Friday, May 13, 2005

Fontographer Reborn!

The Fog Blog - Check out the latest news on Fontographer in Publish Magazine!!!

Der FontMeister has a new life!

If that name doesn’t ring a bell… I'm the friendly guy who answered Fontographer calls and emails at Macromedia for ten years. I have been given a gift for making hard things easier to grasp and I enjoy doing it.

I’m writing to announce the formation of a new concept in tech support –going the second and third mile!

A new company called Support and More has been founded and our goal is to offer tech support, consulting and training in a way you’ve never seen it before.

So now that we've got the introductions out of the way let me address the first question that Fontographer customers are going to ask:

"What is Fontographer (nicknamed FOG)?"

In 1986, Jim von Ehr founded Altsys and released Fontographer. It was the world's first digital PC font editor. It became an instant success as folks found that they could design their own alphabets, logos, signatures, etc. and turn them into fonts. Jim sold the company to Macromedia in 1995.

Here’s a short list of what you can do with FOG:

· create Type 1, Type 3, Truetype and some Unix formats
· font-conversions from Mac to PC, PC to Mac
· create screen fonts
· add your company logo or signature to a font
· create a dingbat font or scan your handwriting or anything else into a font
· add a Euro other special character
· create Unicode fonts for international keyboards

"What is the future of FOG?"

2. Macromedia was repositioning itself as a web tools organization and it became evident that any product which did not directly impact Macromedia's mission statement was going to be put on hold. Therefore, Fontographer has not been updated since 1996.

Last week, FontLab Ltd. took over the development of Fontographer. They invited me to be a part of this exciting team of creative genuises! I will be working with them closely as we explore the best ways to approach a new release of Fontographer. More details as available...

Suffice it to say that Macromedia couldn't have picked a better group to hand off the legacy of Fontographer to. The engineers at FontLab are legendary for their commitment to their customers. I have heard of all-night sessions wherein something was improved just because a "little old customer" expressed a need. That's somethingI haven't heard of since my early days in the 1980s!!!

“What about other font editors?”

Various followings have developed:

Robofog is a several hundred dollar annual subscription product which is an OEM version of Fontographer 3.5. It is targeted at expert level font developers.

FontLab has emerged as an alternative to Fontographer by providing Delta hinting, expanded Unicode support and Opentype support.

Mircrosoft and Adobe have offered various font utilities and SDKs to bridge the gap between the old font technology and the new.

Loyal Fontographer users have continued to use the product either because it does what they need or to prepare a font for post-processing in another editor.

Wise developers have availed themselves of all the tools available -including the ancient Fontographer because they have to get their work done.

What I'm all about is playing the cards that have been dealt to me. This blog will be about where we go from here.

You can help by telling me what you need in a font editor and what you would be willing to pay for it. I'm eager to hear from you as to what direction we should go. More later.

Jimmy G.
Der FontMeister

64 Comments:

Blogger elfring said...

I still love the basic interface to Fontographer. It's easy to use and I still use it virtually every day. However, it needs lots of work.

Suggestions:
1) Fix the bugs (many)
2) Fix font file naming
3) Bring it up to the standard XP look-
icons on a toolbar
remember what was done last in the file section (If I specified
only fog files last time, don't show me anything other that that
this time)
4) Add better hinting (delta)
5) Add more output/input formats
6) Translate some of the arcane settings in the TrueType header info
an easy to use format (if I want to make a feixed width fonts, what
flags do I set, if I want my fonts to be embeddable, what flags, if I
want a heavy weight font what flags...)

3:41 PM  
Blogger graphity said...

On Friday, 13 May 2005 at 11:16 AM, Jimmy wrote:

>Have you checked out the latest on the Fontographer / FontLab news???
>
>Fontographer is going to be reborn!

Well Jim...

I nearly fell off my chair. Of all the possible consequeces of Macromedia being
purchased by Adobe I have to admit FontLab buying Fontographer was the last
thing I would have imagined!

You must be very excited.

I would love to offer my input, as always. Just tell me what you want.

Are you aware that AutoTrace doesn't work in Classic? I have to go back to
stand-alone System 9 to use it - I guess a lot of users can't do that.

Do you want to be reminded of the bugs in v4.1.5?

I look forward to hearing from you when you get a chance. I realize you are
about to get very busy.

Regards and Congratulations

Kevin

7:08 PM  
Blogger graphity said...

ISSUES/BUGS WITH 4.1.5 WHICH NEED IMMEDIATE ATTENTION BEFORE v4 UPDATE RELEASE FOR MacOS X.

1. Kerning doesn't get imported when TTFs are opened (v4.1.0 doesn't have this bug)
2. Kerning Assistance data bug (details previously supplied to Jim)
3. Generate Mac Type1 PostScript bug (details previously supplied to Jim)
4. Glyph names need updating (to conform to AGLFN 1.1)
5. Unicode support need updating (to conform to Unicode 4.1)
6. AutoTrace doesn't work in Classic (only in stand-alone MacOS9)
7. Ability to create linked font families (internalize Style Merger functionality into Fontographer)
8. There are probably lots more - will post as I think of them!


BEGINNING OF WISH-LIST FOR NEXT VERSION

1. Font-wide pasting between layers in same and different fonts.
2. OpenType support
3. "Save All" and "Close All"
4. Customizable keystrokes
5. Batch font generation
6. Ability to directly select and move BCPs (as in FontStudio & FL).
7. ...many more to come!

Cheers, Kevin

10:00 PM  
Blogger Dennis Ortiz-Lopez said...

Congratulations Jim! I own both Fontographer for the Mac and FontLab for the PC and I am happy to hear that they will be joined in marriage. Now if the lack of bugs in my version of MacFog can be ported over to the buggy PCFontLab I will be most pleased. Let me know if I can be of any help!

10:02 PM  
Blogger Henry Warwick said...

1. Make it work natively in OSX

Why? OSX is the best OS, period. Stable, secure, solid, and elegant. I like it.

2. Basically, take FontLab and ditch its interface and drawing system, and replace it with Fontographer's insanely easy, intuitive UI, features, and workflow.

Why? Because everyone I know who designs fonts has held onto Fontographer and has developed a workflow where the design work and drawing is done in Fontographer, then a PostScript font is kicked out and opened in FontLab - and then the development and actual font output are done in FontLab. FontLab has the latest and ginchiest Font formats, encodings, etc. down really well, but designing in FontLab is a nightmare. I'd rather draw stuff in Adobe Illustrator - and I *Detest* Illustrator.

3. Delta Hints. Make it so. 'nuff said.

4. Make it swing with AppleScript.

Why? This would allow people to devlop and share various scripting abilities and processes - from mass file format conversions to renaming, to automated development schemes, the possibilities would be endless. Or at least: a very large number.

If FontLab does as described above (basically take the engine of FontLab's output facilities and put them under a cleaned up and updated Fontographer UI and drawing system) they will have done not only us type people a great service and themselves a great big favour, but they will help the world be a better place.

How? Like I told Jim many years ago: "you don't read words, first - you read type."

So the more languages that have more and different typefaces, the better for the world and literacy and human expression in general. And THAT makes the world a better place.


HW

10:09 PM  
Blogger Dennis Ortiz-Lopez said...

by the way... I tried AutoTrace in OS X 10.3.9 Classic and it worked fine (as fine as fine can be since I rarely use AutoTrace). Maybe try a larger em size? I used 3800/200 and pasted a PICT image. Good luck.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Gallagher said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Marky said...

Great news Jim!

The article mentioned you were working on a book, any news?

Do you think Fontlab might have the clout to convince MS to release the copyright of "Fontographer: Type by Design" back to Stephen Moye for an upgrade/reprinting?

Just fixing the Windows memory problem is worth an upgrade, everything else is gravy.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Gallagher said...

Dear All,

This is going to be a goldmine of ideas for the development team. I never thought of it before but blogs should be used in place of customer surveys because they are more comfortable.

Just be realistic in your expectations. Think of this as if YOU were on the team! Are you getting the picture?

20 bazillion comments come in and there is no way they are all gonna happen. Let's prioritize them!

What are the first 5 things you just GOTTA have?

Ready... set... blog!

BTW -this blog is going around the world with lotsa lurkers so don't you bozos forget to put your URL in your signature so that all my friends can meet you and check out your cool sites!

SPEAKING of which -how about I post your site on mine in exchange for a link on your site? Fair?

Regards,
Jimmy G.
Der FontMeister
www.supportandmore.com

11:11 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Gallagher said...

Marky,

Dr. Moye and his publisher have told me they would be willing to have someone xerox the book and resell it per agreement with them.

In the meantime -a PDF of it is somewhere on alt.binaries.fonts

Regards,
Jimmy G.
Der FontMeister
www.supportandmore.com

11:16 PM  
Blogger Jack Yan said...

I love FontLab, but it's usually easier for me to do the basic work in FOG. I still do today. I hope we'll take up where we last were with the FOG 5 beta programme. Many colleagues and I had already contributed comments there and our wish list hasn't changed too much, especially something to automate accented composite characters. Oh, and the news is so good that I made it part of my column for Desktop magazine in Australia, for July 2005.

Jack Yan
JY&A Fonts

11:27 PM  
Blogger ogentroost said...

I stilll love the ease of use of FOG; it took some time to get used to FL (still does actually).
— I'd like to see FOG running native in OSX.
— I'd like it to be able to generate OT fonts.
— I'd love to see an easy way of importing / copy- pasting files from IllustratorCS to FOG
— I'd be happy if it were cheaper than FL

Good luck!
Diederik

12:31 AM  
Blogger levonk said...

Congratulations!

It is nice to hear that fog will be back on track. I would like to add to the suggestions above the following:
1) Scriptability, applescript, or maybe python like FontLab. I don't know if there is anything comparable on Windows.
2) Keep the easy-to-use interface when adding the complex features of FontLab.

1:31 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

I'd like to clarify the direction we're taking with Fontographer.
First there will be a bugfix/OS compatibility upgrade. That'll be ready sometime later this year.
Next year we hope to have a new version (v.5) of FOG. This version will concentrate on new features that enhance ease of use and workflow compatibility in the desktop publishing and graphic design arena. That's the market at which Fontographer will be directed.
It doesn't make any sense for us to develop another font editor that just does the same things that FontLab Studio already does. So Fontographer will be developed for people who DON'T want to learn all the nuances of OT features, Python scripting, delta hinting, etc. Highly technical features like those will be reserved for FontLab Studio, which will remain the tool of choice for professional commercial typography and type design.
However, there are lots of things that people like about Fontographer that we will now be able to add to FontLab Studio to make it easier and more useful. That's one place where we need your suggestions.
The other place is what can we do to make Fontographer more useful and user-friendly? We know you like the interface and we're going to try to change that as little as possible. But what improvements would allow FOG to lighten a DTPer's workload? Get a job finished by deadline? Minimize repetitive or tedious work? Cooperate with other DTP tools?

Let us know.

Ted Harrison
Fontlab Ltd.

11:39 AM  
Blogger graphity said...

The features which I personally would regard as absolutely sacrosanct in FOG are:

1. Independent layer Undo (compare with FL)
2. "Change Weight" algorithm
3. "Expand Stroke" algorithm
3. "AutoTrace" algorithm
4. "Clean Up Paths" algorithm
5. The speed with which you can transform (eg rotate) a path with a large number of points with manual Transform tools (compare with FL)
6. the way Referenced characters work ie they are treated just like normal outlines (compare with FL)
7. The simple, logical, programmable Transform dialog.
8. Simple floating Tool Palette with everything you need 99% of the time.
9. Unambiguous, visible, simple Node structure (Corner, Tangent, Curve)
10. The ability to work with fractional (non-integer) coordinates (Nodes and BCPs) during the outline drawing phase of design. BTW I think this is also crucial for the accurate operation of the Expand Stroke etc algorithms above.

Even after one day's postings, this blog is a testimony to how much designers still value the FOG drawing interface. I think the above list represents many of the key features of that UI. It's a great relief to hear from Ted that FontLab doesn't intend to mess with basic functions and the UI.

I'm guessing the idea is to replace TypeTool with Fontographer 5.

Adding to my earlier 6 item wishlist for FOG v5:

7. Export as .vfb (likewise, hopefully FL will soon be able to Import .fog)
8. Toolbar button menu (as an additional alternative to pull down menus) - customizable of course.
9. Batch font format conversion
10. The ability to Group objects (outlines or multiple outlines)

... more to come!

Kevin

PS Dennis, thanks for your note regarding the AutoTrace in Classic. I went back and checked and it seems that the problem was the amount of time it took in Classic compared to stand-alone MacOS 9. I was tracing a very complex shape which took only 6 seconds in MacOS 9 but so long in Classic (over 2 minutes) I thought it had hung! BTW the em-square size didn't make any difference.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Ted said this:

> So Fontographer will be developed
> for people who DON'T want to learn
> all the nuances of OT features

This sounds like bad news to me. Does this mean that Fontographer will never support Opentype?

10:14 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Gallagher said...

Dear Ya'll,

Before I forget - I'm kinda using this blog as a place to bring out the discussion of what we like and dislike about FOG, what should FOG 5 be, etc.

I invite anyone who has a FOG usage question to my FOG FORUM at:

http://www.supportandmore.com/forums.html

Regards,
Jimmy G.
Der FontMeister
www.supportandmore.com
http://fontographer.blogspot.com/

1:17 PM  
Blogger graphity said...

I'd say FOG is being slightly undersold on the FontLab website http://www.fontlab.com/Font-tools/Product-Comparison-Chart/.

1. Under "Programmable font transformation" FOG is listed as not having any. I would have thought the Transformation dialog where you can write a 4-stage transformation constitutes a program or at least a script. You can't save it but it IS remembered (until you change it).

2. Under "Diagonal Guidelines" FOG isn't listed. But ANY path you draw in the Guide layer becomes a Guide so I don't know why FOG doesn't score here.

3. Under levels of Undo FOG is mysteriously listed as N/A but everyone knows that FOG is capable of 101 levels and, if I'm not mistaken, that's 101 PER LAYER which is considerably more than the current versions of TypeTool, FontLab and Asia Font Studio!

4. Under "Special Font Effects" FOG doesn't get a score yet I would have thought that the very powerful 3D Rotate and Perspective transformations should qualify as font effects.

5. Under "Tunable Autotrace" FOG again misses out. That's just plain wrong! FOG's Autotrace is in fact arguably more "tunable" than ScanFont.

Maybe the FOG info on the FontLab website needs to be tweaked a bit, Jim?

Kevin

3:44 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

>Does this mean that Fontographer will >never support Opentype?

Not at all. We fully intend to add OT import and export and perhaps some autoscripting of selected OT features. But it won't get the full-fledged feature scripting module that FontLab Studio has.

>I'm guessing the idea is to replace
> TypeTool with Fontographer 5.

No, we still need an entry level font editor for beginners, students, and very light users. So TypeTool will stay as the affordable, low-end tool. FOG will occupy the middle ground for DTPers, graphic designers and others who want to manipulate and design fonts. FontLab studio will be the high-end tool for people who need to manufacture professional commercial fonts.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Adam Twardoch said...

Hello FOG users :)

I think I'll tune in here with some more comments from Fontlab Ltd.

> I still love the basic interface to Fontographer. It's easy to use and I still use it virtually every day.

We recognize that and will make our best effort not to harm Fontographer's ease of use in the future versions.

> Add better hinting (delta)

I don't think we'll add delta hinting to Fontographer. Manual hinting is a complex thing and there are already two tools for that (FontLab and Microsoft VTT). I think we'll

> Translate some of the arcane settings in the TrueType header info
> an easy to use format

Yes, this is a demanding task. We will take FontLab's Font Info window as basis but will simplify things as much as possible.

> ISSUES/BUGS WITH 4.1.5

I'll log these for our engineers to look at.

> Make it swing with AppleScript.

If at all, we'll make it swing with Python. Python is the only cross-platform scripting language available that has been used for fonts. In fact, Fontographer + Python had already been implemented (RoboFog), there is Python support in FontLab, TransType Pro, RoboFog, RoboFab, Adobe FDK for OpenType, TTX. But frankly, making FOG scriptable is not our highest priority and we haven't decided anything on this yet.

> Do you think Fontlab might have the clout to convince MS to release the copyright
> of "Fontographer: Type by Design" back to Stephen Moye for an upgrade/reprinting?

Stephen Moye has gotten the copyright back and we are in contact with him.

> I'd be happy if it were cheaper than FL

FOG will be more expensive than TypeTool but cheaper than FontLab.

> the way Referenced characters work ie they are treated just like normal outlines (compare with FL)

Can you please elaborate on this Graphity?

> Export as .vfb (likewise, hopefully FL will soon be able to Import .fog)

FontLab Studio will certainly be able to import .fog files although we haven't yet decided when this feature will be implemented. As for the opposite direction (Fontographer opening .vfb), this needs further investigation.

> This sounds like bad news to me. Does this mean that Fontographer will never support Opentype?

You need to differentiate OpenType as a font format and OpenType Layout, the advanced typographic features functionality of OpenType. Fontographer will most certainly open and generate OpenType PS (.otf) and OpenType TT (.ttf) fonts, allow you to edit the glyphs and other parameters of the font. But we haven't yet decided how OpenType Layout features will be handled.

Making a friendly and easy-to-use user interface for that is not easy since creating OpenType Layout features is not a trivial task. There are already two tools that can do it (FontLab and Microsoft VOLT). As Jim says, perhaps we'll add automatic feature addition to FOG and will recommend FontLab for people who want to add features manually.

> I'd say FOG is being slightly undersold on the FontLab website http://www.fontlab.com/Font-tools/Product-Comparison-Chart/.

We will tweak the chart. I must admit that the information added there was first based on my own experiences. My recollections of Fontographer 4.1 are rather distant so I have left out or left unspecified some of the things but we will surely update this information soon. Thank you very much for your points!

Best greetings to you all!
Adam Twardoch
Fontlab Ltd.

9:36 PM  
Blogger graphity said...

On Friday, 16 May 2005 at 9:36 PM, Adam Twardoch wrote

>> the way Referenced characters work ie they are treated just like normal outlines (compare with FL)

>Can you please elaborate on this Graphity?

Hello Adam. I mean that in FOG you can do pretty much anything anything with a referenced outline that you can do with a normal outline eg

1. In FOG you can "Copy Reference" and "Unlink Reference" (Decompose) from WITHIN the glyph window (not in FL ). I think the key to FOG's better functionality is that FOG creates the referencing when it copies whereas FL creates the referencing only when it pastes.

2. In FOG you can "Unlink Reference" (Decompose) selected individual Components within glyph window.

3. In FOG you can paste Components into ANY layer (in FL only into Outline; in other layers it's decomposed)

4. In FOG you can do wider range of Transform on Components (Rotate, Scale etc) than in FL

5. In FOG you can multiple-select Components within glyph window (not in FL)

6. In FOG you can marquee-select Component/s (not in FL).

7. In FOG the selection status of a Component is remembered when you come back to that glyph window (not in FL).

I realize that some of the above are being "fixed" in FL5/6 (mostly in 6) and that's great, but my point is that I am passionate about these very useful features REMAINING in Fontographer.

Kevin

1:50 AM  
Blogger graphity said...

Adam wrote:

>As for the opposite direction (Fontographer opening .vfb), this needs further investigation.

Adam, I just noticed that you quoted me as asking for Fontographer to be able to OPEN .vfb whereas I actually asked for FOG to be able to EXPORT .vfb.

To be honest I can't imagine there would be any great need for FOG to be able to open a .vfb and I can imagine it would be quite complex to implement because so much unuseable data would need to be stripped away and converted.

The flow is much more likely to be the other way - FOG to FontLab. So what we need is a better way to get FOG data into FontLab. Whether this is by FOG being able to export a .vfb or FontLab being able to import a .fog it doesn't really matter.

Currently you can only get from FOG to FL via a font file and this means that all Template, Guide, Hint Zones and Metrics Assistance data is lost.

Kevin

2:19 AM  
Blogger graphity said...

I've hogged this blog a bit today so I'll say farewell with a few more "wishes" for FOG5

1. Glyph Window Rulers

2. Glyph Window optional Crosshairs

3. The ability to Save the 4-stage transformation program/script in FOG's Transformation dialog window as an external file (currently it's remembered but is not saveable).


Kevin

2:29 AM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

I just thought of another thing I wish Fontographer would do, and sorry if it sounds lightweight. It annoys the heck out of me that I can't drag PC TTFs onto its icon and have it open the font. I like how I can drag just about anything over Fontlab and it will open it. I use it as a viewer a lot of times. But with Fontographer, if I want to open a PC format font, I have to navigate over to it and it takes much longer. And THEN, to shut ANY window I have to say not to save the changes. I didn't make changes to it, why do I have to make this decision?

8:55 AM  
Blogger Adam Twardoch said...

Graphity wrote:

> 1. In FOG you can "Copy Reference" and "Unlink Reference"
> (Decompose) from WITHIN the glyph window (not in FL ).
> 2. In FOG you can "Unlink Reference" (Decompose)
> selected individual Components within glyph window.

You can do it in FontLab 4.6 easily. To decompose just a single component, right-click on it and choose "Decompose". To decompose all components from within the glyph window, choose Glyph / Decompose.

> 3. In FOG you can paste Components into ANY layer (in
> FL only into Outline; in other layers it's decomposed)

In FontLab Studio 5, you'll be able to have components in the Mask layer.

> 4. In FOG you can do wider range of Transform
> on Components (Rotate, Scale etc) than in FL

Can you elaborate?

> 5. In FOG you can multiple-select Components within
> glyph window (not in FL)
> 6. In FOG you can marquee-select Component/s (not in FL).

In FontLab Studio 5, you'll be able to multi-select and marquee-select components in the Mask layer.

> 7. In FOG the selection status of a Component is
> remembered when you come back to that glyph window (not in FL).

This will be fixed in FontLab Studio 5.

> I realize that some of the above are being "fixed" in FL5/6 (mostly in 6)

Your knowledge about what will be done in FontLab Studio 6 indicates that you must have something VERY MUCH ahead of me when it comes to feature planning for FontLab Studio ;)

Seriously, practically all the things that you've mentioned are improved in FontLab Studio 5.

Best,
Adam

8:04 PM  
Blogger Adam Twardoch said...

> Currently you can only get from FOG to FL via a font
> file and this means that all Template, Guide, Hint Zones
> and Metrics Assistance data is lost.

I can report that we already have means to convert from .fog to .vfb. We plan to release a small utility that will allow you to do that conversion. I'm currently alpha-testing this utility. You are free to send me .fog files to adam at fontlab dot com and I will convert them to .vfb and send them back to you so you can compare the quality of the conversion.

Regards,
Adam

8:04 PM  
Blogger graphity said...

>To decompose just a single component,
>right-click on it and choose "Decompose".

OK Adam , sorry about that. I was just going up to the "Glyph" menu and seeing "Decompose" greyed out. Duh!

Regarding transformations of referenced outlines/components, as far as I can tell in FL you can't Rotate or Scale an individual selected component only the character as a whole (using the Transform dialog). Same as you can't change the weight of part of a glyph. Am I wrong?

Thanks very much for your offer to convert .fog to .vfb. I may just take you up on that!

Kevin

1:26 AM  
Blogger graphity said...

More wishes for FOG 5:

(My previous threewishes should have been numbered 11, 12, 13 so these start at 14.)

14. Add the ability to open a Mac Type 1 font via the suitcase file and have all metrics data imported automatically along with the outlines (same as FL). Currently FOG can only open printer fonts and then you have to separately import metrics - annoying!

15. Same with Windows Type 1 ie get FOG to automatically import metrics from accompanying .pfm (or .afm +.inf) when it opens a .pfb (same as FL)

16. Add an additional "Import Metrics..." option to import All Metrics in one operation (ie Kerning + Spacing + Ascent + Descent etc)

Kevin

1:35 AM  
Blogger Adam Twardoch said...

> you can't Rotate or Scale an individual selected component

You can scale components using the component's Properties panel (right-click and choose Properties). In the OpenType specification, only scaled components are allowed, but not rotated.

> Same as you can't change the weight of part of a glyph.

In FontLab Studio 5, you will be able to can use the tools "Make Parallel Path" and "Expand Path" on selected contours.

Regards,
Adam

1:55 AM  
Blogger Marky said...

One more minor suggestion.

I think it's great you have all the tech notes on the web site (Jim, you might want to provide a link up front) but have you thought about breaking the file in half, one for Win problems and one for Mac?

9:41 PM  
Blogger Henry Warwick said...

Sorry for the delay – I lost the URL to this blog.

From the comments from our friends at FL it seems that FOG will continue to do what it does best: design high quality fonts, easily. I applaud that effort. This doesn’t change my workflow that much: I’ll design everything in FOG and then bring it into FL for hinting and specialized output and all the other wonderful stuff FL does so well.

It’s a workflow I think EVERYONE here is all too familiar with, and in the greater scheme of things probably wouldn’t object to, too much.

So, in he spirit of making my favourite application even better, here are some things I want to see in Fontographer.

1. An Align Palette. DO NOT REMOVE the Align command. Or even change its key command. The Align Command is truly celestial. HOWEVER: an Align Palette would be useful in order to align objects. There are plenty of examples of good Align Palettes – FreeHand, Frustrator, InDesign, etc. all have ‘em. FOG needs one.

2. A Library / Parts Department. As it is, I store some lower case right side serifs in the ø glyph, but Oh No! I put the ø letter there! Hmmm… Where DID I put them??? Check the £ char. Nope. Maybe Ø – nah – they both got done at the same time…

All of that rummaging around looking for parts would go away with a Library. Just open up the Library, scroll down to the section I labeled LC SERIFS-RIGHT copy and past or click and drag and viola: I got my parts. And like Frankenstein said: Parts Is Parts.

3. Improve the Font Info Window. FLs is much better – use it as a model.

4. User definable Layers. Again, taking a page from FreeHand et al: Have 4 layers fixed (OUTLINE / TEMPLATE / GUIDE / HINTS) but it would rock to be able to set up extra layers that I could lock or copy stuff into.

5. Allow the user to not only name the layers, but give them colours. Allow the fixed layers to have their colours adjusted, as well. Sometimes I like to work in PUCE.

Well, not really, but something other than Black White and Grey would be a nice effect.

6. Allow AntiAliasing in the Metrics window and Edit window when PREVIEW is selected. FL does this and it makes looking at letters a lot more pleasant.

It is now midnight and I have two more letters to get into some rough condition before I fold. And I have to be up at 7 to get my daughter to school, so I cut this off here, and come back another day.

Suffice to say, I am Very Happy that FL got their mitts on FOG before Adobe did.

All the best,

Henry Warwick

12:04 AM  
Blogger graphity said...

Another existing FOG feature which I regard as sacrosanct (in other words, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't change it!) is the ability to constrain a Bezier handle (to zero, 45 or 90 degrees) by SHIFT-clicking on it. This is such a powerful feature I really wish that it could be added to FL.

Kevin

1:24 AM  
Blogger ZvikaRosenberg said...

Hi Jim Ted and Adam,
Great news to a huge loyal community of font designers worldwide. Just try to recall the amount of threads in the Macromedia\Fog forum about the future of Fog, where Jim had to reinvent his answers time and time again.
So here comes Fontlab with a perfect timing to pick up the long awaited challenge.

I am sure the ease of use will be kept in the predefined boundries of a middle range product.

1. Wish Fog was native OSX, not a classic app.

2. Wish Fog will have an enhanced print sample capability.

3. Wish there were coloured guides (Fog has still the good old Altsys' B&W look and feel...)

4. Wish there were preset text strings (and customized) in the metrics window like FL.

5. Wish Fog would be scriptable: making it Applescript savvy app will keep it in the middle range for the majority of users who would rather use Apple script than massing with Python.

6. Wish the font info on the Mac side would be as detailed as in the PC version.

7. This goes without saying but we need full Unicode support.

8. Wish Fog will not strip off hints of a font you open for editing.

9. Kerning assitance - take a look at FL.

So have my blessing and go back to the salt mines... you do a great job!

Zvika Rosenberg
www.masterfont.co.il

2:58 PM  
Blogger graphity said...

There is one feature of FOG that I would definitely not miss. Personally I would call this a bug because I can't imagine any possible way it could be useful.

This is the ability to open multiple instances of the SAME outline window. At the end of an intensive design session it would not be unusual for me to find many copies of some key glyph windows open at the same time.

Curiously, the same "feature" is in FL as well! Maybe I'm overlooking some amazing advantage of having this feature?

If there's no good reason for it, PLEASE get rid of it - it's really annoying!

Kevin

6:26 PM  
Blogger graphity said...

Another addition to my wishlist for FOG 5:

17. When in the Guide layer I have very often been frustrated by the inability to see the position of Nodes in the Outline layer. Can we please have the ability to see the Nodes between all layers? They could be just very small dots to distinguish them from the Nodes in the layer you're actually in. Even better if each layer has it's own unique path colour.

Kevin

4:03 AM  
Blogger Henry Warwick said...

Just because I’m a bit of a freak and really want Fontographer to succeed, I decided to be a swell fella and I’ve taken down all the requests and arranged them by area of development.

Having spent the past 7 years in software development as a QA engineer, I know that such organization is important so the issues can be sorted to programmers, and it also creates data for developing the specification document, which is necessary for proper QA testing and to develop appropriate milestones and checkpoint testing.

So this one’s for free. If you want more in more formal language with greater implementation detail / suggestions / ideas / spec writing / formal QA test case development (daily test, checkpoint, milestone, boundary, stress, i/o, etc. and so on), email me at henry (AT) kether (DOT) com. It just so happens that I’m available for this kind of work right now (also: Jim and I have worked as a team for a few years before back when I was at Macromedia. I left MM in 98 to join the Final Cut Pro QA team at Apple computer.)


General Guiding Principle of the Future of Fontographer:

“It will be developed for people who DON'T want to learn all the nuances of Open Type features, Python scripting, delta hinting, etc. Highly technical features like those will be reserved for FontLab Studio, which will remain the tool of choice for professional commercial typography and type design.”

So, with those restrictions on the scope of the program in mind, here are FEATURE REQUESTS received so far not forbidden by the above statement.

These are in no particular order, but grouped by type of request. If I missed any, sorry. some I didn't put in this list because the conflicted with the Scope Directive as described above.

My comments are in (italics and parentheses).

Import/Output/Format requests:

1. Add more output/input formats including basic OpenType support
(be able to open and generate Open type Fonts, but not necessarily have access to all the intricacies of the internal workings, as found in FL)

2. Batch font generation
(I’m not sure what the requester meant, but in my mind, it would be good to be able to generate a battery of fonts from a single drawing – such as WINDOWSFONT.TTF, APPLEFONT.SUIT, WINDOWSFONT.PFA, APPLFONT, APPLFONT.AFM, etc. all in one swell foop. This could be a simple check box associated with an OPTIONS button, which would bring up a dialogue with a field of checkboxes listing all possible combinations (basic TrueType, OpenType, PostScript, etc. and with an option as to how the encoding will be handled) and platforms (WINDOWS, APPLE, LINUX) I guess this isn’t a batch export as much as it is a MASS export and would be a KILLER feature, especially for those whose needs are few in terms of OpenType specific data, and just want to kick out their fonts all at once, instead of repeatedly grinding them out in different platforms and formats).


3. Export as .vfb
(or: simply be able to Import .fog into FL)

4. Batch font format conversion
(open PS, export as OT, TTF, whatever platform. This combined with the batch export function described above)

5. drag PC TTFs onto its icon and have it open the font.
(t’would be lurvely, eh?)

6. Add the ability to open a Mac or Windows (via .pfm / or .afm +.inf) Type 1 font via the suitcase file and have all metrics data imported automatically along with the outlines (same as FL).
(Currently FOG can only open printer fonts and then you have to separately import metrics - annoying!)

7. Add an additional "Import Metrics..." option to import All Metrics in one operation
(ie Kerning + Spacing + Ascent + Descent etc)

8. Export fonts for Linux machines.
(I’m not a big Linux Geek, but if there are issues specific to encoding fonts for Linux, those should be handled precisely and well)


Drawing / Creative / Functionality requests

9. Font-wide pasting between layers in same and different fonts.
(I’m not sure how that would be accomplished without some major rewriting of the basic UI, but it’s an interesting request!)


10. "Save All" and "Close All"
(This would be lovely and useful, and fairly simple to do)


11. Customizable keystrokes
(FreeHand did this, and this would allow people who are used to apps like Frustrator or CorelDraw more easily integrate FOG into their workflow habits.)


12. Ability to directly select and move BCPs - as in FontStudio & FL.
(Very nice, but I don’t know how much this encroaches on FL’s turf.)

13. Make it work natively in OSX (COCOA)
(Required, simply required if you expect any kind of decent speed and stability in OSX, but you know that…)


14. I'd love to see an easy way of importing / copy- pasting files from IllustratorCS to FOG
(Since FreeHand will likely have its respirator shut off by Adobe, close integration with FrustratorCS would be a good thing…)


15. The ability to Group objects - outlines or multiple outlines.
(This has been a long standing request – I remember barking at Judie and Kent about this back in 1995!)


16. Glyph Window Rulers
(Demarked in em units, of course, zero V at the baseline, zero H at the left sidebearing.)


17. Glyph Window optional Crosshairs
(activated with caps lock, as in Photoshop, Frustrator and other apps.)


18. The ability to Save the 4-stage transformation program/script in FOG's Transformation dialog window as an external file - currently it's remembered but is not saveable.
(This would allow common, if complex, transformations to be transferable across FOG files. Very Good Idea, and should be fairly simple to implement.)


19. An Align Palette. However: DO NOT REMOVE the Align command. Or even change its key command. The Align Command is truly celestial.
(An Align Palette would be useful in order to align objects, and would be dynamite in co-ordination with the above proposed Group command. There are plenty of examples of good Align Palettes – FreeHand, Frustrator, InDesign, etc. all have ‘em. FOG needs one.)


20. User definable Layers.
(Again, taking a page from FreeHand et al: Have 4 layers fixed (OUTLINE / TEMPLATE / GUIDE / HINTS) but it would rock to be able to set up extra layers that I could lock or copy stuff into.)


21. A Library / Parts Department.
(All the rummaging around looking for parts stashed in obscure glyph points in a font would go away with a Library. Just open up the Library, scroll down to the section one has labeled, copy and paste or click and drag and viola: finis. This would also help in cross font development – If one needs a common character design in a number of different fonts (math chars, or other weirdness) one could dig them out of a library. Also the libraries should be individually SAVEABLE, so one might have a SANS library, a SERIF library, a Goofball library, etc…)


UI requests

22. Bring it up to the standard XP look- icons on a toolbar remember what was done last in the file section - If I specified only fog files last time, don't show me anything other that that this time.
(A reasonable request, and shouldn’t be that hard.)

23. Translate some of the arcane settings in the TrueType header info an easy to use format, i.e.: if I want to make a fixed width fonts, what flags do I set, if I want my fonts to be embeddable, what flags, if I want a heavy weight font what flags…
(I’m not sure how easy that would be, but I imagine it could be handled as an extension to an OPTIONS button in the TTF export. This could get messy fast, and easily drive into FL territory, but some better control of TTF options would be a good thing.)


24. Toolbar button menu - as an additional alternative to pull down menus - all customizable, of course.
(T’would rock, verily.)

25. to shut ANY window I have to say not to save the changes. I didn't make changes to it, why do I have to make this decision?
(An annoying fact of working in FOG. Please make it stop.)


26. Improve the Font Info Window. FLs is much better – use it as a model.
(Just a fact. The font info Window in FL has many more options, and bringing those into FOG would be nice, and probably not that big a deal. Nor would it really intrude on FL turf, as it’s a fairly small and innocuous aspect of the program.)


27. Allow the user to not only name the layers, but give them colours. Allow the fixed layers to have their colours adjusted, as well.
(Again, a Great Idea.)


28. Put AntiAliasing in the Metrics window and Edit window when PREVIEW is selected. FL does this and it makes looking at letters a lot more pleasant.
(FOG’s preview mode is Really Old School, and having it anti-alias would be a great thing. However, there are some who rail against such notions, so for them, have a checkbox in the Preferences to turn this on or off.)



Other:
29. I'd be happy if it were cheaper than FL
(badoomp pish!)



ISSUES/BUGS WITH 4.1.5 WHICH NEED IMMEDIATE ATTENTION BEFORE v5 UPDATE RELEASE FOR MacOS X.

I’m not going to comment on these – bugs are bugs and need to get fixed – they’re all fairly obvious issues.


a. Kerning doesn't get imported when TTFs are opened (v4.1.0 doesn't have this bug)
b. Kerning Assistance data bug (details previously supplied to Jim)
c. Generate Mac Type1 PostScript bug (details previously supplied to Jim)
d. Glyph names need updating (to conform to AGLFN 1.1)
e. Unicode support need updating (to conform to Unicode 4.1)
f. AutoTrace doesn't work in Classic (only in stand-alone MacOS9)
g. Ability to create linked font families (internalize Style Merger functionality into Fontographer)
h. There are probably lots more - will post as I think of them!
i. Are you aware that AutoTrace doesn't work in Classic? I have to go back to stand-alone System 9 to use it - I guess a lot of users can't do that.
j. Fix font file naming

I look forward to your response.

Henry Warwick

5:09 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Gallagher said...

Henry,

You never cease to amaze me! I have to admit that I had some thoughts of organizing the things discussed here and bethought mineself that I could do an effective job. I gotta say that you have done an excellante job of arranging the dicussion into something readable.

A Big Thanks! And now (drum roll) let's all move to my second BLOG posting on our fav topic: "What Should FOG 5 Be?"

12:20 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Henry,
Thanks a bunch for putting that list in order. It will help us a great deal in planning the next FOG update and eventual upgrade.

Ted H

11:56 AM  
Blogger Henry Warwick said...

you're welcome!

I'm more than happy to help.

HW

1:25 PM  
Blogger Tony OneWayOutFonts said...

I just want to chime in...that this is great! I just found this Blog. First, FontLab announces on May 9th, then this Blog starts on my B-Day. It doesn't get any better. :-)

I've been a Fontographer user since 1995, and I still use it on an old machine that still boots OS9. I mainly use Fontographer as one of my many hats here as the Systems Manager at Church Art Works and One Way Out, also know as OWOFonts. (for the Font part) Plus, I've done several fonts on the side of my already more than full-time job. ;-)

Years ago I created a FreeHand and/or Illustrator template, that allows our Art Department to create thier font character shapes in a program that is familiar to them. This allows any one that wants to create a font, but does not have the technical knowledge, use my template. My system requires no technical know how, other than a few rules and instructions printed right on the template.

It is critical that the individual characters be placed on the template exactly the way the artist wants them to type out. (For Example: For a clean font, all characters must be exactly on the base line, and character heights be exact, or the font may "bounce".) How the characters are placed on the template greatly affects the way the font will turn out, as even the slightest of differences get magnified in the technical font program. (Usually characters should be placed while viewing at 2000-4000% in FreeHand or Illustrator.) Once I get the template back, then I go to work along with tons of 'QuicKeys' that I have perfected. (kinda like Apple Scripts on steroids) :-)

Turn around time to complete a full font (including the foreign characters, kerning, fine spacing, etc.) is only about 10-20 hours, that's quite a reduction in time from what I've heard from others. :-) Plus, it takes alot of the human error out. The turn around time mostly depends on the complexity of the font, number of characters, number of points, if I have to do allot of cutting of outline paths, corrections from the FreeHand imported shapes, and how the individual shapes work together with the fine spacing.

Just wanted to give a technical persons view point...instead of only a designer view point. I could draw you a really good stick figure. ;-)

Keep up the great work...we sure appreciate it out here in user land! :-)

Tony

PS: If you'd like to see some of my past work you could check these out:
- All the One Way Out Font (OWOFonts) Collections (67 in all, including three Clip Art/Icon/Image fonts, soon to be 74) available direct from One Way Out ( http://www.ChurchArtWorks.com or http://www.OWOFonts.com ) or also licensed through Carlos at T-26 Fonts www.T26FONT.com

- Technical work on "Big City" and "Whutevur" fonts for Von Glitschka and Glitschka Studios on the "Big City" and "Whutevur" clip art and font projects for Dynamic Graphics, Inc. von@glitschka.com

- I did the technical work for the "Mariner" font (Seattle Mariners) for Nancy Ogami Design and Frederick & Froberg Design Inc..

- You can see some of the fonts that I've worked on some very popular products like:
Disney's - Lilo & Stitch CD - "OWO Thud" font
Minor League Baseball's logo Designed by Jeff Williams - http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/ - "OWO Lunatic" font
Pepsi's - Wild Cherry Pepsi - "OWO Thud" font
Coke's - Cherry Coke - "OWO Aspire" font
Hasbro - Has used several of the OWOFonts on many items.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

1. With out a doubt Postscript preview – in other words nice smooth curves on screen when editing outlines and adjusting spacing and kerning.
2. OS-X compatibility but still option for System 9 compatibility.
3. The ability to cut and paste directly from Illustrator into Fontographer in versions outside of Illustrator 8 and to be able to do this in OS-X.
4. Fix the bug in "Kerning Assistance".
5. Magnification greater than 200%.
6. Option for Em Squares greater than 1000 (that export) for PostScript fonts.
7. Don't deviate to far from the original Fontographer, the interface works well. It's what we know and love. I'm not to worried about things like Unicode and OpenType support – that's what we have FontLab for!

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10:01 PM  
Blogger The Resell Ebooks Guy said...

Ya, hi there uh Jimmy Gallagher is it?
I just found your blog called Fontographer Reborn!. I've been scouring the net the last while looking for various types of ebook with master resell right . As you read, my grammar is not too excellent!! LOL - (:--).

Do you have any ebook with master resell right ? You do anything with it?

I've been selling mine online. Been having to learn tons. Blech!
So far all I've been able to get done is put them into a
membership at: http://www.TonOFeBooks.com .

Must run, it's getting late and I must learn to short post hey!

Smile on Jimmy Gallagher !
Have a super nice day,

Chad again.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Ton OF eBooks said...

YO Jimmy Gallagher !!
This blog called Fontographer Reborn! is one I just came across while looking over the net the last while. Do you have any master resell rights ? I almost typed Grey Poupon. haha. My BAD spelling!! LOL - (:--). If you've ever come across master resell rights I was curious if you did anything with it?

I've got a FREAKING pile! & been trying to sell em online. What a uphill learning curve!
How long you been blogging?

Keep up the (:0) work !

Chad again.

10:03 AM  
Blogger The Resell Rights Guy said...

YO Jimmy Gallagher !!
This blog called Fontographer Reborn! is one I just came across while looking over the net the last while. Do you have any master resell rights ? I almost typed Grey Poupon. haha. My BAD spelling!! LOL - (:--). If you've ever come across master resell rights I was curious if you did anything with it?

I've got a FREAKING pile! & been trying to sell em online. What a uphill learning curve!
How long you been blogging?

Keep up the (:0) work !

Chad again.

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Do you have any master package resell right on your Fontographer Reborn! blog?
Curious to how you've been using your's if you have any - ever sold any?
Here's what I did with mine: http://www.TonOFeBooks.com .
Have a kick butt day and don't let the bad bloggers get you down !

1:30 PM  
Blogger Yahoo Web Hosting said...

Ya, hi there uh Jimmy Gallagher is it?
I just found your blog called Fontographer Reborn!. I've been scouring the net the last while looking for various types of ebook with master resell right . As you read, my grammar is not too excellent!! LOL - (:--).

Do you have any ebook with master resell right ? You do anything with it?

I've been selling mine online. Been having to learn tons. Blech!
So far all I've been able to get done is put them into a
membership at: http://www.TonOFeBooks.com .

Must run, it's getting late and I must learn to short post hey!

Smile on Jimmy Gallagher !
Have a super nice day,

Chad again.

7:37 AM  
Blogger The Resell Ebooks Guy said...

Howdy Jimmy Gallagher !
Just was cruising around looking for master resell rights and came across your Fontographer Reborn!. You ever do anything with your master resell rights if you have any?

I've heard of tons of guy's selling a bunch online.
I've been trying too at: http://www.TonOFeBooks.com . Learning tons!

Cutting this post short - my fingers have been going to fast lately!
Have a super duper day!
Chad.

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Blogger The Resell Rights Guy said...

Mighty Blogalicious, blog posting to you Jimmy Gallagher !
I'm always looking for more business free home resell right risk . Watch out for my BAD grammar! (:--)
Do you have any business free home resell right risk on your Fontographer Reborn! blog?
Curious to how you've been using your's if you have any - ever sold any?
Here's what I did with mine: http://www.TonOFeBooks.com .
Have a kick butt day and don't let the bad bloggers get you down !

8:51 AM  
Blogger The Resell Rights Guy said...

Ya, hi there uh Jimmy Gallagher is it?
I just found your blog called Fontographer Reborn!. I've been scouring the net the last while looking for various types of master package resell right . As you read, my grammar is not too excellent!! LOL - (:--).

Do you have any master package resell right ? You do anything with it?

I've been selling mine online. Been having to learn tons. Blech!
So far all I've been able to get done is put them into a
membership at: http://www.TonOFeBooks.com .

Must run, it's getting late and I must learn to short post hey!

Smile on Jimmy Gallagher !
Have a super nice day,

Chad again.

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Blogger Learnandpassiton said...

I would really like this as well: Font-wide pasting between layers in same and different fonts.
Please, please

6:42 AM  
Blogger John said...

Hi Jim,
What's the latest on Fontographer for Windows? I'm using 4.1.5 with the very welcome memory patch so I don't have to keep a WIN2000 machine around. I use Fontographer to create bitmap fonts for embedded software in medical devices and there are sure a lot of suggestions I'd make to make my life easier. Didn't see many duplicates in your blog when you were asking for suggestions. Anyway, I still love the program--it's really the only one that meets my needs (I have FontLab, but it won't cut it for what I have to do). I was just wondering if there has been any new movement in the Windows world.
Thanks,
John Daynes

4:39 PM  
Blogger Dave Simpson said...

hi all..
my right arm is toast! (right handed) need to hire someone to import my clean vectors into fonts with basic kerning etc.
usually just caps n lowercase, numbers, & keyboard punctuation. Give me a price.. remember this is not the golden age of font making.
also, the lower the cost, the more i will do. please contact dave at signdna@gmail.com
thanks

9:55 AM  

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