RoboFont vs Glyphs…

RoboFont vs Glyphs… Who wins?
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  • It kind of like asking Linux vs Mac (whereby Fontlab is Windows). The target groups are completely different and each camp will convince you that their solution is the most efficient.
  • I am happy to see competition flourish so we are not held hostage on updates and bug fixes. May they both flourish!
  • It is not a match, Frederik and Georg (+ Rainer) are doing a great job.
    That is why I bought both apps, even I work in Glyphs only.
  • I also recommend using both
  • The winner is whichever program has the interface, workflow, and UI the suits your needs. And if you work with UFO files you don’t even need to choose.
  • Maybe the question needs to be rephrased.

    RoboFont vs Glyphs…

    Pros and cons?
  • Glyphs seems to be much more popular, in my subjective view based on knowing a lot of designers
  • RoboFont is more a platform than an app. The two aren't really that comparable.
  • When a user is trying to decide which one to buy, they should give both of them a trial run, compare the features, read any forums particular to the apps and see what types of problems others may have, then decide which one best suits them personally.
  • Important also to remember:

    €400 Robofont
    €300 Superpolator (which you'll want if you're doing interpolation)
    $250 Prepolator (which helps prepare files for interpolation
    $500 MetricsMachine (very useful for spacing work)

    €239,90 Glyphs App (which from my research seems to do most of the things one can do with the above tools pretty well)
  • “Glyphs seems to be much more popular”
    I suppose it depends on the folks you know. In my world it is much closer to 50/50, with many folks using elements of both.
  • …which from my research seems to do most of the things one can do with the above tools pretty well…
    No it doesn’t. Glyphs can’t do the extrapolation tricks or handle large numbers of masters the way Superpolator can. It does match up masters well, obviating the need for Prepolator for families that don’t require Superpolator, but for complex stuff Prepolator is still needed. And the Glyphs kerning tools aren’t remotely as sophisticated as Metrics Machine.

    That said, most users can get by without all the extra stuff. But those other tools are worth every penny when they are necessary.
  • Glyphs can’t do the extrapolation tricks [..] the way Superpolator can.
    Can you give an example what you mean by that?
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,638
    edited September 2014
    Can you give an example what you mean by that?
    With Superpolator I can have three masters on two axes and extrapolate a fourth master. For example, I can have Regular, Bold, and Regular Condensed fonts. From those I can extrapolate Bold Condensed. Obviously the bold condensed will be a mess, but it can be a good starting point on a design.

    Also, Superpolator supports a lot of axes and masters. Want weight, width, contrast, x-height, rounded corner radius, and stencil gap to be different axes? No problem. This can be useful if a design requires extensive prototyping.
  • The first half of what you describe works exactly the same in Glyphs.
    And in the beta of Glyphs 2 you can have three axis now and we are working on more.
  • Honest question - how do Glyphs users space without being able to see the metrics coordinates for other glyphs? Or without a metrics window for that matter?
  • The first half of what you describe works exactly the same in Glyphs.
    Ah, I thought Glyphs had to have a master at each end of an axis. That’s good to know!
  • For example, I can have Regular, Bold, and Regular Condensed fonts. From those I can extrapolate Bold Condensed.
    Even FontLab can do that. Since at least version 3.0.
  • Honest question - how do Glyphs users space without being able to see the metrics coordinates for other glyphs? Or without a metrics window for that matter?
    Not sure if I'm misunderstanding you, but the editing window in which spacing is done can include the sidebearings and advance widths of all glyphs shown (the little gray numbers below in the "ono" and "non" example images here).
    Coming from FontLab, Glyphs feels more like a metrics window in which you can edit glyphs, rather than an editing window that's missing a spacing workspace.
  • Honest question - how do Glyphs users space without being able to see the metrics coordinates for other glyphs? Or without a metrics window for that matter?
    You can see it? It's a breeze to space in Glyphs!
  • No, I get how to space in Glyphs, I just find the visualization strange. I’m an equal opportunity software user and hold licenses for nearly everything but Glyphs. I’m impressed by the Glyphs MM drawing environment and wish RF had something similar, so maybe I’m trying to find an excuse to add it to my software collection :)
  • “Glyphs seems to be much more popular”
    I suppose it depends on the folks you know. In my world it is much closer to 50/50, with many folks using elements of both.
    'Your world' is full timers though, right?

    There are not many of them compared to all those graphic designers who do type design but aren't focused on type design full time. The austere (dutch? ;) culture of RoboFont isn't a good product-market fit for them, because even if you don't write any extensions yourself, it just takes too long to get up to speed with Mechanic and adding all the features you want one by one. I think for full timers you are right, taking time to learn RF and having both makes a lot of sense.

    But if you're not, Glyphs has a 'just works' and 'batteries included' approach - so its much more popular.
  • Dave's right — Glyphs is exceedingly beginner-friendly. I started in FontForge (groan) and outsourced the spacing and kerning for my first two fonts because I found the prospect so daunting. Ever since I switched to Glyphs, I find it's a breeze and almost happens on its own while I draw my glyphs.

    Why would I want to see the metrics coordinates of other glyphs when spacing, anyway? Numbers lie. You can only trust your eyes.
  • Christian: ‘Numbers lie. You can only trust your eyes.

    But what if the basis for the conditioning of your eyes at least partly finds its origin in numbers?

    image
  • Why would I want to see the metrics coordinates of other glyphs when spacing, anyway? Numbers lie. You can only trust your eyes.
    Screens aren’t all that trustworthy, either. I use my eyes to space, but I look often look at the numbers to figure out if something is wrong or just not rendering well. I should probably just buy a 4K display and a new Mac, tho.
  • It's nice that there is choice, sadly when you do something outside of the 'normal' field of type design (such as illustrative/ornamental fonts, detailed icon fonts, etc.) I found, while giving Glyphs/Robofont spins, they were unbearable slow when working on something a bit more intricate.

    A pity I have to be stuck working with Fontlab if I want something over a minimum of 1k points!
  • ~1000 nodes per glyph and Glyphs is slow? Can I see that file?

    I am currently involved in a project with a similar point resolution in Glyphs, and the performance seems fine to me (and mind you, I am working an an Air). One reason why I would not want to do a project of such scale in FLS, is that FLS forces integer coordinates, which is not fine-grained enough for such a thing.
  • 1k doesn't run that bad, it's just that there is quite a difference (at least on my machine) in performance, especially in the 1.5k zone and higher (and yes, that's something I hit quite often even with min-maxing all beziers.)

    Just upgraded to a 2014 macbook pro, but on my 2008 model pace was (mostly) similar so I'm sure it's not a hardware related.

    But hey, if you stick to normal design, I found Glyphs extremely easy to use (while also adding all the depth you need) while Robofont looked extremely tailorable to your needs and easy to create your own workflow.
  • @ Frank: But what if the basis for the conditioning of your eyes at least partly finds its origin in numbers?
    I'm not saying that numbers always lie. ;o) And of course, I do use numbers to ensure the left sides of /B/H/K/P/R have the same sidebearing and the like.

    That's a nice kerning window you have there! Not many numbers on it, though... what are the thin verticals inside of the glyph boundaries? Perceived stem location?
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