Fontlab and Touchscreen support

Typogruffer's picture

Hey guys,
Did anyone use FLstudio on a touchscreen monitor. What are your experiences? With the advent of Windows 8 I am planning to get a touchscreen PC and I was wondering if it is easy to work in FLStudio on a touchscreen machine
Thanks
T

oldnick's picture

This may seem like a stupid question, but: Why? Just because you have a touchscreen doesn't mean that you HAVE to use it with EVERY program, especially if it involves changing well-established work habits...IMHO.

hrant's picture

Make sure you get a support for your elbow...

hhp

Typogruffer's picture

@nick I just thought it would be more intuitive to draw with a stylus.
@hrant thanks a lot for the advice :) I'll keep that in mind.

Karl Stange's picture

I would be intrigued to try one of the Wacom Cintiq displays but it would simply be another way of achieving the same results and personally I have always preferred working with a mouse rather than a stylus, which has always felt counter-intuitive in a computer environment.

adiron's picture

I've used a Wacom tablet - not a touch screen, but their tablets. In my opinion, for path editing it's not ideal to say the least. Digital drawing/painting are great with tablets however. Some find it handy in photo retouching as well. It all depends on you.

Maybe borrow a friend's tablet and see how it feels to draw on it in general.

Karl Stange's picture

Maybe borrow a friend's tablet and see how it feels to draw on it in general.

Not sure if that is aimed at me, but I have tried a standard Wacom tablet and could not get on with it, it felt too clunky and detached from what was happening; perhaps because I am so used to the precision when using a pen or pencil on paper.

Typogruffer's picture

I wrote the question in a haste as I'd not considered my workflow. I realized after getting the basic path right, I mainly use a keyboard. So probably touchscreen is not such a good idea.
BTW, I tested the font I was developing in Windows 7 and Windows 8. There is definitely a new technology in windows 8 as my font appears more crisp and beautiful than windows 7 even w/0 hinting

Richard Fink's picture

>I tested the font I was developing in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Tested how? Same screen for both? Apples to apples? Please explain.

I haven't used Win8 at all yet and was wondering about it.
All I know is: the Surface tablet does not have a high-end screen res.
And that's OK, it doesn't need it IMHO - I'd rather see a price lower than the iPad, but the price MSFT is asking, I think is still too high.

John Hudson's picture

The Win8 Metro environment uses a new asymmetric greyscale rendering system combined with subpixel positioning.

Typogruffer's picture

Tested how? Same screen for both? Apples to apples? Please explain.

Yes on the same machine. I dual booted windows 8 and Windows7 onto the same machine

Win8 Metro environment

John sir, though MS no longer uses metro, I got your point but just to be clear, you meant the whole windows ecosystem right( I mean Desktop + Metro/Modern Interface ) of Windows8 right? As the desktop part of windows8 is mostly windows7 with improvements under the hood like adding ribbon interface etc. and AFAIK, fonts can be easily installed only on computers and not on tablet environments

John Hudson's picture

I meant the Metro environment, i.e. the new Win8 interface and apps designed to work within it (as distinct from the Desktop environment, which is still working with a mix of GDI and DWrite).

I think there are at least three different MS text rendering engines at work in Windows 8, not counting the old GDI PostScript renderer.

Typogruffer's picture

@John sir, I tested my font by just opening it to install and immediately noticed the difference. It is more dark and less jagged. I didn't bother to check further as FontLab doesn't work on windows8. I will try to look at other apps now.

Richard Fink's picture

JH>The Win8 Metro environment uses a new asymmetric greyscale rendering system combined with subpixel positioning. (Plus the later clarifications......)

Thank you, John. That puts things into perspective somewhat for me. In other words, to use the old acronym, SNAFU.

Then I guess my question boils down to what engine is IE10 using?
Or - to the point - are there any webfont gotchas or peculiarities to watch out for.

John Hudson's picture

I'm not sure about IE10 with regard to Win8. I believe it should use DWrite in non-Win8 environments (which means it will provide CT rendering for CFF as well as TTF), but I don't know how integrated it is in Metro in Win8. I'm not running Win8 yet.

Thomas Phinney's picture

IE 10 under Win 8 uses the new rendering, I'm told.

My suspicion is that the new rendering is a bit of a step backwards in quality. It is of course more flexible, as it can be used unchanged regardless of screen rotation, and it's higher performance for lower-powered environments. But it's a tradeoff against rendering quality.

T

Typogruffer's picture

Firefox switched to DirectWrite during version 4 and they said the results were pretty good. If IE10 is also using Dwrite, then it should be decent and I just checked it. I took Ellen L's thinking with type website as my example as it contains awfully small text(I am in my early 20s and both my eyes and head hurt if I read that website for some time & god knows about elders) I compared the same text in both the web browsers and as you can clearly see*, IE10's rendering is far superior than Firefox's( I am assuming that FF uses Dwrite and not GDI http://blog.mozilla.org/nattokirai/2011/08/11/directwrite-text-rendering...).
So, Thomas I think what you said might be wrong as the render quality is pretty good in IE10 and this is on windows 7 BTW). The left one is Firefox 17 and right is IE10 both on windows 7
*The comparison Image
UPDATE: I did read at some forums that after enabling directwrite, the fonts look fuzzy and light. Google Chrome 22 doesn't use DirectWrite and I have compared it with both Frefox17 and IE10 which uses DirectWrite. I observed that IE10s rendering beats both firefox and chrome while firefox is slightly better(almost negligibly) than chrome. I am attaching the images here but the difference is not really noticeable. You have to check it for yourself.

oldnick's picture

I wasn't pleased with the results that I got with a Wacom tablet, either: it may work well for sketching, but I found that drawing with the mouse allowed a greater level of control.

Also, I used to be a faithful user of Firefox but, in the past four months or so, it seems that each subsequent revision has caused more problems than it has fixed. Once again, the standards wars go on, and end users are left with having to choose between too many conflicting advantages and disadvantages in competing browsers...bummer.

Typogruffer's picture

@oldnick I have to disagree here. I stop using Firefox after version 4 as it constantly crashed and they realized that they were losing their base faster to chrome. After version 15 they got their act together. Their latest browser is very fast and stable. My only crib is their font rendering is kind of crappy. You should give firefox 17 a try.

John Hudson's picture

Chaitanya, in your comparison image, all three browsers are using some form of colour subpixel rendering, so none of these is the new Win8 greyscale rendering. It looks like two different versions of ClearType: the two on the left are consistent, but the one on the right is lighter. I used a zoom tool to examine the pixel colouring.

As I recall, when FireFox introduced DWrite support, it was not on by default, but needed to be set in preferences. I don't know whether they changed this in more recent builds. Unless one knows enough to be able to spot the differences between GDI and DWrite versions of ClearType, the best way to determine which is in use is to look at CFF PostScript fonts: under GDI these will have crappy greyscale rendering, under DWrite they will have ClearType rendering.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Typogruffer: I specified IE 10 under Windows 8. You say you are seeing something different in Windows 7. This is not a contradiction.

John wrote: "Unless one knows enough to be able to spot the differences between GDI and DWrite versions of ClearType"

Well, looking for Y-direction anti-aliasing (or the jaggy lack thereof, in GDI ClearType with curves coming off the horizontal) is a pretty good clue with TrueType fonts. But yes, the difference with CFF is more obvious.

T

Typogruffer's picture

I will try to do these tests on windows 8 and comeback

Typogruffer's picture

I want to understand a couple of things clearly as I don't want to put the proverbial foot in my mouth again.(Thomas you were right)
1) Windows 8 Metro interface(the start screen and all the metro apps) use grayscale subpixel rendering. They are using this as RGB subpixel rendering is not optimized for both Portrait and Landscape mode and moving text during animations
2) Windows 8 desktop environment still uses the subpixel RGB rendering though desktop IE10 uses greyscale subpixel rendering.
3) Some applications can still access the the old GDI rendering

Okay I hope I am right in all the above cases
and now coming back to the experiment. I compared the text rendering of small text on all the three browsers in desktop mode of windows 8. You can clearly see the grayscale rendering of IE10 vs the RGB rendering of FFand Chrome
Image Hosted by ImageTitan.com
The rendering of text looks fuzzy and the shapes are not very clear because of the greyscale subpixel rendering.
Image Hosted by ImageTitan.com
Image Hosted by ImageTitan.com
That being said, i do like the subpixel grayscale rendering as it reduces jaggedness at the larger sizes.
IE10 uses grayscale rendering and the antialising is very good when compared chrome's and firefox's RGB rendering which is poor.
Image Hosted by ImageTitan.com
@John FF17 by default uses Hardware acceleration and hence directwrite.

Typogruffer's picture

What display technology does iPads use?

Mark Simonson's picture

Quartz, same as Macs, except without the subpixel antialiasing.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Typogruffer: I believe your points 1, 2, and 3 above are all correct.

However, it's important to note with regard to (2) that there is not just "the" subpixel RGB rendering. There is GDI ClearType, and DirectWrite ClearType. DirectWrite ClearType is much better than GDI ClearType.

The screenshot you posted shows Metro's Grayscale ClearType in IE 10. But the FF17 and Chrome23 samples are definitely showing GDI ClearType, and not DirectWrite ClearType. One can tell by the lack of Y-direction anti-aliasing, visible as jagginess on curves just as they come off the horizontal.

Side note, my opinion: Metro's so-called Grayscale ClearType is often preferable to GDI ClearType for font rendering at larger sizes, and inferior to it with most fonts at smaller body text sizes. It is certainly better than the old GDI Grayscale rendering. But none of these are as good as DirectWrite ClearType, especially at small sizes.

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