Can anyone help me to find Documentation on creating variable font in Fontlab 7
The help that come with Fontlab doesn't help me but instead confuse me a lot
Because it isn't written in step by step instructions and the help contained no dialogbox or menus steps
Since I just installed Fontlab and trying to learn creating variable font, I can't find even the section it referred
in the HELP or get to them because there are so many menus or buttons to click. It is so hard.
I tried checking Youtube and all assumed you know Fontlab very well, which I am not
So, no video please, I want to read step by step instructions with dialogbox/menus clicks and go from there.
I am only using Fontlab to create variable font and not for creating regular font.
I use Fontforge to create fonts, but unfortunately there is no support for variable font
Thus, I am coming here to get help
Created a small guide with screenshots to get started.
1. Create a new font in FontLab using File > New
2. Press CTRL + ALT + F or File > Font Info to open the Font Info panel.
3. Inside Family name, type your preferred name. E.g. “Var Test”.
4. Next, click on “Build Names” button at the bottom. This will create all names for the regular variant.5. Click on Apply > Ok.
6. Double click on Glyph A for editing it. Create a design for this letter. Next, Save the file.
7. Open the Font info panel again (CTRL + ALT + F). This time, click on the “Masters” menu at the left side.
8. Next, click on the plus icon at the bottom.
9. From the dropdown, choose “Duplicate master, copy glyph layers”.
10. Inside the “New master name” field, type “Black”. (We are creating a variable font for the weight axis).
11. The newly created Black master will appear, as shown below. The appropriate weight 900 will be assigned automatically. (If not, you can set that manually too).
12. Click on Apply button to save the changes so far. (Do not click OK, this will close the panel)
13. Next, click on the “Axes” menu. You will see that a new axis for weight has been added.
14. Save the changes so far and exit the panel.
15. Inside the property bar at the top, you shall see two masters we've just created. You can click on each for editing their glyphs.
16. Click on the “Black” master and start editing the letter A. Change it's weight and design as required.
Important: Make sure the starting anchor point and the contour direction is same for a glyph across all masters.
17. Next, open the variations panel (Window > Panel > Variations). You will see a variations panel with a slider for the weight axis.
18. Slide the values and see the result in the Preview panel. (CTRL + ALT + P)
This is just a starting point. You will then need to change the axis graph inside Font Info > Axes, and change the ranges as required.
It is easier than it sounds (it can be tricky in the design aspect, to meet the conditions for smooth interpolation, but is simple in the software aspect).
Guess this is not the form and level of detail you need, but it comes down to defining the variation axis in the font info dialogue. Recommend starting with one axis to grasp the process. For example Weight axis.
Then you define masters on that axis. Recommend starting with the two most extreme points on the axis. For example Thin as the smallest value (which is usually 100) and Black as the biggest value (which is usually 900). So the axis exists in the range of 100–900.
And then in each glyph, you will see two layers "Thin" and "Black". You put the lightest version of the glyph in Thin layer, most heavier in the "Black" layer. If they are compatible for interpolation then an additional layer will automatically appear named "Instance".
Then you open "Variation" panel (from Window>Panels>Variation) and there you will see a slider labeled by your axis name (Weight in this case). While you have the Instance layer selected move the slider and it should reflect the interpolation on the screen.
That should be a very rough overview which would hopefully give you an idea of where to dig on FL help (for example, "how to define axis").
Then later you would probably need to define instances, here and there add an intermediate glyph master (master that exists only for a particular glyph somewhere in the middle of the axis), check the Matchmaker tool, or to troubleshoot why interpolation doesn't work if all the conditions are met (like the order of elements in Elements panel).
All in all, maybe it would be a good idea to spend some time in FL and learn the basics and quirks of its environment because you might need to edit the glyph here and there or spacing (which is also interpolated as well as contours).
In addition, it's more comfortable to design masters while regularly checking interpolation, than to design masters independently first and then later setup variable font. That's because in the former case you can see how Regular weight looks while you making decisions on masters etc. Let's call it a "variation-first" approach, like "mobile-first" for web design
I have other question is that I have fonts ( regular & Bold ). Fontlab has about 2 pages instruction HELP ( one for single file and other for 2 files ) and I could not follow thru to the end successfully even for single file. The HELP is too short and luck detail on dialogboxes and menu clicks. If you have already written or point me to the document on the web, I would appreciate you so much for it. Thanks
What you see might be "Element Frame". It's turned on by default, and you can toggle it by Ctrl+Shift+R.
In addition, if you go to Edit>Preferences [CTRL+,] there's a section "Paste and Duplicate" which might be helpful for possible pasting problems.
If it were a raster image, upon hiding the frame (CTRL + Shift + R), you would see the frame corners, as shown below:
Copy/Paste from Illustrator works fine, but not sure about Corel Draw. Make sure the copied object is a vector. Or try File > Import > Artwork. In this option you can choose eps, svg or any other vector format for importing the artwork.
Regarding the interpolation, that may still not work if there is any mismatch in the number of nodes, contours and their direction. Sometimes you may also need ungrouping, decomposing, or cut paste composites to get the correct order of placement.