Illustrator and Photoshop both support OT variable fonts now

Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,601
edited November 2017 in Font Technology
I haven't installed and tried these out yet, just read the release notes. Both Illustrator and Photoshop support OT variable fonts now (October 2017 release). I also noted that Illustrator (at last!) supports stylistic sets.

Illustrator CC release notes
Photoshop CC release notes


  • Thanks, Mark.

    And as a side note, the Fall Creator's Update (Windows) also ships with a variable font. It's a DIN-alike font.
  • Niche.Niche. Posts: 86
    The variable fonts are only the basic glyph set, bot much in terms of punctuation or symbols ect. Fun to play with though! 
  • The Illustrator support is going to mean much more to pro designers than Photoshop. I’m cautiously optimistic.
  • The variable fonts are only the basic glyph set, bot much in terms of punctuation or symbols ect. Fun to play with though! 
    Some of them have limited character set, others are full fonts. The ones with “Concept” in the name (Myriad, Minion) are the more prototype fonts, but the others (Acumin, Source Sans, Source Serif, Source Code) are fully functional.

    Acumin was already a favorite classic grotesque for me, so this will be nice to have. And of course getting axis-based Myriad and Minion back after 15 years away will be lovely.
  • ... but still no Source Serif Italic?
  • ... but still no Source Serif Italic?
    More important would be to fix its vertical proportions.
  • And to answer the other question on everybody's lips: yes, color fonts are supported as well! That is, OpenType SVG, as well as sbix on Mac and (apparently — haven't been able to test this) COLR/CPAL on Windows.
  • I just tried this. The UI for variable fonts in Illustrator is beyond bad. You need to open the dedicated character panel (either from the window menu or as a strange layover from the property sidebar). In that panel, you find an icon that opens a popup that has a slider and a textfield for each axis. But no label or name for each axis. So I did know what I was looking for but needed two minutes to find it. This is better hidden than OpenType features in the old UI.
    In Photoshop it is much better as shows the (named) siders directly in the character panel.
  • Huh. I'm seeing name labels for axes.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,601
    edited October 2017
    Aside from the discoverability issue, I like the way it works in Illustrator better. The weight, width, etc. change continuously as you move the sliders. In Photoshop, nothing changes until you release the mouse button after moving a slider. The sliders in Photoshop are also really small.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,585
    edited October 2017
    I hate to say it, but there are some frustrations about the Adobe implementations that lead me to loathe and despise some implementation details. That said, it is a start, and I certainly hope the rough edges will be polished so as to improve usability. Overall, Photoshop wins on implementation, but since I don't really want to do all my type work in Photoshop, I am kind of stuck at the moment.

    Illustrator: the axis controls disappear whenever you aren't actually adjusting them, with no display of values anywhere, not even in the style field. So normally you can't even see the axis values of currently selected text!

    Photoshop: the axes are in a "Properties" panel separated from the "Character" panel. Clicking on the "advanced" button in the Properties panel brings up the Character panel and makes the axes go away.

    Photoshop at least displays current instance info in the Style field, which is very nice.

    Additionally, in Illustrator (at least) there are some serious bugs in the handling, and text frequently goes completely haywire when switching fonts and adjusting axes.
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