How do I script Swash letters, alternates etc.?

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Martin Silvertant's picture
Joined: 31 Dec 2009 - 11:51pm
How do I script Swash letters, alternates etc.?
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I've recently learned how to use Fontlab Studio 5, and I also learned how to script ligatures. But I noticed Illustrator for example has more buttons in the type tool section: Standard Ligatures, Contextual Ligatures, Discretionary Ligatures, Swash, Stylistic Alternates, Titling Alternates, Ordinals and Fractions.

So out of that list, I only know how to script the standard ligatures. Does anyone know how to script the others, or do you know a source to learn about it? Most font families contain all the ligatures and swash letters as seperate fonts rather than putting it into a single font (OpenType). Is there a reason for doing this?

Michel Troy's picture
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Joined: 9 Sep 2009 - 4:33pm
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here is a technical answer.
The technique is the same as the ligature, using the FEATURE.
Of course you need new "generated glyph" for the subtitution (eg: "f_f_l", "T_h").

FEATURE
for ligature is LIGA
for Discretionary ligature is DLIG
for Contextual ligature is CALT
etc.
Wiki can help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenType_feature_tag_list

here is some example:
feature liga {
sub f f b by f_f_b;
sub f f h by f_f_h;
sub f f i by ffi;
} liga;

feature dlig {
sub T H by T_H;
sub T T by T_T;
sub T h by T_h;
sub s p by s_p;
sub s t by s_t;
} dlig;

feature calt {
sub T H E by T_H_E;
} calt;

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture
Joined: 24 May 2005 - 7:36am
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> Most font families contain all the ligatures and swash letters as seperate fonts rather than putting it into a single font (OpenType). Is there a reason for doing this?

Most of those fonts are pre-OpenType. The preferred way to go these days is to put all these alternates into a single font… unless your users are in a software who doesn’t know how to handle OpenType features.

Martin Silvertant's picture
Joined: 31 Dec 2009 - 11:51pm
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Thank you for your answers. It was most helpful.

I'm wondering if anyone knows why Photoshop doesn't support OpenType, or did I just not see it? I also can't find the function in InDesign. I'm sure it will be available in Photoshop CS5.

Michel Troy's picture
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Joined: 9 Sep 2009 - 4:33pm
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in CS4 open type is supported into Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesing

in photoshop it's more basic an option is apply to all your text.
In InDesign you can you do it on a single Glyph

in design go to main menu: WINDOW / Type & Table / Glyphs

Martin Silvertant's picture
Joined: 31 Dec 2009 - 11:51pm
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I haven't checked this thread in a while. Meanwhile I found out where to find OpenType in Photoshop. I didn't know how to use it in InDesign yet though. Thanks a lot for the information!

Alexander Katt's picture
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Joined: 6 Oct 2010 - 9:53am
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Indesign has a special interface for that, called "Opentype panel". The same as in Illustrator, really

Alexander Katt's picture
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Joined: 6 Oct 2010 - 9:53am
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and about applying them - this might help: http://ilovetypography.com/OpenType/opentype-features.html

Martin Silvertant's picture
Joined: 31 Dec 2009 - 11:51pm
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Thanks but this threat is very old. That last comment of mine was sent 2 years ago. Meanwhile I've had several jobs where I had to use InDesign daily.

This is pretty amusing though. When I was still studying I was the go-to guy in the class for tips on typography and InDesign functionality while two years ago I couldn't even find the OpenType panel.