TTF vs. OTF on older Android

One of our clients claims that a hinted TTF does not render as well than an OTF on (older) lower resolution Android. Does this ring a bell for anyone, for this is news to us.

Comments

  • Does this android version use hinting information at all?
  • MartinPlusMartinPlus Posts: 26
    edited December 2019
    I had assumed that Android would, even older versions, but from what I've seen our manual hinting (for ClearType rendering) does not seem to be applied at all.
  • This sounds strange, anyway. I thought Truetype (manually hinted or not) would always generally render better on older devices.
  • “Always”? No, not at all.

    There are a few environments where that might be true. Notably, rendering in certain versions of Windows, using ClearType, in the era when Windows only applied ClearType to TrueType fonts and not to OpenType CFF fonts. If memory serves, OpenType CFF support for ClearType was added in Windows Vista, which was also the version of Windows which first got ClearType on by default.

    Aside from that, a lot depends on the quality of the hinting—even if you are talking about autohinting.

    Whether Android uses a font’s built-in hinting at all depends on the particular implementation of Android. The Android OS font rendering engine is capable of doing autohinting-on-the-fly like Apple does. I am sure some vendors have enabled this in their Android implementations. Additionally, AFAIK a user can also enable it even if the OS vendor did not, so... life is complicated.
  • “Always”? No, not at all.
    So there might even be cases when a font behaves better *without* hinting (be it automatic or manual)? I have read this might be the case for complex outlines or decorative typefaces, but I thought in general type families aimed at text rendered better when hinted.
  • No hinting is better than bad hinting, that's for sure. Hinting is distortion, after all.
  • So there might even be cases when a font behaves better *without* hinting (be it automatic or manual)?
    Certainly.
    I have read this might be the case for complex outlines or decorative typefaces
    What those cases are depends on the outlines, the rasterizer, AND the hinting. Life is complicated.
    but I thought in general type families aimed at text rendered better when hinted.
    In those environments where hinting matters at all, usually, yes. As long as the hinting isn’t awful.
  • Thanks Thomas. :-)
  • My latest information is that hinting for Grayscale rendering works the best in this legacy Android environment. I haven't been able to see result of this type of hinting on device myself.
    According to the developers even SVG converted with Font Squirrel to OTF works well  :o
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