Some questions from a TTF hinting newbie

FInally I decided to delve into this complicated area. I will make some questions some will probably consider utterly stupid. Therefore I would like to ask for some restrain from those who sometimes exercise their sarcasm in this forum :)

My questions are:

1) For someone who does not want to become a 'hinting guru' but merely learn how to improve the hinting in his TTFs and webfonts in Fontlab... should I only care about ClearType and DirectWrite and the Y direction? (as one of my distributors says in an email). Does or does not make sense to make horizontal TTF hints in the current webfont scenario?

2) What is the Fontlab preview I should mainly use: Apple Greyscale, FreeType Greyscale, MS Greyscale? Which one is more relevant to hint for ClearType or DIrectWrite?

3) Has Fontlab MAC solved its TTF hinting preview issues or should I buy the latest Windows version in order to be able to work properly on the TTF hints? (BTW, I downloaded the latest demo version of Fontlab 5.2 for Windows but I can only see 'Black and White / Greyscale' previews. I assume it is because it is running under Windows Vista. But am I right?)

Thanks in advance.


  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 756
    edited July 2013
    Doing trials with a Mac and a PC side by side I realized in Fontlab Mac 5.1.3 middle Deltas don't work. Simply they don't seem to affect the preview. Grrrr...
  • Hi Ramiro, welcome to the Dark arts! ;)

    1- this is a marketing question, I think. Anyone using the default settings on a Windows system of Vista or later will not see your X direction hints. They would be seen by someone using XP with Cleartype disabled, for instance, but that's a small market segment, is my guess. Also, if you were working for a specific client that asked for X+Y direction hints for a specific (minor) operating system, that would obviously be a consideration. I think today, CT and DW Y direction hints cover most of the retail market.

    2- Unfortunately, none of the previews on the Mac side will show you what you'll see in CT or DW. You need to be hinting on a Win system where you can view the system rendering option.

    3- Mac can't show you the preview for windows without bundling the Windows DW rasterizer, and I don't think that's in the cards, although I don't have an insight there.

    *- "middle deltas" will only work on points that have been instructed already in the stack. Also, Final deltas will not be used in Cleartype or DW.

    Best Regards
  • @Jason: I am puzzled by the fact in my PC running Vista (which is supposed to run Cleartype) the only previews that the latest Fontlab shows are BW / Greyscale. At first I assumed it was because Vista lacked other rendering engines, but this is not so. In order to hint for Cleartype, should I use the Greyscale preview and the check the font in Explorer 7/8? Or some other preview is missing in my windows Fontlab?
  • Drawing in FL, I don't believe the preview uses cleartype rendering, even if you are drawing
    TrueType. Are you drawing TrueType?

    If not, then your drawings are best for postscript output, or larger sizes of smaller web fonts.

    The hints you see in FL are being automatically derived, after which you may edit them. But from there the hints, along with the outlines, are translated into TrueType not intended for editing or success automatically in cleartype rendering.

    Checking the font in ie is going to show the differences between FL and windows web rendering, so that's always good design research.

    Since I don't know how you are using what kind of font for how much $, it's hard to advise further. . . But welcome none the less.
  • @David: contours are TT splines converted from PS ones. The font I am playing with is not a commercial project, I am just doing trials while I read the recommended documentation.

    BTW, if I want to get MS VTT, the VTT page tell me to "sign and fax" the license but there is no fax number available (thinking twice either I have a fax machine :) ). Does anybody has an updated mail contact of the MS VTT people?
  • For MS VTT, ask Simon Daniels
  • No mail in this profile page :S
  • For what it is worth, the fax information can be found in the license agreement,
    OR FAX TO: Microsoft Corporation, Attn: Simon Daniels, Microsoft Typography, 425 936 7329
    which can be found at:
  • > No mail in this profile page :S
    But there is a "Contact" button in the menu (next to the Track button), that will send a private message by email.
  • I'm pretty sure you can email a pdf to Simon and that's ok. The fax method just tells you how long VTT's been around. ;)
  • Gotcha. Now I have figure out where to start out.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 527
    edited August 2013
    Michael Duggan and Si Daniels taught a very good workshop at Reykjavik 2011
    Maybe someone has recorded it on video... not sure, but there is a good chance, since all other talks where also recorded.
  • > They would be seen by someone using XP with Cleartype disabled, for instance, but that's a small market segment, is my guess.

    Small, but do note that is the default setting on Windows XP.
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