FontLab - hints?

pitsi_Theo's picture

I created a font in illustrator and then i use fontlab.
My question is what's going on with the hints?
I have to do something particular in fontlab?
Also what font should i make truetype or opentype?

pitsi_Theo's picture


Té Rowan's picture

Insufficient data for analysis.

jasonc's picture

Yes, you have to hint it yourself, if you expect to see hinted results

altsan's picture

My question is what's going on with the hints?

You'll have to be more specific than that. What's wrong with them at the moment?

I have to do something particular in fontlab?

Well, yes. You can tell it to generate automatic hints, I believe. (I don't have FS but it must be in the program settings.)

Also what font should i make truetype or opentype?

If you have to ask that, then it's highly likely that you don't need the special features provided by OpenType. TrueType is still more widely supported so that's probably your best bet.

pitsi_Theo's picture

There is nothing wrong with the hints. Just wondering if it's necessary to do something with them, because i wrote with my font in illustrator and it looks fine.
I have made about 100 glyphs. If my font had more glyphs then i could create an OpenType?
I am so sorry if i wasn't specific, but it's the first time i try to make a font and i am a little bit confused.

Karl Stange's picture

I have made about 100 glyphs. If my font had more glyphs then i could create an OpenType?

With so few glyphs, as Alex said you probably do not need to worry about OpenType features but outputting in one of the OpenType formats would probably be the best approach. If you would like to output Postscript (cubic bezier) outlines then you should generate an OpenType PS font. If you would like to output TrueType (quadratic bezier) outlines then you should generate a Windows TrueType/OpenType TT font. It is most likely that you will be working with Postscript (cubic beziers) by default when importing from Illustrator.

In terms of the number glyphs/characters you would only need to worry if you were creating an older Postscript Type 1 font, which has a restriction on the number of characters, limited to 256 depending on the encoding.

You would probably find Leslie Cabaga's book, Learn FontLab Fast very helpful.

pitsi_Theo's picture

Yes, i am working with cubic beziers!
I will read the book that you recommend.
Thank you so much.

Igor Freiberger's picture

FontLab let you export the font as TT or OT (or even other formats). Your .fvb file is not attained to any of these output ways. Even if all your work was done with cubic Bézier curves, you can still export it directly as TrueType, which uses quadratic ones (and it is also possible to convert the contour to quadratic or cubic curves anytime).

Regarding hints, you can define them (1) manually; (2) using a FontLab auto feature; or (3) using a free command-line program provided by Adobe after exporting the font. This may be done at any moment, but I prefer to define them as soon as I design a glyph.

If you decide to manually add hints, there is a nice trick: use links instead of hints. Links are very similar to hints, but aimed to TT output. The advantage to use links in a production scenario is that it follows contour changes (I mean, if you decide to make a stem thicker, the link will follow it). In a later moment, you can convert all links to hints, although this is not necessary as FontLab will take care of this when generating the font. Keyboard shortcuts to add links are [ and ].

Be careful about the result you get in Illustrator. To judge if a font will render and print well, you may test it in text editors and do small-size printings (from 6pt and above). A non-hinted font may present decent result in Illustrator, Photoshop or InDesign due to the typographic controls these applications offer, but then produce an ugly result in something like Word.

Besides this, you may consider to develop your whole font inside FontLab. To design in Illustrator and then bring the contour to FL is perfectly possible, but this soon become far from ideal when your font grows up. About three years ago I was in your position when designing fonts for the first time. As I knew Illustration well, it was easier to me to design the contours with it. But experienced typophilers suggested to invest some time in FontLab and do all design with it. This proved to be a splendid advice as after two months I was producing much quicker in FontLab than using the Illustrator-to-FL workflow.

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