, but it saves work in the long run.

The next version, FontCreator 11, will see some improvements in this area. They are definitely needed.
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jedbadda
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Re: Why can't you visually kern pairs?

Post by jedbadda » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:45 pm

When I do Autokern, it seems to be creating multiple classes for every kerning pair, do you know why this is? (I realize I may have ran AutoKern more than once. How would I remove all the Auto Kerning and start over?)

I don't know what to do with multiple classes for each pair, it means I have to make double the adjustments and I don't even know which one is applying to the final font.

As for saving time, isn't it better for the program to approximate/automate the kerning for you, and you can just go in and make adjustments as necessary instead of having to kern each pair yourself from scratch?

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Re: Why can't you visually kern pairs?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:02 pm

jedbadda wrote:When I do Autokern, it seems to be creating multiple classes for every kerning pair, do you know why this is?
Autokern should only be run once. If you need to edit the kerning pair adjustment lookup or the kerning classes, use the OpenType designer. You can clean up unused lookups and features in the OpenType designer, or clear the script entirely and start over if kerning is all that you have added.

The problem with a fully automated process is that it lacks any knowledge of text. It just looks at the shape of glyphs in creating the classes, then pairs each class with every other class, calculating the optimal spacing based on the glyph spacing factor input by the user.

Take a greatly simplified example of kerning A, Á, À, Ä, Ã, Ā, L, T, V, and W. FontCreator will probably create one kerning class for A, Á, À, Ä, Ã, and Ā, another for L, and one for T, and one more for V and W. It will then generate kerning pairs for each class with each other class. Four kerning classes and ten glyphs produces sixteen kerning adjustment pairs: AA, AL, AT, AV, LA, LL, LT, LV, TA, TL, TT, TV, VA, VL, VT, and VV. Multiple that by 6 in the A Class, and 2 in the VW class, and we have 192 kerning pairs already.

Doing it manually, I might create the same classes, but I will only kern those that I know will need it: AT, AV, LT, LV, TA, and VA. That is only six pairs x 6 x 2 = 72 kerning pairs.

Now, think what will happen, not with ten glyphs, but 2,000 glyphs! You will get a whole bunch of pairs that are not wanted, and have to be deleted.
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