Fontographer 5 released

Bert Vanderveen's picture

It’s done (at last!):

http://www.fontlab.com/font-editor/fontographer/

Looks promising. And in this thread Yuri comments on some of the features that will be included in a coming release and what is already included:

http://typophile.com/node/65415

How come there has not been an official press release here already?

Cheers,
Bert

Ray Larabie's picture

Looks good . . . ooh. So, this will essentially be the lower end version of FontLab, right? If that's the case what's the recommended upgrade path for Typetool users? Should they be waiting around for a Typetool upgrade to be released? Cos I often recommend Typetool for beginners.

yuri's picture

Fontographer will exist in parallel to FontLab Studio/TypeTool line. While it can be considered a "middle" product, its target audience is different.

Fontographer is a full-scale font editor for those who want to draw, not engineer fonts. TypeTool can be considered an entry point into FontLab Studio, which will always be a top-line tool for those who make fonts for living :)

With Fog5 release and its support for VFB font data format, it can be easily integrated into FontLab Studio-based workflow, as a "drawing tool".

twardoch's picture

As Yuri says: we consider Fontographer 5 as an "alternative UI" over FontLab Studio. Both editors are full-scale font editors, with the following difference:
* FontLab Studio allows precise control over all aspects of the font, and includes several different ways to draw outlines (PostScript Bezier curves, TrueType B-splines, Sketch mode, VectorPaint etc.), has a number of different panels, Python scripting, class kerning, Font Info and Preference windows that go over dozens of pages.
* Fontographer includes lots of automated algorithms for things like family naming, linespacing, autohinting, and just has, principally, "one solid method" to do each thing. Its user interface is simpler than that of FLS.

But both editor produce high-quality fonts with pretty much all of OpenType font format's functionality (though Fontographer does not have a built in OT feature editor, you can use an external text editor to write the feature definitions).

TypeTool is a good entry point to FontLab Studio. People who learn TypeTool will be able to switch to FontLab Studio at some point. Fontographer is different, so switching from TypeTool to Fontographer or from Fontographer to FontLab Studio means, that you have to le-learn some things. But many will find that Fontographer is "just the thing" for them, probably those who find TypeTool too simple and FontLab Studio too complex :)

Also: TypeTool is $99, Fontographer is $399, FontLab Studio is $649. So it's our approach of making a line of products at different pricing points, so everyone can find something for her or his pocket.

Also, the official discussion board for Fontographer 5 is open. We're gathering feature suggestions for future versions at the "Fontographer Wish List" sub-board there.

Best,
Adam Twardoch
Fontlab Ltd.

Ray Larabie's picture

Thanks Yuri & Adam. I'll keep guiding beginners toward TypeTool.

Are there aspects of Fontographer 5 which are sort of a sneak preview of what's coming in the next Fontlab?

yuri's picture

Are there aspects of Fontographer 5 which are sort of a sneak preview of what's coming in the next Fontlab?

Search feature (with Unicode name support) is definitely one of them, followed by cleaned font info.

keith's picture

Two days into Fontographer 5 and I've still got a smile on my face. You've done a wonderful job — it looks beautiful, it feels great to use, and all the old keyboard commands are with my slippers, pipe and rocking chair next to the dog. Thank you FontLab for keeping faith with the faithful and breathing new life into our worthy old friend. I'm sure it can't have been easy to consolidate old and new coding, improve the functionality yet still retain the essential identity and superbly intuitive drawing tools of Fog, but you have succeeded, and I send you a big, heartfelt thankyou!

Keith / K-Type

Manchester UK

G T's picture

So how are the drawing tools of Fog different from those in Fontlab?

I've used the latter a bit. I'm mostly used to Illustrator, so which would people say is closer to Illustrator methods?

Thanks

G T

twardoch's picture

G T,

neither Fontographer nor FontLab Studio are perfect clones of anything, but I would say that Fontographer is closer to Freehand and FontLab Studio is closer to Illustrator. But FontLab Studio's drawing tools have also been heavily inspired by Fontographer (to ease the transition). In general, Fontographer is simpler in the sense that there is practically one way to draw, while in FontLab Studio there are numerous ways.

I would say that the best method is to download demo versions of both applications (available from http://www.fontlab.com ) and give them both a try.

Best,
Adam

twardoch's picture

Keith,

I'm very happy to hear your feedback. Indeed, what you're describing was our goal for this release, and I'm glad that you think we've succeeded.

Best,
Adam Twardoch
Fontlab Ltd.

Nick Shinn's picture

It's too late for me to go back now, after acclimatizing to FontLab for many years.
However, I do like the sound of automated family naming. Can we have that in FontLab too?!

twardoch's picture

Nick,

yes. One of the ideas behind Fontographer 5 was to test out some new ideas in a product that does not have such an extremely established current user base (Fontographer, that is), and then move the best ones to the flagship product (FontLab Studio), on which we are working right now.

Adam

Arno Enslin's picture

However, I do like the sound of automated family naming. Can we have that in FontLab too?!

I prefer to set the names on the field "Additional OpenType names" in FontLab. Although you can import the names to that field in FontLab, I would dislike fantasy names like "typographic family". You will neither find that name in any specification nor is the Four-styles-sub-family (Windows GDI) not a typographic family. But you are right, that the names field is better in Fontographer 5.

The scrollable list on the field "Additional OpenType names" would profit from a bigger panel in FontLab Studio. And required namerecords could be marked with a different color. The screen is big enough for bigger info and option panels. Using FontLab on a netbook does not make much sense. Alternatively a full size modus for the option and the info panel would be helpful in FLS.

Mark Simonson's picture

Adam,

I really like what you guys have done in BitFonter 3 with the "font info" panels--where you have that pop-up that lets you filter out the fields that are irrelevant for the font format you're targeting. I would love to have that in FontLab Studio.

yuri's picture

Arno, while I respect your "programmer's" approach to font naming (and I confess that I often work the same way) that one was added because we had no better idea for naming (including non-English) at that time. Direct access to the name table was a "last resort" for those who need a full control over naming.

There was at least two products after that which gave us much better understanding of font naming: both in font formats and applications. What you can find in Fog5 is a simplified implementation of the "font names theory" which is done by Adam in a past year.

We are not planning to completely remove name table editor from future FLS, but since Font info will be completely re-done in FLS7 (and improved in FLS6), I hope that eventually you will agree that new names for font names is a good thing :)

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Yuri

I think the main problem with the actual name panel of FontLab is not, that the name-descriptions are cryptical in a way, that there is a need to change them to fantasy names, but the fact, that the names are used for different purposes dependent from the font format, that you generate. In case of Type 1 the user has to care about the field "Menu Name". In case of OpenType he hasn’t. The field "Family Name" can have different meanings. In case of Type 1 it is the typographic family name. In case of OpenType it is dependent from the content of the fields on the OpenType-specific panel. If the fields on that panel are empty, the "family name" goes to both platforms, Mac/NameID-1 and PC/NameID-1. If they are not empty, it goes to PC/NameID-1 only. And NameID 4 should be dependent from the flavor (PostScript or TrueType). But FontLab always imports the PostScript name to PC/NameID-4.

We are not planning to completely remove name table editor from future FLS

If this means, that you want to remove it partly, I am disappointed. I think, that more people would use it, if the panel wouldn’t be so damn small. You loose the orientation in a scrollable list, in which only a few lines are visible. And I have another idea: Next to every NID-PID-line should be a question mark. If the user clicks on the question mark, a field with the info about the name, which is taken from the specification, should pop up. So please keep in mind, that simplification is not necessarily less confusing, but ask yourself instead, whether the reason for the confusion with the names were the many sections and the cryptical names, or the different handling for the different font file formats. The user should not compelled to change a name, if he wants to generate another font format, except from PC/NameID-4. But in case of PC/NameID-4 the line could be split. And all this could be improved with one or two decent mark colors.
Another improvement would be an item (question mark) next to all fields, that popups a customizable help on click.

I hope I did not make mistakes in this message with regard to the meaning of the names, but the panels are so confusing, that I always have to be very concentrated and in the work of font naming, when I try to remember the meaning. And the last time, that I have generated a Type 1 font, was a year ago. (This does not mean, that FontLab shall not care about Type 1 naming anymore!)

twardoch's picture

> If this means, that you want to remove it partly, I am disappointed.

No, it does not. Come on.

Have you looked at the naming editor in Fontographer 5?

Adam

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Adam

If this means, that you want to remove it partly, I am disappointed.

That is regarding to the name table editor. Fontographer does not have a name table editor.

twardoch's picture

Well, the name table editor will stay as it is in FLS. Maybe sans some bugs.

k.l.'s picture

"Arno Enslin" -- the main problem with the actual name panel of FontLab is [...] that the names are used for different purposes dependent from the font format

Then you should love FM which has separate sets of names for different font formats.

With FM, FLS5 and FOG5, there is a font naming interface and generation method for everyone, from completely-manually over semi-automatic to completely-automatic. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. I am pretty happy that this kind of automatism finally made it into a font editor. No need any more for worries and how-tos. Make a WWS-compliant/WPF-compatible family without much ado. What more do you want?

"Arno Enslin" -- That is regarding to the name table editor. Fontographer does not have a name table editor. [...] Another [FLS] improvement would be an item (question mark) next to all fields, that popups a customizable help on click.

FOG never had a name table editor. It doesn't need one. FOG is meant to make making fonts easy. Obviously your needs and FOG's features are incompatible, so your complaint just doesn't make sense. Also, font editors serve to make fonts first of all, not to modify them. Even FLS is not ideal for the latter task for which other tools exist (like OTM which provides a description next to each name table record).

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Karsten

You seem to have dragged my post out of the context. The context was a question from Nick (However, I do like the sound of automated family naming. Can we have that in FontLab too?!) and one of Yuri’s posts.

k.l.'s picture

Context of this discussion is FOG5 and its naming interface.

twardoch's picture

I must admit that I'm quite relieved that DTL released OTMaster, because combining very high-level and very low-level stuff under one hood in FontLab Studio is what made the app so complex. The combination of fontTools/TTX (where you can postprocess fonts in batch mode) and DTL OTMaster (where you can do it in a GUI) is very convenient.

twardoch's picture

Karsten,

don't be so hard on Arno, I think he may have not quite realized that it's the "Fontographer 5 released" thread. I think I know what he mans.

Therefore, Arno,

(and others): I'd be very keen on your opinions on the FOG5 naming interface, and in general on Font Info in FOG5. Not in the context of comparison with FLS5, but on its own. :)

BTW, in FOG, the fields are not "repurposed" differently, i.e. we tried to make it really consistant.

The reasons why it's the way it is in FLS5 are purely historical, and we'll rearrange them to make much more sense.

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Karsten

Context of this discussion is FOG5 and its naming interface.

That’s absurd. I wrote, that I was regarding to FontLab Studio. And I replied to a comment of Nick.

Except from that, this is senseless:

Also, font editors serve to make fonts first of all, not to modify them.

Who says that? And why do you think, that it is important, to make me aware of that? It is regardless of whether you name or rename a font. And after our discussion on the FontLab forum about naming you should know, that I am technically competent with regard to the internal names. More than many professionals. For me the naming with FontLab Studio is annoying, but absolute no hurdle.

--------

@ Adam

Maybe I should create an image of a better panel for FLS in Photoshop and post it in a new topic. It would be not so different from the original panel, as you may think. I already wrote, that my problem was not primary the panel, but the different meaning of the names with regard to the font formats.

yuri's picture

We probably should write a short tech note on how "new naming" in Fog5 works and where all these names go in each format.

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Yuri

<name>
<!-- M A C - S E C T I O N -->

<!-- Copyright notice -->
<namerecord nameID="0" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
Copyright
</namerecord>

<!-- Font Family name -->
<namerecord nameID="1" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
TypographicFamilyName
</namerecord>

<!-- Font Subfamily name -->
<!-- N E W . A D O B E . N A M I N G . M O D E L ? -->
<namerecord nameID="2" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
StylingLinkName
</namerecord>

<!-- Unique font identifier -->
<namerecord nameID="3" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
<!-- Bug of Font version number? May be caused by AFDKO 2.5. -->
1.000;VEND;PostScriptFontName
</namerecord>

<!-- Full font name -->
<namerecord nameID="4" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
FullFontName
</namerecord>

<!-- Version string -->
<namerecord nameID="5" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
<!-- Bug of Font version number? May be caused by AFDKO 2.5. -->
Version 1.000;PS 001.001;hotconv 1.0.56
</namerecord>

<!-- Postscript name -->
<namerecord nameID="6" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
PostScriptFontName
</namerecord>

<!-- Trademark -->
<namerecord nameID="7" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
Trademark
</namerecord>

<!-- Manufacturer Name -->
<namerecord nameID="8" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
FontVendor
</namerecord>

<!-- Designer -->
<namerecord nameID="9" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
Designer
</namerecord>

<!-- Description -->
<namerecord nameID="10" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
Description
</namerecord>

<!-- URL Vendor -->
<namerecord nameID="11" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
VendorURL
</namerecord>

<!-- URL Designer -->
<namerecord nameID="12" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
DesignerURL
</namerecord>

<!-- License Description -->
<namerecord nameID="13" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
FullLicenseText
</namerecord>

<!-- License Info URL -->
<namerecord nameID="14" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
LicenseURL
</namerecord>

<!-- Preferred Subfamily -->
<!-- U S E F U L . O N . M A C ? Probably because of the new Adobe naming model. See "M A C / Font Subfamily name" -->
<namerecord nameID="17" platformID="1" platEncID="0" langID="0x0">
TypographicStyleName
</namerecord>

<!-- W I N D O W S - S E C T I O N -->

<!-- Copyright notice -->
<namerecord nameID="0" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
Copyright
</namerecord>

<!-- Font Family name -->
<namerecord nameID="1" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
StylingGroupName
</namerecord>

<!-- Font Subfamily name -->
<namerecord nameID="2" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
StylingLinkName
</namerecord>

<!-- Unique font identifier -->
<namerecord nameID="3" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
<!-- Bug of Font version number? May be caused by AFDKO 2.5. -->
1.000;VEND;PostScriptFontName
</namerecord>

<!-- Full font name -->
<namerecord nameID="4" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
<!-- Correct in case of PostScript flavored OpenType -->
PostScriptFontName
</namerecord>

<!-- Version string -->
<namerecord nameID="5" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
<!-- Bug of Font version number? May be caused by AFDKO 2.5. -->
Version 1.000;PS 001.001;hotconv 1.0.56
</namerecord>

<!-- Postscript name -->
<namerecord nameID="6" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
PostScriptFontName
</namerecord>

<!-- Trademark -->
<namerecord nameID="7" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
Trademark
</namerecord>

<!-- Manufacturer Name -->
<namerecord nameID="8" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
FontVendor
</namerecord>

<!-- Designer -->
<namerecord nameID="9" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
Designer
</namerecord>

<!-- Description -->
<namerecord nameID="10" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
Description
</namerecord>

<!-- URL Vendor -->
<namerecord nameID="11" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
VendorURL
</namerecord>

<!-- URL Designer -->
<namerecord nameID="12" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
DesignerURL
</namerecord>

<!-- License Description -->
<namerecord nameID="13" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
FullLicenseText
</namerecord>

<!-- License Info URL -->
<namerecord nameID="14" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
LicenseURL
</namerecord>

<!-- Preferred Family -->
<namerecord nameID="16" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
TypographicFamilyName
</namerecord>

<!-- Preferred Subfamily -->
<namerecord nameID="17" platformID="3" platEncID="1" langID="0x409">
TypographicStyleName
</namerecord>

</name>

<CFF>

<CFFFont name="PostScriptFontName">

<!-- Bug? May be caused by AFDKO 2.5. -->
<version value="001.001"/>

<!-- Bug? Messed up. This also happens in FLS. -->
<Notice value="Copyright"/>

<!-- Bug? Messed up. This also happens in FLS. -->
<Copyright value="Trademark"/>

<FullName value="FullFontName"/>
<FamilyName value="StylingGroupName"/>

-------------

Seems to be closer to the specification, but different from the naming model, that Adobe has used up till the FontFolio 11. And different from the output of FLS. Correct?

k.l.'s picture

"Arno", a lengthy post about FLS's font naming interface in a discussion about FOG made me assume that you imply a relevance for FOG too.
As to different categories of font editors: Category I font editors serve to draw and generate fonts. Import/export of a binary font involves interpretation so that a font is not necessarily "the same" in terms of data before import and after export (FM, FOG, FLS). Category II font editors serve to edit fonts and keep binary fonts intact. Open/save of a binary font and changing individual bits does not affect the rest of the font (TTX, OTM). Add a "more or less" to each of the preceding sentences.

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Karsten

The name table editor, that is integrated in FLS, is not only useful, if you want to import and edit an existing font. In FLS you have the option "Export only OpenType name records - ignore default names". This option in combination with the name table editor is very useful. And all I wanted to say, was, that more people would use the name table editor, if the required records would be marked by a color and if the panel would be higher and the scrollable list longer.

If Nick wishes, that FLS is getting the same panel as Fontographer, he indicates, that it is harder to name a font with FLS. But the reason are not primary cryptical terms, but the different handling of the font formats and the bugs in FLS. The Fontographer panel looks more straightened up, which is an improvement, yes. But if you have a look at the dumped name and CFF table, you may wonder, why the terms from the OT specification shall be less clear than the fantasy terms, that the Fontlab developers have used.

There is often a need for correcting something with TTX. But if the terms, that the editor uses, are different from the terms, that you find in the specification, it is harder to keep the overview.

k.l.'s picture

I guess I know how to use FLS.  ;-)

Labels in both apps' naming dialogs do not need to match any spec's descriptions because, as FOG5's terminology indicates, there is no 1:1 match. Not in FOG. Nor in FLS. The point of FOG's dialog is that designers do not need to care what the name table looks like. (Name IDs' descriptive names are just that and differ even in Apple's original TT spec and MS's/Adobe's OT spec.)

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Karsten

Labels in both apps' naming dialogs do not need to match any spec's descriptions because, as FOG5's terminology indicates, there is no 1:1 match.

But there would be only advantages in taking the terms from the OT specification.

Name IDs' descriptive names are just that and differ even in Apple's original TT spec and MS's/Adobe's OT spec.

The differences are not big:

http://developer.apple.com/fonts/TTRefMan/RM06/Chap6name.html
http://www.microsoft.com/typography/tt/ttf_spec/ttch02.doc
http://www.microsoft.com/typography/otspec/name.htm

And since when is the fact, that there is more than one description of anything, an argument for adding more descriptions? A 2:3 match is better than a 1:4 match, especially if an existing description is meaningful.

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