Converting PNG files into TTF?

Broc T. Glover's picture

Hi everyone!

Here is my burning question...

Is there any way (program or otherwise) in which I can convert PNG files into TTF files? I've been trying to offer a font of mine to several font companies and they all want either TTF or OTFs. They have no interest in my PNGs so I'm dead in the water until I can convert them.

Thanks for your help!!!

Joshua Langman's picture

There is no program that will do this for you automatically. TTF and OTF are font formats, not image formats, and creating a font takes considerable time, effort, and skill. Some type design programs may have "auto-trace" type features that can automate the conversion somewhat, but you will still have to put in a great deal of work.

You need a type design program, such as those sold by FontLab. They have several to choose from; TypeTool is the cheapest and simplest for creating very basic fonts.

By the way, how did you make your font originally? It looks very similar to a logo that I can't put my finger on at the moment.

HVB's picture

PNG, like JPG or BMP or a photograph, is a raster image. If you have letters in such a format, they may be considered as a graphic alphabet, but just because the pictures happen to be in the shape of letters, it isn't a font.

There are programs such as Scanfont (from the makers of FontLab) and FontCreator that can trace the bitmaps and place the resulting vector outlines into a font. There are also programs, such as Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw, that will do the autotrace, which you can then copy into a font creation program such as FontLab.

But that's only a quick and dirty way to create a usable font. It will probably not even have smooth outlines; it would need to be tweaked and babied for quite a while before getting anything acceptable.

It would be better to use your existing images as guides, then use the built-in design capabilities of a font creation program to re-draw the outlines properly.

Incidentally, the design looks much like this one (only better):
http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/cheapprofonts/geometry-soft-pro/bold-c/

Broc T. Glover's picture

Thanks for your reply, Joshua

I drew each character (each rather large) by hand. On paper. Then scanned them and they ended up as PNGs. I don't own nor have I ever tried to use a type design program. This was and is my first attempt at designing a font. Total novice here. But I put a lot of work into what I have and cringe at the thought of having to start all over again.

The font (which I've named Shine) was inspired by a fictional font briefly seen in the 2005 CGI-animated film "Robots." I have a post in "Display" on Typophile with a few examples.

Broc T. Glover's picture

Well, I did have examples in the "Display" catagory. Seems it has been deleted?

Broc T. Glover's picture

Thanks to you also, HVB!

HVB's picture

re: "Display Category" - Typophile was recently changed - I wouldn't know where to look for it!

There are a couple of free autotrace applications out there (you'd have to look for them), and there's a good free font development program called FontForge, which has an unusual user interface and is anything but straightforward to install (an understatement).

- Herb

Joshua Langman's picture

Punchstock logo. Other versions show more letters. Designed by Jennifer Katcha and Kevin Wade.

Not the same, but similar.

russellm's picture

How many glyphs (characters, numerals & etc) have you got?
For Less that $100, Fontlab's Typetool will do the job if you don't plan to include OpenType features. Based on my own experience, it will be much faster to draw/trace your glyphs by hand with the pen tool in a font design application than auto-tracing. Auto-tracing entails a lot of time consuming clean up to get decent vectors.
Your font contains a lot of repeated shapes, so with a bit of 'cut and paste' it won't be as bad as it might seem at first glance.

The fun thing about making fonts it that drawing the characters isn't even half the battle. :o)

Broc T. Glover's picture

I have only the 48 glyphs shown above. But each is fairly high-resolution.

Thanks to everyone who has responded. I do appreciate it and will look into all of your suggestions.

Broc T. Glover's picture

I was going to post a screen capture of the font seen in the movie however it won't upload (even though it said it was successful).

HVB's picture

I found it in your posts from a year ago - here:
http://typophile.com/files/Robots%20movie%20screen%20shot_4844.PNG

ralf h.'s picture

The already mentioned ScanFont is probably the best solution. It was made for exactly this purpose:
http://www.fontlab.com/font-converter/scanfont/

riccard0's picture

Here’s the mentioned thread: http://typophile.com/node/80838

Broc T. Glover's picture

Thank you again to everyone. I really do appreciate your advice and the links you've provided.

hrant's picture

I just hope 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios don't sic their lawyer armies on you.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

This is fairly simple to do in a vector drawing program.
Draw a path and apply a stroke value.
A bonus: you can create many weights from the skeleton.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

How did you make those pngs? No vector illustration program was ever involved in this?

Broc T. Glover's picture

Yes, the possibility of being visited by attorneys. I had pondered that dilemma. Reluctantly.

All I can say in my defense (which is little) is the typeface was shown only briefly and for only two phrases at different points in the movie. I designed more than half of the alphabet glyphs myself as well as all of the numerals and punctuation. The typeface seen was only loosely rendered without a lot of care taken for precision. This "font" I have drawn up is, I suppose, my interpretation of what they had shown in the film.

There was a film from 1980 called Xanadu in which the title used a very unusual and striking typeface. Only five unique glyphs were used X,A,N,D and U. A woman artist whos name I can't recall at the moment used these five glyphs as the basis of an entire TrueType font. Offering a complete alphabet including numerals, punctuation. etc. You can view the font by Googling "xanadu font." It's quite attractive with a 1920s/1930s art deco look.

Still, Fox/Blue Sky could very well scream copyright infringement at me. Loudly.

But how did the "Xanadu font" artist pull it off without angering Universal Pictures?

Broc T. Glover's picture

No, I didn't use a vector program. In retrospect I wish I had. But, alas, I didn't have access to a vector or FontLab-style program.

So I decided to do it the old, OLD-fashion way.

I drew up each glyph on a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of white paper. With pencil, pen and marker. My numerals were about 8" tall and letters 5" or so. Using the geometric parameters I could visually extract from the movie versions. Then I scanned them and turned them into PNGs. After some painstaking pixel-by-pixel touch-ups on each glyph they are actually of high quality and precision. Yet, as I have found out, they remain useless as raster images.

hrant's picture

But how did the "Xanadu font" artist pull it off without angering Universal Pictures?

The Law works in mysterious ways.

hhp

Broc T. Glover's picture

Wanted to mention that from the very beginning I intended this typeface to be freeware if I ever finished it. Never intended to profit from it in any way. I just thought the design was cool so I drew it up.

hrant's picture

Not profiting was once used as a defense in court. Didn't work.

But frankly I have a feeling you don't need to worry too much.

hhp

Joshua Langman's picture

Type designs are not copyrightable in the U.S. I think it is very unlikely you could be successfully sued for designing a font that's inspired by another font. Indeed, designers — both amateur and professional — do this all the time.

If a studio really wanted to "sic their lawyers on you," they could probably find some clever way of doing it, and I wouldn't entirely put it past them, but it's hard to imagine they would go to the trouble, or even discover your font in the first place. The fact remains that — so far as I know — there is nothing whatsoever illegal about this, and you should proceed with the assurance that the law is on your side.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property_protection_of_typefaces

Has anyone ever successfully sued a type designer over copyright infringement based on the appearance (as opposed to the programming) of a font?

hrant's picture

Ever heard of a "frivolous lawsuit"? The thing with the US legal system is that corporations can crush puny little individuals simply by squashing them with a lawyer-army sledgehammer; the individual simply cannot afford to fight back even if the case has zero merit. Why do you think we're in such a mess?

hhp

Broc T. Glover's picture

Thank you, Nick! It would be fun to experiment with various weights as well as extended and condensed versions.

Broc T. Glover's picture

Thanks very nuch, Joshua. I appreciate your thoughts and advice. And the link too. Very helpful!

Broc T. Glover's picture

Y'all may have seen this already but here is one of two instances in the film where the typeface is shown. The second instance read "think big!"

Dang... The image won't upload. Says "upload complete" yet no image. Well, if you haven't seen it and you're not bored to tears yet, here is a link to my original thread. The movie screen capture is towards the bottom.

http://www.typophile.com/node/80838

Theunis de Jong's picture

Bear, what software do you have? The only free one I know of is FontForge, and it's not for the faint of heart.

I made a quick go at it, used Illustrator CS6 to auto-trace your PNG, and with a bit of parameter tinkering I got a very close match. Then I copied the outlines into InDesign and used a tool of my own to convert it into a Type 1 flavored OpenType font. All in all about an hour or so of work.

It needed a bit of fiddling to get reasonable left and right side bearings, and you also might want to know that curved bottoms and tops should actually stick out a bit of the 'regular box' -- above and below the straight lines in your 'z'.

An interesting project because of your fantastic swash-like extensions on the 'b', 'k', and 'q' -- I'm not sure I got those right. Perhaps these need OpenType features and swashless alternates for these characters, or maybe some ligatures.

Broc T. Glover's picture

Thank you so much, Theunis! That was very kind of you to go to the trouble to help me like you have. I do appreciate it!

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