Kerning for Postscript fonts in CS5.5

Queneau's picture

Hi,

I am having problems with the kerning of Postscript fonts from URW (older ones from 1994). These used to work effortlessly in CS3 and before, but now they give the curious problem that the bold weights from a suitcase do not show kerning, where the regular weights show it normally. URW used to issue their fonts (from the typeworks collection) in different forms, the "family" way: as suitcases containing regular, italic, bold, bold italic (when available) or as seperate suitcase for each weight. The kerning works for the single weights, but does not for the family, or at least not for the bold weights.

Do you have any idea why this is the case, does it have to do with CS5.5, or does it have to do with the OS (lion)??

thanks!

Karl Stange's picture

Could it have something to do with a joint AFM file in the family collection not being interpreted or recognized correctly? Also, how are you activating the fonts, through the system, through a font manager or through the application fonts folder?

Queneau's picture

I'm managing my fonts with FontExplorer Pro for mac, the latest version.

I did notice that FEX Pro seems to have difficulty interpreting the kerning in PS T1 files, perhaps the problem lies here, indeed?

Karl Stange's picture

I can't think why that would make a difference but I would test the application font folder as well (first deactivating in FEX) just to see if it makes a difference.

Karl Stange's picture

I did notice that FEX Pro seems to have difficulty interpreting the kerning in PS T1 files, perhaps the problem lies here, indeed?

You could also try recompiling the fonts in a different format, strictly for testing purposes, to see if it makes a difference.

Queneau's picture

I checked activating directly via the System fonts folder, but this gives the same results. I have to correst what I said before, as it seems that ONLY the regular weight has kerning, the other weights in the suitcase do not.

strange....

Queneau's picture

@Karl,

how would I be able to do this?

Queneau's picture

What is strange as well, is that it seems to work for some fonts, but not for others, but I have not yet found out what the differences are, some have different names for the different weights, like book or medium, which seems to make a difference. Another confusing thing is, that bitstream Postscript fonts seem to have no problem. Perhaps this is a specific naming issue??

Karl Stange's picture

I have encountered problems over the years with old Postscript Type 1 data, particularly where a large number of weights/styles are grouped under a single Suitcase component.

The application font folder can be found:

Applications/Adobe InDesign CS5.5/Fonts

It is very handy as it picks up fonts instantly within the app without the need to restart.

Queneau's picture

I put the files in the application fonts folder, and now it works!!

But this still leaves the question, what causes this problem, and could it be solved in an easier way? I use FEX because I want to make font management easy and to keep the overview, now I have to start dragging font files around, which of course increases the chance of errors. And I do not understand that my old Mac with the old Indesign did seam to handle it.

Theunis de Jong's picture

Lion -- and its predecessor, Snow Leopard -- does not natively support Type 1 fonts. Anything you got on an older machine had to do with its older OS. Equally, anything you get now with your Lion setup must be courtesy of FontExplorer, because it cannot be the system itself.
So check if FEX has a history, dealing with Type 1 fonts.

kentlew's picture

Many have said that the days of Postscript Type 1 support at the system level are numbered. It appears that with Lion & Snow Lion those days have run out.

Because it uses its own font-rendering engine, Adobe is likely to privately support Postscript Type 1 longer than the Macintosh operating systems, although perhaps unofficially. So, making the fonts available to Adobe apps via one of the Adobe Application or Application Support > Fonts folders will enable Postscript Type 1 fonts to be fully functional even when they are not otherwise supported (but only within the Adobe suite).

As you have discovered, Jeffrey.

Karl Stange's picture

Lion -- and its predecessor, Snow Leopard -- does not natively support Type 1 fonts.

Aside from the fallback Multiple Master fonts in the System/Library/Fonts folder, no Postscript data is distributed with the operating system (referring specifically to Lion 10.7.3) but it is possible to add Macintosh formatted Postscript Type 1 fonts to the system font folders. I was able to add a Postscript Type 1 collection to the Library/Fonts folder which was then recognised by FontBook and picked up by TextEdit, Word 2011 and Adobe CS6.

Theunis de Jong's picture

Hmmm. Karl, I bet you are right, and I mixed up plain vanilla Type 1 files (pfb, pfm, afm) with the specially formatted Mac versions. On a Mac, the former are usable only by Adobe applications. I haven't seen the latter for some decades now, so I assumed they went out of style long ago.

Karl Stange's picture

Type 1 files (pfb, pfm, afm)

I went the whole hog and tried the same thing with a pfb file in the Library/Fonts folder and that did not get picked up by the system or show up in any applications. However, as you (and Kent) say, adding it to the Applications/Adobe InDesign CS6/Fonts folder did make it show up in InDesign.

Queneau's picture

So, if I would like to still use these fonts, I have to either dump them the application fonts folder (which is inpractical) or convert these to OpenType? If I would want to do the second, what is the best way? I have tries FontXchange, but this does weird things to font names, and gives unpredictable results, so I don't want to use that. any ideas?

Karl Stange's picture

So, if I would like to still use these fonts, I have to either dump them the application fonts folder (which is inpractical) or convert these to OpenType?

If the original URW license permits you to modify them then conversion to OpenType would definitely be your best course of action. I am not familiar with FontXchange but I generally use FontLab or FontForge to do this kind of work.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Use Smasher, an app (by Insider Software), to extract the different font styles from the suitcase(s). OS X does not like family styles in suitcases.

Queneau's picture

I tried Smasher, but it causes more problems than it solves... I don't know why, but when I smash the fonts, and then import them, every style (r, i, b, bi) shows up, but each with a family attached of non-functioning fonts, so instead of 4 fonts, it shows 16...

Karl Stange's picture

What URW fonts are you working with?

Queneau's picture

The Tyeworks 1 and 2 collections, quite a few...

Karl Stange's picture

You could try FontLab's TransType software:

http://www.fontlab.com/font-converter/transtype/

They have a cheaper online tool but it is restricted to Windows and thus Windows PS (pfb and pfm) fonts only.

Karl Stange's picture

They have a cheaper online tool but it is restricted to Windows and thus Windows PS (pfb and pfm) fonts only.

Actually, I might be wrong about that, judging by the screen grab on the page:

http://www.fontlab.com/use-online/

dezcom's picture

.

Queneau's picture

Thanks for the tip, Karl. Unfortunately it does not yet function on my OS (Lion)...

Queneau's picture

I think I will try to work with the (non-stylelinked) Single master versions, as they do not have problems with kerning. I think style-linking helps my workflow, but I guess I just have to work without it.

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