TYPO Labs 2017 teaser

Together with its longtime (since 1991!) German partner URW++, the Dutch Type Library has organized a special hands-on session focused on the production and modification of variable fonts at the TYPO Labs 2017 conference on the morning of Friday 7 April. Jürgen Willrodt will demonstrate how to prepare and modify already existing fonts for the production of OpenType Variation fonts , i.e., making all glyphs isomorphic and how to create variable fonts using FoundryMaster (the successor of FontMaster), and finally proofing and modifying OT Variation fonts with OTMaster.

Currently the version of OTMaster that is under development supports OT Variation fonts as follows:

– One can list and view the‘fvar’, ‘STAT’ and ‘gvar’ tables.
– One can add additional predefined instances in the ‘fvar’ table.
– There is a ‘variation viewer’, which has sliders for all available axes. Moving the sliders will immediately change the glyphs displayed in the ‘font viewer’ or in the editing window. The ‘variation viewer’ can be used to add, modify, or delete instances for the font.
– The ‘side-by-side’ viewer has an option to show all defined instances (of course, this only make sense for fonts with a relatively limited number of instances, such as Skia).

Later more! :)


  • These are great news!!
  • Right on time for the upcoming TYPO Labs 2017 conference the new version of FoundryMaster supports the OpenType Font Variation format. On the morning of Friday 7 April Jürgen Willrodt will demonstrate how one can use the tool for making glyphs isomorphic (i.e., the same number of points, the same sequence of control and anchor points, the same number of contours, the same ordering of the contours, the same sense of rotation of all contours, and the same location of the start points) and how to create variable fonts.

    Next I will focus on the support of the type-design part by FoundryMaster. I will tell a bit about the development of font tools in the past three decades, where in this context one can position FoundryMaster, and what our further plans are. After all, it was more than 30 years ago that I started to produce digital fonts, using –like a couple of my colleagues on this forum– first Ikarus M and not much later in addition Fontographer. Subsequently I also used an early version of FontLab before the first DTL/URW++ font tools were developed around the end of the 1990s. Together with Axel Stoltenberg, who is one of the programmers of FoundryMaster (and IKARUS programmer since the 1980s), I will demonstrate some of FoundryMaster’s unique functions.

    Also I very much would like to exchange thoughts on font tools and functionality with the attendees during the hands-on session. Demo versions of FoundryMaster will be available.

  • AbrahamLeeAbrahamLee Posts: 251
    Will FoundryMaster be available on Windows, or just OSX? Any projected date when it will be available for purchase?
  • Will FoundryMaster include GlyphMaster?
  • Actually FoundryMaster is (the updated) GlyphMaster. All these different masters must be a bit confusing, I reckon. The reason for this renaming is that Georg asked me to do that to avoid confusion. Anyway, the new master is as easy to master as the old master.  :)
  • Will FoundryMaster be available on Windows, or just OSX? Any projected date when it will be available for purchase?
    FM will become available for macOS, Windows, and Linux, like OTM. I expect that the tool itself will be ready to ship within roughly a month or so -the biggest problem will be to produce in time a decent manual that covers all functionality.

  • During the hands-on session at TYPO Labs 2018 on Friday the 13th of April, Jürgen Willrodt and I will especially focus on the integration of OTMaster and FoundryMaster in a workflow that is based on Glyphs or RoboFont. Combining the unique functionality offered by different font tools can simplify and speed up production matters quite a bit IMHO. Of course, I don’t want to suggest that Glyphs and RoboFont aren’t excellent as they are. After all, many of my KABK and EcTd students use these two applications.

    One of the functions that I will discuss and demonstrate, is the subsetting of OpenType Layout features in OTM and how the subsetted features can be further used in Glyphs or RoboFont. This is a very straightforward process and forms a consistent and reproducible alternative for building OT Layout features per font directly in the two editors.

    Another item that I will show using OTM, is the inspection of and, if necessary, improvement of quadratic splines in TrueType-flavored OpenType fonts generated with Glyphs (the .ttf in the foreground of the image was generated with Glyphs, the background is formed by the .otf) or RoboFont.

    FoundryMaster offers some unique batch functionality, such as for intelligent scaling and numeric stem-adjustment. Because FM2 (FM = FontMaster, which is FM2’s precursor) supports the.ufo format, it is quite simple to integrate. Furthermore, FM2 can be used to check and control the conversion to quadratic splines on the fly and to directly edit these splines (we store them in the .qq [2-byte] and .iq [4-byte] formats).

    A new program that we will introduce in Berlin is GPOSMaster. As the successor of KernMaster, it combines auto-kerning with several editing options. Like OTM and FM2, it will become available for macOS, Windows, and Linux.

  • Part of the DTL/URW++ hands-on session at the TYPO Labs 2018 conference will be a Type-tech crit. Attendees can bring their OpenType/TrueType fonts (irrespective of the tools used for generation) with them. The fonts’ guts will be analyzed with surgical precision using DTL OTMaster, to investigate whether there is perhaps space for any form of improvement whatsoever.

    FoundryMaster (FM2) is particularly a font editor for techies. Perhaps, in line with the good ol’ IKARUS system, it is not really suitable for the faint of heart. One can control and modify basically anything and everything: from all shortcuts, display size and color of contour points, icon size, to the conversion from cubic to quadratic Bézier splines.
            New is the customization of the tools pallet: only the icons of the tools preferred are displayed. This setting is stored in the preference file then. Of course, it is very easy to change the pallet again or to restore all of the tools.

  • Let’s rock’n roll!

  • During the DTL/URW hands-on session at TYPO Labs 2018 it became clear that OTM offers a lot of nifty functionality that is not well known. One of these functions, for example, is the Side by Side Viewer from the ‘Tools’ menu, which was added to OTM version 3.7 already back in 2013.

    The Side by Side Viewer makes it possible to compare glyph sets in fonts and offers several options for filtering and viewing. On page 52 of the DTL OTMaster manual the options are described.

    In the new FoundryMaster there is also a Side by Side Viewer, but in this case for the supported glyph-database/storage formats, among which .ufo.
  • When will FoundryMaster become available?
  • Just in time for Christmas 2018! As you must have noticed, the development of the first retail version took an extra year* and we’ll have to do ‘some’ work on the manual still.

    *Frederick P. Brooks The Mythical Man-Month (1995)
  • On Twitter you refer to it as FM2 but I don't recall a FM1 ever being released, and I have been waiting so patiently for it.  :)
  • Hi George,

    If you scroll up, you will read ‘[…] (FM = FontMaster, which is FM2’s precursor) […].’ So, FontMaster is FM(1) and FoundryMaster is FM2. I’m sorry to read that you waited so patiently for a tool that was already released at the ATypI Conference in Copenhagen, September 2001. All these wasted, lost years… :'(

  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 563
    edited April 2018
    Nothing lost, really. The FontMaster suite ran mostly only on Windows, which I don't use.

    My concept of FoundryMaster 1 was the renaming of previously-named GlyphMaster, having forgotten its true origin. That's what I have been patiently waiting for. At least I now know it won't be too much longer.  :)
  • edited September 2020
    Hi Ben, both DTL OTMaster 8 and FoundryMaster have actually been ready for release for over half a year now. We had planned to produce the manuals for the past six months, but because it was so busy, we simply did not succeed.

    Since OTM 8(.4) contains quite a few useful new features (see also this topic) and some fixes, I am now thinking of releasing it just like version 7.9, i.e., without an updated manual, for a reduced price (€199 instead of €255). If this is generally considered a good idea, I will be doing it soon.

    FoundryMaster now supports batching of, for example, ‘Scale Intelligent’ and ‘Stem Adjustment’, which we first demonstrated eight years ago. FM2 (as a successor to FontMaster [FM]) supports the UFO format and contains quite a bit of nice functionality that can be used alongside any font editor one prefers. In this case, I’m thinking of releasing it also without a thorough manual for the same discounted price as OTM. Of course, we will support questions and make some instructional videos soon.

    OTM 8 and FM2 have been generated for macOS, Windows (32 and 64 bit) and Linux.

    So, it is a bit up to you all.
  • After being teased for a long time, I would be interested in FoundryMaster without a thorough manual.
  • I can work without a thorough manual too, with the hope that one day it will be available.
  • It is nice to read that there is interest in FoundryMaster. Like the other DTL tools, such as OTMaster, FM2 was initially developed for internal use. However, OTMaster in particular became a reasonable success outside DTL’s studio. The good old FM modules have mainly found their way to former IKARUS users. Consequently, the market for FM was relatively limited, also because we couldn’t deliver a macOS edition when it was launched about 20 years ago (the MFC complier had not been upgraded to support Mac OS X).

    DTL FoundryMaster

    DTL’s type library was built with our own tools and FM is still used today, apart from FM2, for batch generation and vintage font-format support. For those conditioned with other font editors, the learning curve can be a bit steep and the DTL tools are perhaps considered less intuitive. My approach has always been based on the idea that type design is the first step of the font-production process, rather than that font production is the final step in the design process. At least this approach works for DTL.
  • Hi Frank, personally I think that as long the functionality is there a couple of demo videos should be enough for those already aquainted with the software's architecture :) By functionality, I mean being able to preview as well as generate OT features on export, a kerning tool, working know bugs or problems as well as any other functionality DTL might have in the pipeline for the launch of FM2. Groeten uit Berlijn. 
  • edited September 2020
    Hi Leandro, I think a few short how-to videos can be made over time, and, for example, posted on the FM website.  Regarding functionality, in line with the modular structure of DTL FontMaster, the decision was made a long time ago not to include the editing of OT Layout features and kerning generation in FoundryMaster  (although FM2 supports [subsetting of] OT Layout features on export). This functionality is available in separate applications, namely OTMaster and GPOSMaster respectively. As a result, the three tools will be also offered as a bundle (probably €499).

    As mentioned in my previous post, the learning curve of the DTL tools can be a bit steep. Also an application like GPOSMaster is not really for the faint of heart. We provide the tools ‘as is‘, that is, as they are developed for and used at DTL. This approach will suit some end users: OTMaster, for example, is relatively widely used. However, it will undoubtedly also limit our market.

    For starters, OTM 8.4 will be released next week.
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