Cross-posting this message from the OpenType / MPEG Open Font Format lists.
Dear OpenType /MPEG OFF List members,
Today at the Microsoft //build conference in San Francisco, Dan McLachlan of our Graphics team will talk about Windows 8.1 approach to color fonts. We'd like to thank P22, Monotype, The Font Bureau and FontFont for providing us with font data that we were able to use to test this approach.
Our implementation uses a base glyph for reference, which would be used for non-color situations. A data structure, implemented as a new 'COLR' table in OpenType, breaks down the base glyph into a separate set of glyphs, each with its own z-order and single color reference. The color references are handled has palette indices, with a separate table, 'CPAL' in OpenType that resolves the RGBA colors actually used for the glyph.
We plan to submit documentation on this approach for standardization through the ISO MPEG process (for inclusion in the Open Font Format) within the next few weeks. However, if you'd like to see the approach in practice you can download the Windows 8.1 Preview and see a color font (Segoe UI Emoji) used on the touch enabled keyboard.
I'll also be giving a talk at TypeCon on this, hope to see some of you there.
A video of the session should be posted here at some point... http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-191