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Adobe Max

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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DIY Fonts Do It Yourself Fonts With Fontlab Whether it's a client who needs a new identity package; a movie looking for unique titling; an ad that screams for color; or you just want your distinctive handwriting style available in your word processor, the time may come when you want to create a brand-new font. So you jot down some ideas; try a few test sketches; open up your draw program and get to work. But then what? It turns out that making a font is more complicated than just drawing a few glyphs. What looks good on paper vs. what's legible on a screen? How can I make it work in all those different apps and operating systems? Is there a way to get character spacing just right so my text doesn't look like a ransom note? Because of considerations like these, designing a new typeface used to be more like programming than art. Nowadays, fortunately, type design tools have evolved. Modern applications like FontLab 7 can automate a lot of the tedious repetition and precision drudgery that go into the production of a robust font. This starts with the drawing tools themselves. You can certainly draw using your favorite app and then import the glyphs into FontLab for refinement. Or scan your physical drawings (or even import photos) into FontLab and turn them into vector drawings for glyphs. But it may take you less time to simply draw your characters in FontLab. This is because the program has drawing tools optimized for making fonts. FontLab helps you to achieve rhythm and consistency in digital drawing. With PowerBrush, you can draw a vector skeleton and apply an editable calligraphic stroke, instantly making all the letters thicker or thinner. But even if you make more rigid letters from ovals and rectangles, FontLab helps you with consistency. It lets you draw a piece of a letter (an "element") once, and then transform and re-use it across many letters. To achieve the right rhythm between glyphs, you can start with auto-spacing and auto-kerning, then link metrics of one glyph to another, and correct the spacing between groups of glyphs using "class kerning". Because fonts have to be drawn Just. Exactly. So. in order to work right in all those apps and OS's, FontLab helps you double-check your work. Not quite sure that outline is exactly the way it ought to be? Turn on Font Audit, and watch for the little circles and arrows that scrutinize every node, line and curve, find oddities and help you fix them. To make your font fit for Europe, you need a hundred or so letters with diacritic marks. Double that for uppercase and lowercase. Add small caps, currency symbols, ligatures, oldstyle figures, fractions, swashes, or perhaps even Cyrillic or Greek? Ordinarily you'd have to draw each of these glyphs. Whew, what

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