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We have a situation where our identity font is displaying terribly in Microsoft 2010 on Windows 7. The font looks great in InDesign and Illustrator. The font family is OpenType with PostScript outlines, aka CFF. This behavior is consistent for any OpenType font from Adobe, ie Myriad Pro or Adobe Garamond.
I am nearly certain that the Windows font rendering engine is optimized for TrueType outlines and renders PostScript outlines poorly. I also think that Adobe is using a different rendering engine for the Creative Suite applications, perhaps their own. I have not been able to find any specific documentation of these statements.
Does this ring true? Does anyone know of specific documentation of poor font rendering in Windows applications, especially MS Office?
Apologies for the nerdiness on a first post.
In the midst of some last checks before releasing my first real font, I noticed an unpleasant beating frequency effect on repeated characters at smallish ppems when testing on Windows 7 with the "Natural" mode of DirectWrite ClearType rendering (tested via Firefox with the Anti-aliasing Tuner add-on). The characters phase in and out of different degrees of bluriness.
With a bit of investigation, it looks like this is due to fractional advance widths. I was hoping to be able to control for this by slightly adjusting the advance width phantom point via TrueType hinting. However, it looks like Windows is ignoring that in this rendering mode and using only the designed width instead.
It is simplified, but generally speaking these are main possible paths with default settings.
X axis is market share (with some guessing).
I know a small examples of renderings could be included for better understanding, and I will post this & other refinements later.
A few things not mentioned:
Linux with FreeType rendering, but I have no idea how many people use subpixel rendering or other settings. Each setting has probably less than 1% of users.
Quartz rendering does also other types than subpixel AA, but I would say they are in minority (I really don't know).
There is also an old version of Safari, with Quartz rendering on Windows with default setting.
According to Dick Brass, a former Microsoft VP, it was internal political sabotage:
“[O]ther Microsoft groups… felt threatened by our success.