ClearType hinting on a Mac

Searching both the Fontlab forum and Typedrawers, I couldn't find the answer to these questions, which leads me to believe I'm about to ask something I don't know enough about to even ask the right questions.

Anyway, about adjusting TrueType hinting on a Macintosh in FontLab V...

I've managed to avoid Windows in favor of Macs since, well, forever. I do have an old Dell laptop running XP that I use for testing website designs, but I rarely use it for anything but that.

A few web searches lead me to believe that more recent versions of Windows have ClearType turned on by default. Unfortunately, the Macintosh version of FontLab V does not have a hinting preview for ClearType, just grayscale and B&W for Windows, Macintosh and FreeType. 

So first question: how does one go about adjusting TrueType hinting for ClearType on a Macintosh? Is it something anyone actually does?

What is the grayscale Windows hinting even for? Does ClearType use this in any way? Grayscale hinting seems to make no difference on the old XP box I'm using for testing. I'm assuming B&W is largely irrelevant any longer in most situations, right?

Autohinting does a reasonably good job on a Mac. I know there are visual differences, between ClearType and OS X type rendering, but can I assume that autohinting works more or less equally well for both Mac and in Windows using ClearType rendering?

Final question: if I tweak the hinting in a few glyphs, then apply autohinting to the font, does it affect the manual hinting of those glyphs or is the autohinting implemented only on those glyphs with no manual hinting?

I'm quite prepared to be called stupid here, but a little insight on this subject would also be appreciated.  :/

Comments

  • The problem with any possible Cleartype preview on the Mac is that the different browsers have quite different rendering even on the same machine with the same display settings. So you always need to test on actual Windows possibly different versions of it. 

    I use VMWare for most of my testing and that works very well except that Firefox does not use DirectWrite because they connected it to the graphics card accelerated mode and doesn't work in VMWare.
  • Use a VM.
    Freetype’s instr interpreter has a different behavior from Windows’. For example, Windows disables DELTAs for non-touched points while Freetype does not.
  • > For example, Windows disables DELTAs for non-touched points while Freetype does not.

    FreeType will in 2.7.0 ;) It will also ignore instructions in the horizontal direction unless the font is a native ClearType font.

    So, uh, use a VM.
  • So, based on what you guys have said (thanks) installing Windows on my Mac would seem to be the best option. Given that the Mac version of FL doesn't have a ClearType preview, wouldn't this also suggest purchasing a Windows copy of FL (which is a bit extravagant just to see a ClearType preview)? The alternative seems to be constantly generating the font after a few tweaks, installing it in Windows, then testing it in Word or whatever.

    Am I missing something that might be a bit less cumbersome than this?
  • you can use VTT Visual TrueType for hinting?
  • attarattar Posts: 209
    > Given that the Mac version of FL doesn't have a ClearType preview, wouldn't this also suggest purchasing a Windows copy of FL (which is a bit extravagant just to see a ClearType preview)?

    FLVI has it.
  • > The alternative seems to be constantly generating the font after a few tweaks, installing it in Windows, then testing it in Word or whatever. 

    No, you export the font to a folder on your Mac, build a website that shows what you like to see (a waterfall will all glyphs) and then load that file form Windows in the virtual machine (you can share a mac folder with the VM). 
  • hi Cory, Mac does not use hinting at all.

    Black and White hinting is only for older Windows systems, such as XP. Thesedays, hinting can be targeted mostly at DirectWrite rendering. I have a series of posts on using the VTT Autohinter to hint fonts. you can find them here, beginning with Introducing VTT 6.10, with Autohinting, where you can find a link for the free download.
    https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/fontblog/

    depending on what type of hinting you want to do, and how far you want to take it, VTT can be a great start to add Autohinting, or you could use TTFAutohint, which also produces good results for DirectWrite rendering. 

     
  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 148
    edited August 2016
    @Georg Seifert: I installed a virtual Windows environment and built a web page to quickly test the fonts in Windows using a browser. It took the better part of this morning, but it works! 

    @Mike Duggan: Your explanations helped fill in some gaps. Until a few days ago, I had little idea that manually hinting TrueType was so involved. I knew it could be tedious, but it's seemed more akin to falling into a series of rabbit holes. Thank you!
Sign In or Register to comment.