AAT "Glyph Variants" feature

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Anonymous's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2002 - 1:06pm
AAT "Glyph Variants" feature
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How does one add the “Glyph Variants” Apple Advanced Typography (AAT) feature to a font? (See the circled panel in the screenshot below for Hoefler Text.)

Glyph Variant Screenshot

Apple’s docs are far from clear on how to add this. In the Morph Input File (MIF), I have used “Character Alternates” (Namecode 17, also visible as a closed panel in the screen shot above) to define sets of alternate glyphs, but that doesn’t give me the fancy pop-ups that are context-sensitive to the selected characters, only radio buttons to identify alternate character sets.

I’d appreciate any tips.

Cheers,
Brent

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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I believe what you need to do is add a ‘Zapf’ table to the font. This table includes a mapping between glyphs and all variants.

See: http://developer.apple.com/fonts/TTRefMan/RM06/Chap6Zapf.html

Anonymous's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2002 - 1:06pm
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Thank you — that looks like the documentation I was seeking.

Brent Sleeper

Juhani Lehtiranta's picture
Joined: 16 Feb 2004 - 7:10am
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>Is there anybody else than John, who has courage and skill to edit ‘Morx’ and ‘Zapf’ tables? If you compare creating typographic OT features with FontLab and typographic AAT features with command line tool provided by Apple, it’s not strange, that hardly nobody is working with AAT fonts. Am I right?

John Nolan's picture
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Joined: 6 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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That, combined with the fact that AAT fonts are Mac only!

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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I think you are right Juhani, and have been telling Apple this for years. The Apple font tools are designed by engineers for engineers. I’ve done work with them, but not by choice: the client needed AAT tables in the font. Even then, we had to have Dave Opstad (ex-Apple font guy) help us with the state tables for contextual substitutions. I understand the tools have improved a bit since then, but they’re still nothing like as easy as making OT in FontLab or VOLT, nor even as easy as making a Graphite font with SIL’s own text based tools.

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