If only...

Chris Washer's picture


The forums have been acting quite strangely in the last few days. I'm certain I've already posted this thread.

Anyway, not having illustrator or and equivalent has me trying to create fonts using pixels for now. Until I get a computer (soon, hopefully) this is what it has to be. Unless, someone knows of a workable and free alternative to illustrator (or freehand for that matter) for drawing outlines.

So, here is what I have been working on until I can turn it into a conventional font using a program such as illustrator.

I guess try to imagine it as not being a bitmap. I suppose that using paths will totally change its appearance, however. Well, this is it for now.


- Chris

Jon Whipple's picture

Christopher, if you have access to a machine running Linux then Inkscape and SodiPodi and Skencil some to mind. These are vector drawing prgrams. To me Inkcape is the most comfortable (I'm an Illustartor user for most of my regualr workaday employment). If you don't have access to a computer then none of these will really help. Also on linux for free is Font Forge for drawing and making fonts.

But really, what with the other stuff you have shown here and in the other categories, I'd keep going down the bitmap road and feel good about it.


speter's picture

You need not have Linux to run the open-source programs Jon mentioned, though. Inkscape and SodiPodi both run on Windows and in the X environment on Mac OS X. FontForge will run in the X environment of Mac OS X and under Cygwin on Windows, too.

Chris Washer's picture

Thankyou very much for those links! I've felt absolutely paralysed having no means of designing anything. There seems to be a shortage of the G5 I want; I'm stuck on my Dad's PC. Well, back to the drawing board with a vengeance!

Just this evening I began work on another pixel font, with a few greys for added precision. Spacing pixel fonts properly (even when you are making them in phoshop itself) is damn-near impossible :-S. Quite fun, though.

Me and my little brother are working on some HTML compositing ideas. He has made up a system where you type a word and it will set that word using the font. However, the future of this seems grim where the typeface is not monospaced. hmm. more on this later. Watch this space. Or, well the pixel threads, perhaps.

Jon Whipple's picture

Indeed, Steve speak the truth. I myself run these application under X Windows on my Mac using a combination of Apple's X11 and Fink.

Spacing pixel fonts properly (even when you are making them in phoshop itself) is damn-near impossible
I have to say though that getting down close like that will probably give you an eye for hinting and kerning outlines...stuff I have yet to learn.

Hang in there man. I hope you get a machine soon.


hrant's picture

> I guess try to imagine it as not being a bitmap.

Are you sure you really want that? :-)

It seems to me that if this is really just a placeholder for an outline font, you're effectively drawing skeletons or something. Or at least you're imposing some quite peculiar (but possible nicely exploratory) restrictions on the results... Hmmm.

Spacing bitmaps:
It's a very discrete (and sometimes discreat!) exercise, where some global "on-off" type decisions have to be made before you do much actualy work. And grays don't alleviate the "problem", they just spin it into a third dimension... or something. Damned if I know what that means... Hmmm, just do it dude!


kris's picture

Mr Washer, I presume? I hope graduation went well for you! Good luck finding gainful and rewarding employment.

No comp? In the meantime, get a pencil and lotsa paper, and draw. Seriously, Downtown Brown was right. I have been doing it a lot! Maybe we can compare notebooks sometimes these holidays.

Chris Washer's picture

Ah, hi there Kris.

I managed to find myself a 20" iMac amidst big waiting lists all over the place. Told them to hold it, then they got six calls and 2 customers wanting to buy it, within few hours.

I've been sketching a few things recently; i'll find myself some web space and perhaps put up a few pages. After seeing the "A Ghost is Born" I saw the modest mouse things coming a mile away! I like the "the good times are killing me" one.

My brother has finished a basic version of this pixel font composition. It has the ability to add ligatures (which is essential with the troublesome spacing associated with pixel fonts). More on this later, especially since I've only made a lower case font for it. Caps is on the way. -- I just had a suggestion for him regarding ligatures...

I think you are right about the skeleton thing; if I am going to design in a conventional manner then I should most likely "keep it real" and put pencil to paper. I think I just get a real kick out of pixel-pushing. Er, rock on. Or something.

- on another note
Does anyone know of a free alternative to suitcase? I cant stand it moving my fonts to those giant communual system font folders. I shoudl find a font previewer perhaps...

- Chris

hrant's picture

> ability to add ligatures (which is essential with the
> troublesome spacing associated with pixel fonts)

I hadn't thought of that! Integhesting...


Syndicate content Syndicate content