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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > GUI Customization > How can I fix fonts to work better with the system?

How can I fix fonts to work better with the system?
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Syzygy
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Jul 20, 2006, 11:26 PM
 
As you probably know if you're reading this, most non-default fonts sit too high when used as a replacement for the system font. I have a feeling there must be a way to fix them using a font editing program, but I have no idea how and haven't had any luck with analyzing them side by side.

Does anyone know how to modify a font to make sure it will look ok when used as a system font?
     
aashish13
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Jul 21, 2006, 12:28 AM
 
maybe this will help
http://www.macthemesforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=16776732
or at least tell you what you need to do, to fix that.
     
Gerrit Vanoppen
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Jul 21, 2006, 12:19 PM
 
You'll need to get your hands dirty, I'm afraid : FontLab
If only I knew the kind of difficulties to be expected - I'd start building my own bitmap font.
     
Syzygy  (op)
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Jul 21, 2006, 05:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gerrit Vanoppen
You'll need to get your hands dirty, I'm afraid : FontLab
If only I knew the kind of difficulties to be expected - I'd start building my own bitmap font.
I've actually used this before and was successful in making a bit of a bitmap font. Actually, I think I used a different font editor, but I can't imagine it's much different.

If you want to make your own bitmap font, you could try starting with this: BitfontMaker (doesn't work in safari), and then adding more characters using FontLab (or at least export it again, as Os X finds errors with the fonts that website creates. I've also never tried editing those fonts, so I'm not actually sure it will work, but you should at least be able to make a simple font to use.
     
smithz4096
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Jul 24, 2006, 11:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Gerrit Vanoppen
You'll need to get your hands dirty, I'm afraid : FontLab
If only I knew the kind of difficulties to be expected - I'd start building my own bitmap font.
I built dozens of bitmap-fonts using fontographer, but i assume you would like to use 'em as theme- and UI-fonts?
If yes, then it's close to impossible to achieve a decent result, since OS X uses one vector-font (Lucida Grande AFAIK) for most Elements in various Point-Sizes.
I am not aware of a clean and consistant solution for this, the "problem" is woven into the UI-Code and UI-Concept.

ps. btw, crisp bitmap fonts would fit your great themes.
     
Gerrit Vanoppen
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Jul 24, 2006, 11:48 AM
 
The font used in VOID4 is uni 05_53. In a pt 8 size, the shapes are actually 5 pixels high.
Allow me to think out loud and forgive me if I'm assuming the impossible : what if I were to put the same 5 pixel shapes in all the subfiles for all sizes that make up a font ?
     
Syzygy  (op)
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Jul 24, 2006, 06:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gerrit Vanoppen
The font used in VOID4 is uni 05_53. In a pt 8 size, the shapes are actually 5 pixels high.
Allow me to think out loud and forgive me if I'm assuming the impossible : what if I were to put the same 5 pixel shapes in all the subfiles for all sizes that make up a font ?
The problem is that fonts only have one path file that it uses for all sizes.

I know that some fonts do have different paths for, say, if they're being used as a title. So you could effectively have two different paths for one font at different sizes, but there's some major problem with applying that idea to pixel fonts.

Basically, unsanity needs to figure out how to change the system font sizes to all be the same, or at least be able to use different fonts in different places more easily.
     
Syzygy  (op)
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Jul 24, 2006, 06:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by smithz4096
I built dozens of bitmap-fonts using fontographer

ps. btw, crisp bitmap fonts would fit your great themes.
Ah yes, fontographer is the one I've used and I like it a lot. Very self explanatory.

It would definitely be awesome to have a pixel font as an OS font. If you use a 13 point pixel font, a lot of the system fonts will look good. I used to use Engrii from minifonts.com. It looks awesome in the menubar and on the desktop... I think in windows too. It's just pretty big. You could technically take a 5pixel high font and put it inside a 13 point font package and it would look good, just very small in comparison to the menu's size.

Here's a menu with engrii (with a menu-only theme I made once)


You'll notice that they look a little blurry. This is because even though the font has strict pixel sized borders, OS X blurs them a bit and tries to anti-alies them.

And here's how it looks on the desktop:


Pretty snazzy
     
smithz4096
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Jul 28, 2006, 05:08 AM
 
You'll notice that they look a little blurry. This is because even though the font has strict pixel sized borders, OS X blurs them a bit and tries to anti-alies them.
Well sorry, but that's IMHO exactly the way a pixelfont looses all of its charme. Pixelfonts only look good in the size they were made for.


Pretty snazzy
Yeah! That's the way a serious pixelfont must be displayed.

To solve all this mess, Apple should offer an "advanced" Appearance-Pref, comparable to Windows or some KDE or Gnome thing. Using these you can control and alter the fonts used in the UI. You can specify font AND size for every single element. By this you get a decent and consistent result that Silk/Tinketool/etc. will propably never do.

Well, i doubt this will ever become reality.
     
smithz4096
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Jul 28, 2006, 05:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by Gerrit Vanoppen
Allow me to think out loud and forgive me if I'm assuming the impossible : what if I were to put the same 5 pixel shapes in all the subfiles for all sizes that make up a font ?
Not exactly, but that's a little the way it worked in the old days (pre OS X). Each font-suitcase could contain pre-rendered (and often optimized) Pixelfonts for any pointsizes. Normally these were the small sizes like 8,9,10,11,12, etc because on-fly-rendering of small sizes doesn't gain optimal results (this is still the case, even on OS X)... When using the font at that size, the type-renderer used the pre-rendered font instead of rendering on the fly. So the results were perfect (IF that pixelfont was optimized and perfect of course) and most important predictable.
     
Syzygy  (op)
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Jul 28, 2006, 02:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by smithz4096
Well sorry, but that's IMHO exactly the way a pixelfont looses all of its charme. Pixelfonts only look good in the size they were made for.
All of those screenshots are at the exact size the font should be. The problem is that OS X finds ways to antialies the pixel fonts even though the font is telling it to just turn pixels on and off. This does look much better than changing the size and having it antialias
     
   
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