Textured Type

I would like to add some texture to some of my existing brush fonts. I'm wondering how designers deal with the beziers in this case. It's a lot of points and finding things like overlaps and twists is almost impossible. The file size is also a big issue. Looking at some of the highly detailed and textured fonts that have been recently released, makes me wonder if these fonts might cause issues like crashing software, printer problems. Also, what's the best way to autotrace? Any tips or opinions? Thanks for any help!


  • Here's an example of what I'm working on. This is a close up of the points. What I've noticed is points on top of each other, shapes with only two points (I think 3 is the minimum isn't it?) and just outright wrong.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 584
    edited January 17
    You might have more luck working everything out at an extremely high UPM, doing whatever cleanup you need to do and scaling it back down to your target UPM. Trying to clean it up at a low UPM can be frustrating because you have to fight with the low resolution. When you're dealing with grunge details in low resolution, Bezier handles pop to unwanted angles or disappear. Close points overlap and general anger occurs. You'll still have to clean it up manually after scaling back down but it's not as bad.

    If you run the FontLab simplify filter on low resolution grunge, it can cause more problems that it solves. If you scale it up large enough, that cleanup filter can save you a lot of low-res bezier wrestling.

    As for the specks: beware of those 2 point shapes. You can't even leave one of those in your font or bad juju will occur.

    Specks are a pain and I'll often manually remove them but sometimes they're necessary. Sometimes I copy everything to the mask layer. Select everything that's not a speck, invert selection and delete. I create a couple of generic tiny circles, making sure that they're constructed in a way that allows them to be converted to TT curves with simple, single point curves. I use the mask layer as a guide and copy/paste hundreds of little round specks.

    Then there's the nuclear option: convert everything to straight lines and remove overlaps. This can work with textures that look harsh and crunchy like spraypaint or charcoal. Here's what I use at UPM 1000

    Add nodes: segment length 15, convert curve segments to straight lines
    remove overlap
    optimize: process normally, do not align
    remove overlap
    optimize: tolerant, do not align
    remove overlap
    contour direction PS or TT

    It tends to ruin things but with certain textures it can really pay off. You'll still have to inspect the resulting mess but at least you're not going to have any bad curves to deal with. OTF and TTF have different breaking points. OTF is tolerant of bad curves but hates massive numbers of points and TTF is the opposite.
  • Converting curves to straight lines might just work with what I'm working on. What I've decided to do is create an art brush with texture in illustrator. Shape the texture around the letters, then expand and minus front. I could create the brushes with straight lines only and weed out any 2 point shapes to begin with. Beziers with no arms would probably have less bytes, maybe? Thanks Ray! Oh! I saw your color font experiment, it's exciting!
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