Metrics Machine

I hear good things about Metrics Machine, but the product description suggests that it mostly does the same things FL's kerning tools do, though with a better UI. (Though scaling caps kerning for small caps is a very neat trick.) Who out there is using Metrics Machine? I'm sure anything Tal Leming built is a good tool, but do you find it worth the money? Is it still worth it if you're migrating to Glyphs or Robofont?


  • Absolutely worth it.
  • OK, I'm sold. Thanks, all.
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  • I got another question: does it also support right-to-left (with preview)?
  • I've never understood the separation of drawing, metrics and kerning that this application forces you into.
    The general idea is to develop a collection of great specialized applications rather than having one monolithic freakshow like FontLab. Think of it as applying comparative advantage to type design software.

    And using UFO apps does not really force you to separate drawing and kerning. Multiple applications can work with the same file and load changes made in the other applications. Unfortunately FontLab Inc. is not capable of releasing a modern font editor, so FontLab sufferers must manually reload data to and from the UFO files with python scripts.
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  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,463
    edited November 2012
    When working with both RoboFont and MetricsMachine, it's nearly as seamless as a single application. RoboFont knows if MM MetricsMachine is installed and by default switches to MM MetricsMachine for kerning instead of its rather limited built-in kerning window. Both RF RoboFont and MM MetricsMachine can be working with the same UFO at the same time. The only difference is that you need to save changes in one in order to see them in the other.

    Using MM MetricsMachine with FontLab is much more separate tasks.

    Mostafa: I think it only does left-to-right.
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  • Mostafa: I think it only does left-to-right
    It's worth asking Tal if he has a RtL version. Chances are he does.
  • edited November 2012
    How is that? ...
    In this case:
    MM = Metrics Machine
    MM ≠ Multiple Master
  • Sorry, yes, I meant MetricsMachine, not Multiple Master. I edited the post to make it clearer.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 544
    edited November 2012
    I still use Igino's iKern service, but also bought a Metrics Machine license last month, to start practicing.

    So far, this are my first impressions:
    - The group editor is awesome.
    - The tools to generate strings, pairs and context for kerning are also awesome.
    - The ability to kern while previewing text, in context, at various sizes 'at the same time' is also awesome.
    - All the transformations and math you can do using what you have already kerned, seems great time savers.
    - Having to export .fea files to import in FL is a small inconvenience, but not big trouble (and one more reason to move to Glyphs or Robofont... but I'm not entirely ready yet, FL works fine for me so far)

    I have a lot more to explore. All in all, I think it's awesome and plan to use it for real in the future.
    Certainly worth a try, and every dollar.

    The more I learn about spacing and kerning (still have a lot to more learn) the more I like the Scangraphic SB and SH approach.
  • the Scangraphic SB and SH approach
    Pablo, could you explain this a bit for those of us who didn't get the memo?
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 544
    edited November 2012
    It's a bit extreme, but they used to sell 2 version of each font, one spaced for text and one spaced for headline. Similar to what we do today by offering Text and Display versions (also different contrast, x-height. etc...).
    Basically what I wanted to say is that spacing and kerning it's also size-dependent, and should be different for text and display.

    Sidebearings that looks good at 12px will look ugly at 72px, and vice-verse.
    The basic problem of digital type, one size -does not- fit all.

    For example, if you look at the sample images here:
    It seems that the "natural" size for Tungsten it's about 60px, everything else needs to be tracked up or down, more or less, in order to look right.

    BTW: SpacingCentral is a very nice FontLab macro, also from Tal Leming, that let you refine your sidebearing while looking at samples set at multiple sizes at the same time.
  • Thanks, Pablo!
  • Does MetricsMachine only help with kerning, or is it useful for spacing as well? (I also see Tal's "Spacing Central" script.)
  • Only kerning. It shows the spacing metrics, but has no way to edit it.

    However, if you have the UFO open in another program at the same time, and change the spacing there and save it, Metrics Machine will update automatically.
  • Btw, What's the difference between:
    File → Save
    File → Export Kerning → Insert into Font
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,463
    edited December 2012
    The first saves the kerning into the UFO you're working on (stored in the UFO as
    "kerning.plist"). The second inserts it into the feature code (stored in the UFO as "features.plist").
  • Where can I get Metrics Machine software?
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,251
    Google is your friend
  • When people ask “where can I get…” on typography forums, it often includes an implied “…for free.”
  • its amazing tool!
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 544
    edited February 2014
    FontLab & MetricsMachine workflow just become much much easier, thanks to Alexander Lubovenko's awesome free new macro:

    I will also recommend KLTF Make Kern Feature ($89) to fix table overflows, if for some reason you are dealing with huge amounts of pairs.
  • How long does it take to get up and running with it?
  • You can be up and running in Metrics Machine in an hour or two if you’re already used to working with UFO files. Start by watch Tal’s video from Robothon 2009, available as an iTunes podcast, and reading the manual.
  • Thanks for the tips, James!
  • FontLab & MetricsMachine workflow just become much much easier, thanks to Alexander Lubovenko's awesome free new macro:

    FWIW, I always just pasted the exported kern feature into FontLab's OT panel, which never seemed that hard to me.
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