[OTVar] Type 3.2 font editor - variable fonts

Since variable fonts are going to be absolutely HUGE* in 2020, I am pleased to announce that Type 3.2 font editor (Windows, Mac, free and paid versions) now supports the creation and editing of variable fonts.
The first part of a two part tutorial can be found here: https://www.cr8software.net/article010.html
(Note: OpenType feature variations are not yet supported in the current version)


*I know opinions vary




Comments

  • Congrats!

    Any implementation limitations we might want to know about? Maximum number of axes? Maximum number of masters?
  • Up to 256 axes and 256 named instances are allowed.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,856
    edited November 2019
    Both of those should be enough for nearly everyone (although I like FontLab’s 64K limits).

    No limit on number of masters, other than number of named instances?
  • Up to 256 axes and 256 named instances are allowed ...
    Thomas Phinney said:
    Both of those should be enough for nearly everyone ...
    Sounds like the apocryphal saying attributed the Gates:
    640K ought to be enough for anyone...

    Allan, congrats! I updated my copy and now I'm off to venture into the world of making a variable font.
  • Yes, the maximum number of masters* is not really limited (64K per glyph).

    *Type 3.2 does not use the common multiple master workflow (as described here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/typography/opentype/spec/otvaroverview):

    A common process for developing a variable font involves the use of multiple, master source fonts. Each master provides complete glyph outline data for designs for a different position within a variation space. .. From these source masters, font tools can derive a variable font that has complete glyph outlines for a default weight plus deltas ...

    With Type 3.2 you are actually editing the delta-sets directly, so I did not want to use the word masters  as such (in the documentation and tutorial I refer to a delta-set as a master outline).

  • That is a powerful approach and “close to the metal,” as they say! I will be curious to hear if people find it harder to work with vs more useful. Or both.
  • Up to 256 axes and 256 named instances are allowed ...
    Thomas Phinney said:
    Both of those should be enough for nearly everyone ...
    Sounds like the apocryphal saying attributed the Gates:
    640K ought to be enough for anyone...
    This discussion has inspired my next project, tentatively titled "Biblioteca Borges", which attempts to encode all existing fonts, as well as all possible future fonts, into a single variable font. Sadly, I am finding FontLab's 64K limit to be rather limiting...
  • FontLab’s limits in this area are those of the OpenType spec, so a bit non-negotiable at this time.  ;)
  • The second part of the tutorial is now available here:
    https://www.cr8software.net/article011.html 

    This includes axis remapping (ie avar table) and extracting stand-alone, static, flat, single-instances and intermediate master outlines (with ranges).
Sign In or Register to comment.