Proofing Text Face

I'm curious if other designers early during the type design process (speaking specifically to text faces at small sizes) run a quick PS autohint before printing? (assuming basic stem weights and alignment zones have already been set) Do you find autohinting greatly effects the rendering at small text sizes, and therefore how you're gauging weights/density of your masters/interpolations?

Comments

  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,330
    Unless the font is a screen font I generally don’t use hints at all until the type is finished. This is mostly because I used to have a WinPrinter that deformed hinted curves, and even though it’s been dead for years, lesson learned.
  • I'm with James — I don't think about hinting much in the drawing process. I don't think I would want hinting affecting how I was gauging weights or density, but then again I don't make stuff exclusive to screens.
  • Indra KupferschmidIndra Kupferschmid Posts: 246
    edited August 2015
    I wish we could get Kris Sowersby to comment on this. He recently started to use epubs as an additional way to proof his type. Not very related to hinting as most of us probably have a reasonably high-res device or use one with iOS but I found it an interesting approach. 

    I’m no hinting expert and haven’t proofed my own new type since the days of shitty low-res laser printers but generally hints do have an effect on output on there. The type often bounced around and had the typical uneven stem-thicknesses, thus everyone was making high-res output lithfilms to really evaluate their fonts. With a good 1200 dpi (PS) laser printer probably not an issue anymore.
  • Benedikt BramböckBenedikt Bramböck Posts: 23
    edited August 2015
    From a very early stage in designing a text face you also deal with the general color of the weight, therefore knowing how hinting helps/affects your design is a very important step and part of the “design” itself.
    The sooner you find out that your typeface is too light/dark, the better.

    Especially if you are designing for small sizes (what is small?) taking PS (auto)hinting into account is very important, everything else is just guesswork. Who knows, you might be trying to solve problems that are not really in your outlines and could easily be solved by some stem and blue values.
  • And second I would love to get Noe Blanco to comment on this, too. She gave a great talk at ATypI Barcelona about keeping hinting in mind while drawing type, and the things you can do to make it rendering easier. I would say it is a good thing to be aware of. Even if screens get better, we will be dealing with rendering issues for a long time still and hardly any typeface that gets published today will not be used on a screen at some point. 
  • Indra KupferschmidIndra Kupferschmid Posts: 246
    edited August 2015
    (Cross-posting with Benedikt, sorry.)
  • Thanks everyone. I'll have to do some experiments with and without on small sizes. I just recently ordered a 1200dpi Phaser with genuine Postscript support. (my previous Ricoh model wasn't cutting it at small sizes) I've heard it can produce results similar to offset, so it'll be interesting to see how the PS hinting effects color/weight.
  • That is definitely a good start. Also, do not forget to take other factors such as the toner density into account.
  • James ToddJames Todd Posts: 196
    I hint and draw at the same time as I find the two are very closely linked. At all stages in the design process I want to see the same result the user would see if the type were shipped that day.
  • I don't do any hinting until late in the process. I do draw with hinting in mind but I find that unless you have a great laser printer, you may be tricked by hinting and misjudge the drawing.
    I just recently ordered a 1200dpi Phaser with genuine Postscript support. (my previous Ricoh model wasn't cutting it at small sizes)
    I also have a Ricoh and am not happy with small sizes even though I have tried many toner density settings. I hope to hear how much difference the Phaser makes, Michael? I cannot afford one yet.

  • Michael JarboeMichael Jarboe Posts: 207
    edited August 2015
    I've never really focused on text fonts, but I'm slowly starting to create text versions of currently unreleased work. I've found PS hinting really seems to make the forms more crips and clear at small sizes, which from my eye, seems to be more true to the outlines. Stem values also can make a relatively significant difference in the overall density and color, which is interesting.

    I also have a Ricoh and am not happy with small sizes even though I have tried many toner density settings. I hope to hear how much difference the Phaser makes, Michael? I cannot afford one yet.

    I have a Ricoh 4310 which is limited to 600x600 and there is a big difference, you can see the resolution limitation as size decreases, outlines render much darker and more muddled. The Phaser 4510 really excels in comparison at 1200x1200, the clarity of proofs down to even 5pt is really good, although I can see where it lacks compared to offset.

    I'm trying to get some prints from one of the higher-end Xerox models that I remember from design/service bureau days, or some of the new ones capable of 2400x2400 so that I can gauge where the Phaser stands, make a mental note, and work accordingly.

    Also, the Phaser I did find was an older model, refurbished from what I believe is a reputable company, and it cost less than half of what a new model costs.

  • I have a Ricoh Afficio SP 6330 which is said to be 1200dpi.  I just wish it had an Adobe RIP--or that I could find a true Adobe software RIP to use.
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