During the ﬁrst semester of the current school year, KABK-LetterStudio student Gábor Kerekes programmed a small nifty tool in the context of the ‘1001 ways to digitize type’ module
, named Glyph Collector
. The tool is meant for collecting multiple representations of glyphs from a scanned page, and for subsequently generating an average image.
How does it work? One has to select one glyph of each character that has to be converted, and to save the image to a folder. Next Glyph Collector will gather all characters for which it finds a reference and will put these per character in a folder. This makes it a great tool for researching historic prints IMHO. On top of that it optionally will generate average glyphs per character, based on all distilled variants. These glyphs can be used for further processing in an auto-tracing tool, for instance as a starting point for the development of a revival.
Glyph Collector is a standalone application for Mac OS X.9–10. For its inner workings, it relies on OpenCV (an open-source computer vision library) and it has all dependencies on board. It can be downloaded for free from this website
, which also provides further information on the tool.
You may want to have a look, maybe you can join forces, or do some collaboration.
That being said, the way things are organized in Retro is actually quite nice. And it certainly makes sense if Gábor contacts the people behind the PaRADIIT project, I reckon.
Their way of visualizing the character clusters however, looks just like what I had in mind for a future release. It would be nice to have an interface that would show all instances of characters that were found in the supplied source scans, and would also allow one to exclude some of them from the calculation of averages ( some of the characters that get collected are way too distorted ).
Let me know if you guys have any suggestions for what further features would be useful to add.
I love that your tools is super easy to use. Great work Gábor!
I have not tested this use case, but I think it should be able to deal with it, as long as you supply references to match for both variants.
It's been a while!
I am happy to announce that I have managed to find both time and funding to resurrect the project and develop it into a full-fledged application. The project is now being supported by Dutch cultural fund Stimuleringsfonds which allows me to spend a significant amount of time on development during the next few months.
GlyphCollector is being re-written from scratch. Some of the most important planned features of the rewrite:
I am planning to make an alpha version available for a small number of people interested in testing/giving feedback sometime in August. Initially, I'm going to be targeting Linux and MacOS; Windows support will likely lag behind a bit because it is more tricky.
- A more sophisticated GUI
- Vectorizing the averaged output
The new interface will make the workflow more convenient and intuitive. Among other things, it will be possible to do things like selecting particular images of matched glyphs to be used for calculating the "average"
Once the "average image" is calculated from the matched glyphs, it will be possible to trace this into a vector image without having to use Illustrator or any other external tool
GlyphCollector is being developed using a cross-platform framework, meaning that it will run on MacOS, Linux and Windows
I hope to release a stable version aimed at a larger audience in September/October.
Development is currently happening in a private repository but will be opened up when the source code is ready for public viewing.
I'll share more as soon as I have something visible/testable.
Furthermore, I am very much looking forward to applying the new GC (beta) version at the Typography Summer School (University of Antwerp) in the ﬁrst week of September.
I may be wrong but on previous versions you assumed that we all have high-res scans of awesome quality of the manuscripts or drawing we are collecting.
This is not my case, for example, wen doing revivals I work mostly from the .jp2 files available at https://archive.org For example I've trying to collects glyphs from the Trusler Types at https://archive.org/stream/poetryofnatureco00pott#page/4/mode/2up but it's almost imposiible to get something decent in such low resolution. I ended up having to redraw the entire thing and only using the base digitalization for the type proportions.
The program should work with small resolution images as well (although the accuracy of the matching algorithm might decrease). Having high-resolution sources is more of a recommendation to get best results, and is only really important when generating the "average glyph", as the quality of that will be limited by the resolution of the input images.
However, sometimes source models can be found literally on the street. Juanjez López, a very talented Spanish student of mine in Antwerp, collects historical books at the ﬂea/antique market in Madrid on Sunday mornings.
Talking about exhibitions: as guest curator I was responsible for the current arrangement of Renaissance artifacts at the historical type foundry of the Museum Plantin-Moretus. You can ﬁnd some related photos here.
I haven’t been following much, neither in Italy (where there is undoubdetly movement as well), neither abroad.
German and Dutch (and now also American) type design interest me a lot. Right now I am delving in turn-of-the century americana, focus on De Vinne and related titling types.
I'm happy to inform you that I have reached the alpha version of the new GlyphCollector and will soon publish it.
For now, here are some screenshots of the new UI as a teaser: