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Re: [fonts] TT instructing/hinting

Although I'm by no way expert in hinting, but i think the way you
describe the hinting process is a bit misleading. The reason is I
think a hint program will almost always tied to a font, maintly
because the hint program will always refer to a control points, which
will differs form one outline to another. Thus, it does not make much
sense to seperate the hint program from the outline.

Anyway, features that you describe for a hinting program, I think the
program that fit's is Microsoft Visual Truetype. Despite it's 'Visual'
name, you can really manully pass the truetype instruction via it's
talk interface. The program is free, but you need to apply in writing
for it. Please visit
http://www.microsoft.com/typography/tools/vttlicen.htm for more
information. I've applied for it, but know I'm not sure whether I'll
be using it or not (could not figure out how to start assigning
control program value) It does have a version for Mac, but not sure
which Mac version it will work (probably Mac classic).  The Visual
Truetype group at MSN is not active at all. I think I was the last
person to join (did that last month).

Another program that might suite your need is mensis. It is being
develop by Geroge Williams, the same person who develop fontforge.
Mensis is strictly for editing truetype instruction, and it does
provide the ability to view the outline and gridfitted bitmap
together, provided freetype is compiled with the patented bytecode
interpreter on. The program I think mainly for Unix/Linux.

Hope that will help.


On 7/27/05, Gregg Reynolds <gar at arabink dot com> wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm thinking about tackling hinting for the khotot project.  I assume
> the Arabeyes fonts are currently not hinted extensively, and I think a
> well-hinted set of open source (preferably GPL) Arabic fonts is a high
> priority.
> Here's what I have in mind; please let me know if you think this
> approach makes sense.
> 1.  Editing.  I used to like to program in assembler and I love emacs,
> so I'm thinking to get started I'd like learn the TT Instruction set and
> hint a few glyphs directly in "TT Assembler".  I figure that's the only
> way to really understanding instructing.  I can write an instruction
> program using the mnemonics from the TT technical spec, but I'm not sure
> how to compile into an actual program to be added to a font.  Later on
> I'll use (or at least test) TTIComp from
> http://home.kabelfoon.nl/~slam/fonts/, but it uses a higher-level
> language (AFAIK) and rather than TT Assembler.  Can anybody help me find
> the right tools to do this?
> 2.  Previewing.  I'm not sure what the best tools are to view a glpyh at
> a certain point size and device resolution in order to test hinting.  It
> seems to me it would be a Good Thing to see and "exploded" view showing
> the pixel grid, the scaled (non-gridfitted) outline, and the gridfitted
> bitmap in one view.  See page 17 of the TT Tech Spec. Rev. 1.66 for an
> example.
> Ideally the process would work like this.  I have a TT font with
> outlines only; I edit a TT hinting program for a glyph in emacs; I
> compile the program in emacs; a successful compile launches a previewer
> that will show me the hinted result.  Repeat cycle.
> 3.  Licensing.  It looks to me like the font (outlines) and hinting
> programs can be licensed separately.  A hinted glyph is a combination of
> an outline and a TT Instruction program.  The program could be
> distributed separately from the outline.  Technically speaking, then you
> could say that using the hints for a font does not constitute modifying
> the font.  I think.  I bring this up because, if I wrote hints for a GPL
> font like arabeyes_qr_meor, I would want them to be available for use
> for Meor's other fonts in case he chooses another license.  Plus, a
> fully documented hint program for one BEH glyph should work as a useful
> model for BEH in other fonts, so I would want to distribute the hint
> program in source code form, whether as native TT Assembler or in a
> higher lever language like the one used for TTIComp.
> FYI I have a copy of Fontlab but it doesn't look to me like it is the
> best tool to use for hinting.  Maybe later, after I've mastered the
> instruction set.
> What say ye?
> -gregg
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