Glyph Collector

During the first semester of the current school year, KABK-LetterStudio student Gábor Kerekes programmed a small nifty tool in the context of the ‘1001 ways to digitize type’ module, named Glyph Collector. The tool is meant for collecting multiple representations of glyphs from a scanned page, and for subsequently generating an average image.



How does it work? One has to select one glyph of each character that has to be converted, and to save the image to a folder. Next Glyph Collector will gather all characters for which it finds a reference and will put these per character in a folder. This makes it a great tool for researching historic prints IMHO. On top of that it optionally will generate average glyphs per character, based on all distilled variants. These glyphs can be used for further processing in an auto-tracing tool, for instance as a starting point for the development of a revival.



Glyph Collector is a standalone application for Mac OS X.9–10. For its inner workings, it relies on OpenCV (an open-source computer vision library) and it has all dependencies on board. It can be downloaded for free from this website, which also provides further information on the tool.

Enjoy!

Comments

  • Congrats Gábor and Frank! Very interesting tool.
  • Paul van der LaanPaul van der Laan Posts: 205
    edited May 2015
    Interesting tool indeed. Also thanks to Just van Rossum!

    http://glyphcollector.gaborkerekes.net/#acknowledge
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 527
    edited May 2015
    By the way Frank, are you aware of the PaRadiit project and the "Agora" & "Centro" tools?
    You may want to have a look, maybe you can join forces, or do some collaboration.
    https://sites.google.com/site/paradiitproject/home
    https://code.google.com/p/paradiit/wiki/AllSreenshots
  • Pablo, thanks for the links! I just had a brief look at the PaRADIIT project-tool and there is a very clear overlap in functionality. The starting point differs a bit though; Retro seems to focus on analysis, and GlyphCollector (the latest version has the word space removed) is above all meant as a designer’s tool. Hence the generation of the average glyphs plus the planned incorporated auto-tracing and direct conversion to a font. And GlyphCollector is available for Mac OS X, of course.

    That being said, the way things are organized in Retro is actually quite nice. And it certainly makes sense if Gábor contacts the people behind the PaRADIIT project, I reckon.
  • Thank you guys. And Pablo, thanks for suggesting PaRadiit. Their tools look way more sophisticated than what GlyphCollector does, but as Frank has said, they are also meant for different purposes.  The mechanism they use would be an overkill for the tasks that GlyphCollector aims to achieve. 

    Their way of visualizing the character clusters however, looks just like what I had in mind for a future release. It would be nice to have an interface that would show all instances of characters that were found in the supplied source scans, and would also allow one to exclude some of them from the calculation of averages ( some of the characters that get collected are way too distorted ). 

    Let me know if you guys have any suggestions for what further features would be useful to add.


  • Yes, the PaRadiit's tools are very complex and overkill for us.
    I love that your tools is super easy to use. Great work Gábor!
  • The link to GlyphCollector that I provided above seems to be broken. This one should work though. Currently Gábor is working on a new, enhanced, and more sophisticated version of GC.
  • Interesting! This may be a dumb question but can it cope with glyphs having different proportions? I'm working on digitising some designs but some of the glyphs are condensed and others expanded.
  • Hi Simon!
    I have not tested this use case, but I think it should be able to deal with it, as long as you supply references to match for both variants.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 527
    edited April 2017
    Currently Gábor is working on a new, enhanced, and more sophisticated version of GC.
    That looks pretty awesome!!! Would love to give it a try.
  • Thanks Gábor and Frank for this amazing tool. I spent a whole night to collect character [a] from only one page of a book (which means looking for the character, cropping, making 1000  layers in photoshop and aligning the results  :-(  ), now I'm using this tool which amazingly speeds up the process. Specially the fact that it generates an average image is just awesome. I didn't know life can be much easier. Thanks guys./
  • AbrahamLeeAbrahamLee Posts: 242
    I still think this is just as amazing as when it was first introduced here. Can't wait to see where you go with this!
  • That is awesome! I just become aware of this and I am definitely interested to test it.
  • I guess this is not only an interesting tool for revivals and font design, but also – or even more so? – for scholars who deal with old manuscripts and prints containing peculiar characters. In order to comprehend strange and special characters, it is important to review a field of instances and to make comparisons.
  • […] but also – or even more so? – for scholars who deal with old manuscripts and prints […]
    Yes, I totally agree. The research aspect was also strongly emphasized in Gábor’s application for the subsidy. After all, the development of GC started during Gábor’s research into form, structure, and patterning of Renaissance type (at the KABK LetterStudio). Also –already some years ago– I introduced GC as a research tool on the SHARP-L e-mail list.

    Furthermore, I am very much looking forward to applying the new GC (beta) version at the Typography Summer School (University of Antwerp) in the first week of September.
  • I guess this is not only an interesting tool for revivals and font design, but also – or even more so? – for scholars who deal with old manuscripts and prints containing peculiar characters. In order to comprehend strange and special characters, it is important to review a field of instances and to make comparisons.
    The new GUI will be much more handy for research. Initially, I thought of a design that would make both production of revivals and research more convenient, but I am now actually thinking there could be special views/modes/workspaces that would be optimized for each use case. I'll think about this a bit more.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 527
    Awesome news!!
    I may be wrong but on previous versions you assumed that we all have high-res scans of awesome quality of the manuscripts or drawing we are collecting.
    This is not my case, for example, wen doing revivals I work mostly from the .jp2 files available at https://archive.org For example I've trying to collects glyphs from the Trusler Types at https://archive.org/stream/poetryofnatureco00pott#page/4/mode/2up but it's almost imposiible to get something decent in such low resolution. I ended up having to redraw the entire thing and only using the base digitalization for the type proportions.

  • on previous versions you assumed that we all have high-res scans of awesome quality of the manuscripts or drawing we are collecting

    The program should work with small resolution images as well (although the accuracy of the matching algorithm might decrease). Having high-resolution sources is more of a recommendation to get best results, and is only really important when generating the "average glyph", as the quality of that will be limited by the resolution of the input images.

  • This is not my case, for example, wen doing revivals I work mostly from the .jp2 files […]
    For their Renaissance type revivals (and the related investigation of archetypal patterning and systematization), my KABK LetterStudio students select and photograph source models at the National Library of the Netherlands, which is located nearby the academy. They always very much enjoy to hold precious original prints from, for example, Jenson and Manutius, in their hands. My EcTd students usually don’t have to walk far: after all, the lessons are at the Museum Plantin-Moretus and consequently the library is under the same roof. Of course, the KABK and EcTd students use GlyphCollector for their projects.



    However, sometimes source models can be found literally on the street. Juanjez López, a very talented Spanish student of mine in Antwerp, collects historical books at the flea/antique market in Madrid on Sunday mornings.
  • However, sometimes source models can be found literally on the street. Juanjez López, a very talented Spanish student of mine in Antwerp, collects historical books at the flea/antique market in Madrid on Sunday mornings.
    It must be great to work in a teaching position as yours in such a place and with historical awareness. :-)
  • Hi Claudio, yes this is a privilege indeed. Already since 1995 I teach at the Plantin Society/Plantin Institute of Typography. Almost 10 years ago we started the Expert class Type design course. Studying the historical type-foundry material and working together with highly motivated and very talented students is undoubtedly great. The EcTd student’s work is normally exhibit in the museum, as you probably know.

    Talking about exhibitions: as guest curator I was responsible for the current arrangement of Renaissance artifacts at the historical type foundry of the Museum Plantin-Moretus. You can find some related photos here.
  • Hi Claudio, yes this is a privilege indeed. Already since 1995 I teach at the Plantin Society/Plantin Institute of Typography. Almost 10 years ago we started the Expert class Type design course. Studying the historical type-foundry material and working together with highly motivated and very talented students is undoubtedly great. The EcTd student’s work is normally exhibit in the museum, as you probably know.
    No, I did not know. In fact, my involvement in type design has been really intermittent, and with long hiatuses, both because of other interests and lack of time.
    I haven’t been following much, neither in Italy (where there is undoubdetly movement as well), neither abroad.
    German and Dutch (and now also American) type design interest me a lot. Right now I am delving in turn-of-the century americana, focus on De Vinne and related titling types.
  • Talking about exhibitions: as guest curator I was responsible for the current arrangement of Renaissance artifacts at the historical type foundry of the Museum Plantin-Moretus. You can find some related photos here.
    I just forwarded the link to Antonio (Cavedoni) which recently has been doing work as (more or less self-taught) stone carver. :-)
  • @LeMo aka PatternMan aka Frank E Blokland: I have just read of the LS Cadencer and LS Cadenculator: great stuff, I wish they would be there for FontLab as well. :-)
  • Thanks Claudio!
  • Thanks Claudio!
    Thanks to you – you’re an asset to the profession!
  • This video by Saber Javanmard on the application of GlyphCollector in a revival-oriented workflow, contains some cross-pollination with Nóra’s and Céline’s book on reviving types.

  • Great! Saber's video is really useful for me to think about possible advanced workflows in the new version. I can't promise all this will be possible, but I'll do what I can.
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