The reason for its popularity was that, besides its full feature set and clean output, its interface was understandable by mere mortals. However, Fontographer languished when Macromedia acquired it from Altsys in the mids. FontLab acquired Fontographer in , and that year released version 4. The recently released version 5 of Fontographer maintains its user-friendly interface while replacing its font-generating engine with the engine from FontLab's high-end tool FontLab Studio.
It also adds new features to support the latest font technologies, including OpenType. For example, if you have a thin version of a font and a thick version, but need something in-between, it can generate new fonts with thicknesses between the two. If you need a heavier or lighter version of an existing font, it can generate one for you. It can also create a condensed version of a font that isn't simply horizontally scaled , and generate true composite fractions from existing single numbers.
If you don't like the kerning or letterspacing of a font, it can automatically generate new spacing, or let you manually generate optimal spacing. You can also add new glyphs to an existing font, such as a company logo, icons for signage, or a missing character. All these features can be lifesavers when the font you're using in a project isn't as expansive or professional as you need. Its View By pop-up menu provides 12 different ways to look at your glyphs, including Character, Keystroke, Unicode value and width.
Supports many formats You can also use Fontographer to professionally convert fonts from one format to another. It supports all the basic features the same features found in PostScript or TrueType fonts, such as kerning and ligatures , but not some of the advanced layout features. Fontographer 5 discards these features and will not generate them in your new font.
However, you can create a text file containing instructions for these features, and then Fontographer will include them in the new font. Experienced Fontographer users will appreciate many improvements, including the ability to import and export projects in the FontLab Studio format, which makes it easier to collaborate.
Also, it now displays smooth anti-aliased outlines, zooms up to percent, provides expanded Unicode and encoding tables, offers a redesigned Font Info dialog with intelligent font family naming, has a powerful new Glyph Search feature, and accepts most bitmap formats for autotracing. Version 5 now uses the more advanced on-screen autohinting algorithms developed by Adobe and FontLab, and can produce fonts with more than 20, characters. Additional tools In addition to Fontographer's features, the included page manual contains a wealth of clearly explained information about font features and technology, including tips by successful font designers.
In addition, its appendices point you to the best books and other resources available. It's a role model for every application developer. Also included are helpful sample files, such as various styles of fonts, accents, scanned characters, and.
It can be helpful for not only determining which letter pairs are best kerned, but also to test how your existing kerning will look when applied to words.
Macworld's buying advice Every design studio should have Fontographer 5 for its wealth of font creation, editing, fixing, and conversion abilities. Individual designers will have to weigh its price against their needs. But for font creation and enhancement, Fontographer is a must. Nelson is the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly , an executive summary of graphic design news.
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