Recommended hinting methods?

Topy's picture

What would be the best hinting method right now in terms of speed vs quality? I'm making a PostScript OTF. Manual TT hinting is too much for me right now I'm afraid.

- Adobe FDK's autohinter? Any settings or preparations I should be aware of before running the script?
- Adam Twardoch's PS autohinting tutorial?
- Maybe turn the font into TT OTF and use Ttfautohinter? What would be the process in converting to TT OTF? Will it increase the number of points on outline and thus amount to the filesize?
- Any other good methods to consider?

John Hudson's picture

I used to do manual PS hinting because I found situations in which I preferred the results I could achieve that way to what either the FontLab or Adobe autohinter were doing. But I gave up after Adobe took fonts I had made for them in this way and ran them through their autohinter. Now I used the FDK autohinter to generate stem hints. Note that you need to set up standard stem hint values first, and can affect the outcome of alignment zone hinting by adjusting the Blue Scale value.

hrant's picture

Question: does Adobe's autohinter work with Latin fonts only/better? And this question can be extended to any other auto-hinting software.


John Hudson's picture

Hrant: does Adobe's autohinter work with Latin fonts only/better?

It's script agnostic: it identifies stems based on outline architecture, and doesn't involve any knowledge of what the glyphs are. This fits with Adobe's long term hinting and rasterising philosophy: PS stem hints, alignment Blue zones and Blue Scale values, and standard stem values provides hints to the rasteriser about the architecture of the glyph. So it makes more sense to ask whether the rasteriser works better with some scripts than others, rather than asking whether the hinting tool does.

Richard Fink's picture

Topy, PS hints and TT hints are two completely different animals. What's your target market?
Do you have the time to provide both OTF with PS hints and TTF with TT hints?

Topy's picture

Thanks for the comments! Well if it's good enough for Adobe, I guess it's good enough for me. Its definitely targeted for print, but I guess in the end there'll be always some people who want to use it on screen. So I'm thinking modest preparing for that can't hurt.

I was thinking about turning the font to TT for the Ttfautohinter, but I'm not sure if it's worth the trouble. I have never made TT fonts before and don't know exactly what's involved.

Richard, what would be the benefits of doing both PS and TT versions? I mean, doesn't TT OT work just as well for printing?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Would you consider hiring a TrueType hinter? Converting to TT adds to the file size, but using components wisely can save quite a bit. PM if you want a qoute.

Topy's picture

Frode, thanks but I think I'll manage with PS hints for now. Good to know for the future, though.

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