Multiple images per character

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Dathadorne
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Multiple images per character

Post by Dathadorne » Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:48 pm

Does anyone know if it would be possible for the program to integrate multiple images per character, and then randomly select one live while one types? I'd like to make a font that looks like handwriting, without repeat images for the same characters in close proximity.

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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:11 am

Using OpenType glyph substitutions it would be possible to make different forms of the letter e (for example) follow on from different letters. It would not be possible AFAIK to make random glyphs appear. Only a few programs like InDesign support OpenType features, so it is a moot point whether it is worth adding OpenType features. It is not terribly difficult to do, but requires some patience.

See the FontCreator Tutorial section: Adding OpenType Features.

FontCreator cannot do it yet. I wonder if it is worth the development time to add GSUB support? Perhaps not until OpenOffice or other free or budget priced software supports OpenType.
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Re: Multiple images per character

Post by William » Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:57 am

Dathadorne wrote:Does anyone know if it would be possible for the program to integrate multiple images per character, and then randomly select one live while one types?
As far as I know, this facility is not presently available. The idea did get me thinking and I have started a new thread in the Specification Forum about the theory of the possibility. A new thread so as not to disrupt this present thread. In case anyone is interested in that discussion, here is the link to the new thread.

viewtopic.php?t=2216
Dathadorne wrote: I'd like to make a font that looks like handwriting, without repeat images for the same characters in close proximity.
It is possible, however, to do that with a specially made TrueType font and using one of some common applications, such as Microsoft WordPad. However, inserting an alternative glyph of the character would need to be done manually within WordPad and the way of doing it means that such things as spell checkers would not work with the text (though I think that WordPad does not have a spell checker, so no problem there!). However, if you are simply wanting to set text using a font and then producing a hardcopy printout or maybe a graphic file for the web then you can achieve good results: the process is strange yet that does not show in the results.

What one needs to do is to insert the alternative designs for glyphs in the Unicode Private Use Area.

For example, I have done that with a few alternative designs for a letter g in the following font.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/SONNETRL.TTF

The font has its own thread in the Gallery forum.

viewtopic.php?t=1476

The http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/SONNETRL.TTF file can be downloaded to local storage and then opened in FontCreator.

There are five alternative versions of the letter g in the font.

Please note that these are mapped at U+E421, U+E422, U+E423, U+E424 and U+E425. These are codepoints within the Unicode Private Use Area. I chose those codepoint values myself. Someone else could use those codepoints for something else if he or she chose to do so. That is in the rules of the Private Use Area, anyone may make a codepoint assignment, yet no one may claim exclusivity of a codepoint assignment. That may sound problematic, and it can be problematic at times, yet in many ways the system works well and allows many opportunities which would not otherwise be possible.

Installing the font on a local PC allows the following tests to take place within Microsoft WordPad.

First you need to know that the decimal equivalent values of the hexadecimal codepoint values E421, E422, E423, E424 and E425 are 58401, 58402, 58403, 58404 and 58405 respectively. These were calculated using Microsoft Calculator in View Scientific mode.

Please try typing the following, at 24 point.

testing
testin

Now hold down the Alt key, key 58405 on the number keys that are at the right of the keyboard and then release the Alt key. The fifth alternative g should appear.

If that test is repeated yet using the following text, the tail of that g clashes with the descender of the p.

Spring
Sprin

So, using Alt 58404 is better in that case as no clash then takes place.

I hope that this helps.

William Overington

10 April 2008

Erwin Denissen
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Re: Multiple images per character

Post by Erwin Denissen » Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:36 am

Dathadorne wrote:Does anyone know if it would be possible for the program to integrate multiple images per character, and then randomly select one live while one types? I'd like to make a font that looks like handwriting, without repeat images for the same characters in close proximity.
It is possible with OpenType features, as described by Thomas Phinney using contextual alternates. Some other people have used that idea as mentioned here:
http://www.typophile.com/node/19625

Here is a basic code sample:

Code: Select all

feature salt {
lookup rotate {
sub @set_1 @set_1’ by @set_2;
sub @set_2 @set_1’ by @set_3;
sub @set_3 @set_1’ by @set_4;
sub @set_4 @set_1’ by @set_5;
sub @set_5 @set_1’ by @set_1;
} rotate;
lookup rotate;
} salt;
There also seems to be a rand OpenType feature, but AFAIK that isn't supported by any word processing software. More information about OpenType feature support can be found here: OpenType Features - How Many Programs Support Them?

If you want to know how to add OpenType features with the OpenType Compiler developed by Rogier van Dalen, do follow this link:
viewtopic.php?t=2046

You can also use Microsoft VOLT to add OpenType layout features to your fonts.
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Re: Multiple images per character

Post by William » Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:56 am

Erwin Denissen wrote:More information about OpenType feature support can be found here: OpenType Features - How Many Programs Support Them?
In that thread I wrote as follows at one stage.
I have not been able to test it in InDesign though I have used the Proofing Tool in VOLT on a selection of the glyph substitutions.
Alas, that is still the situation.

Earlier in this present thread Bhikkhu Pesala wrote the following.
Only a few programs like InDesign support OpenType features, so it is a moot point whether it is worth adding OpenType features.
FontCreator cannot do it yet. I wonder if it is worth the development time to add GSUB support? Perhaps not until OpenOffice or other free or budget priced software supports OpenType.
I view the situation from a somewhat different standpoint, yet reaching similar conclusions. I would like to produce OpenType fonts for the satisfaction of being able to do it yet I am reluctant to proceed further because I cannot test whether the fonts which I produce work properly.

It seems a strange situation. I would quite like a basic wordprocessor program like WordPad, maybe with less features than WordPad in some ways, such as having no colours other than black and white, yet which can use a GSUB table in a font. That would enable me to test OpenType fonts in an application independent of the producing program and be able to make Print Screen image captures and then produce gif image files to show the features of the font.

In the meantime I try to do what I can, usually by adding glyphs for ligatures and adding glyphs for alternative forms into the Private Use Area of my fonts, thus making them accessible for use now in a non-OpenType way yet also having the artwork of the glyphs carefully stored ready for the possible time when OpenType-aware applications become available in budget software packages.

William Overington

10 April 2008

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Post by William » Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:55 pm

It occurs to me that as this thread starts as being about a handwriting font and then is partly about the Unicode Private Use Area that it might be useful to include in this thread a cross-reference to the following thread in the FontCreator Support Forum.

viewtopic.php?t=2204

William Overington

10 April 2008

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Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:33 pm

I thought computers were supposed to save us time. It would be quicker to use a pen and paper. :roll:
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Post by William » Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:56 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I thought computers were supposed to save us time. It would be quicker to use a pen and paper. :roll:
Thinking about that, I realized that I have never really thought of computers as being supposed to save people time, I have thought of computers as allowing people to do things that mostly would otherwise be impossible: or maybe effectively impossible due to the time that it would take. This view is probably due to the fact that my background in computing is in scientific computing with a good part of it being in analogue hybrid simulation computing.

I suppose that the two ways of thinking about computers overlap in some regards.

My interest in typography started with metal type. This perhaps influences the way that I like to have Private Use Area code points for glyphs for ligatures and for glyphs for alternative designs of characters. To me, it is as if each Private Use Area glyph is a piece of metal type in a type tray. Just as with metal type there can be an upper case for capitals and a lower case for small letters, there could be an extra case for extra pieces of type.

With glyphs for ligatures in OpenType font my understanding is that it is regarded as good practice not to have a Private Use Area code point associated with a ligature glyph or with an alternative design glyph, even though assignment of such a Private Use Area code point is, I am told, possible.

However, I feel that even if OpenType becomes widespread that it would be good still to make Private Use Area codepoint assignments for ligature glyphs and for alternative design glyphs, simply because it seems to me part of the art, as if the glyphs were pieces of metal type stored somewhere.

An interesting matter is that a glyph accessed by a Private Use Area codepoint, rather than by an OpenType rule within an OpenType font, is nearer in concept to metal type in that if a piece of metal type for a ligature were provided in a font then the meaning associated with the piece of metal type needs to be determined visually because the design on the piece of type is the only means of identification, there being no coding on the piece of type as to what is the meaning conveyed by the piece of type.

It occurs to me that maybe when adding glyphs in the Private Use Area that some form of documentation could be added within the font within the description section. Maybe this could be in a computer readable form by being encoded in a structured format within the description section of the Macintosh Roman platform of a TrueType font, that being because it would then be in a plain text format more easily accessible by a computer program.

If such a structured format could be devised and applied, then TrueType fonts could include information which could potentially be used so that automated conversion of a TrueType font to an OpenType font could be performed at some future time.

William Overington

11 April 2008

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Post by William » Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:04 am

Following my idea for a structured format in the previous post, I have started a new thread in the Specification Forum on that topic.

viewtopic.php?t=2218

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Post by William » Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:15 am

I have been having a look at the Arno font.

http://www.adobe.com/type/browser/landi ... /arno.html

Also, the following page has many links.

http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/type/search.cfm?term=Arno

One link (number 6) leads to the following page.

http://store1.adobe.com/cfusion/store/h ... NP10005010

On that page is a link to the following pdf.

http://store1.adobe.com/type/browser/pd ... egular.pdf

That pdf has a list of the glyph complement of the font, including various alternate forms for the end of words or maybe lines of text and including various ligatures. I noticed that there are two alternate ending versions of t.

Another link (number 22) from the http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/type/search.cfm?term=Arno page leads to the following page.

http://store1.adobe.com/cfusion/store/h ... NP10005310

On that page is a link to the following pdf.

http://store1.adobe.com/type/browser/pd ... Italic.pdf

That pdf has a list of the glyph complement of the font, including various alternate forms for the end of words or maybe lines of text and including various ligatures. There are also a number of swash alternate characters, some uppercase, some lowercase, some swash ligatures. There are four swash versions of lowercase d.

There are swash versions of capitals, including a set of swash capitals of the special characters of the Esperanto language.

I noticed also an ending version of the Esperanto ĥ character. Wow, that is a potentially very rare usage item, so rare as to inspire special interest.

Perhaps the inclusion of the ending version of the Esperanto ĥ character in the Arno Pro-Italic font will inspire the authorship of an Esperanto poem which could be set in Arno Pro-Italic so that the glyph can be seen in use. A situation of typography inspiring creative writing? Or does such a poem already exist?

----

Some readers might like this link to the Adobe OpenType User Guide document.

http://store1.adobe.com/type/browser/pdfs/OTGuide.pdf

William Overington

12 April 2008

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Post by Erwin Denissen » Sat Apr 12, 2008 8:11 am

:OT
I've closed this topic as the last posts are not relevant to the original post. Please try to contribute to the discussion, as the goal of this forum is to help others and to keep the information as easy to find as possible. Thanks.
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