Font Studio 2.0

Author: AB Vista
Publisher: Letraset
Shared by: MR
On: 2020-09-15 08:14:32
Updated by: InkBlot
On: 2023-06-21 15:50:14
Rating: 0.00 Clarus out of 10 (0 vote)
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What is Font Studio 2.0?

With version 2.0 of FontStudio, Letraset has significantly beefed up its typedesign program by adding support for TrueType fonts, automatic and manual hinting, screen previews that use three different rasterizers, and interpolation for creating new fonts with intermediate weights. However, FontStudio exacts a price for its power, with an interface that vacillates between illuminating and irritating, making it difficult at times to access its professional-level tools.

Compared with rival Fontographer’s straightforward, bare-bones interface, FontStudio's interface is densely packed and sometimes confusing. With Fontographer, you can simply open or create an outline-font file and immediately begin tweaking characters. FontStudio, on the other hand, requires that you open or create a separate font-family window before you can begin working with a font. The window displays icons that represent all the elements that make up a font family, including outline and bit-mapped fonts, style names, character encoding, and so on. Interface issues aside, however, FontStudio's ability to tweak characters, fine-tune metrics, and edit bit maps is unsurpassed.

Fortunately, FontStudio supplies some neat tricks for speeding up the creation of font families. For example, if you set out to modify existing PostScript typefaces, FontStudio can quickly create family files for some or all of the font families contained in even the most enormous font suitcase. FontStudio forces users always to think in terms of entire font families rather than in terms of single typefaces.

Once you've created a font family, you’re ready to begin designing with FontStudio's powerful outline editor. The editor sports two floating palettes: one for tools, another for measurements. Here too the interface is somewhat cluttered and confusing, but the tools it provides are impressive. The character-parts library, for example, lets you store serifs and strokes and quickly apply them to characters. When you change a serif in the library, the change is reflected in all the characters that use that serif.

At first glance, FontStudio outlines, with their familiar Bézier control and anchor points, seem much like Illustrator's and FreeHand's. But subtle differences in FontStudio's approach to control points cancel out any experience you may have gained by using illustration programs.

New to version 2.0 is a split-screen window that displays a rasterized image of the outline character you’re designing as well as a rasterized image of the character. You can select one of three rasterizer options; Adobe Type Manager, TrueType, or FontStudio’$ own.

If you want to import characters to modify in FontStudio, rather than start from scratch, you can import existing Adobe, Bitstream, Fontographer, or LetraFont typefaces. You can also paste artwork directly from Illustrator 1.1 into the outline-editor window. You can use PICT and TIFF files as templates to trace by hand or put the program's auto-trace tool to work to do the job for you.

FomStudio 2,0 also offers a unique new feature for creating a new font weight by interpolating between two existing weights. For example, by interpolating between a “light" and a “bold" font, you can generate a new mediumweight font.

The program also features a powerful automatic hinting algorithm as well as the ability to let users manually adjust the hinting for each character. When you open an existing outline, FontStudio preserves the hints in Adobe as well as TrueType fonts. You can observe and edit hinting for individual characters as well as for an entire typeface, using FontStudio’s histogram view.

Once you’ve hinted an outline, you can use it to generate bit-mapped fonts at any size and then edit them with FontStudio’s excellent bit-map editor. You can also create gray-scale anti-aliased or color bitmapped fonts for presentations or for use in high-resolution color applications such as Photoshop.

In addition to its new features, FontStudio continues to provide outstanding management tools for character metrics. The automatic and manual kerning capabilities of the program are especially impressive, including sophisticated spread sheet like formulas for precise control and the ability to automatically generate kerning pairs.

The Bottom Line

FontStudio ’s interface can sometimes make simple jobs more complicated than they should be. Moreover, the program’s outline editing is a bit unconventional, and it can generate only Macintosh Fonts. Rival Fontographer’s ability to generate Windows and NeXT fonts may turn out to be an advantage for mixed-platform environments.

On the other hand, FontStudio is impressive as a powerful, full-featured font editor. When it comes to hinting tools, font metrics and kerning, and unique features such as the ability to generate intennediate-weight fonts, FontStudio steals the show.

Taub, Eric. (May 1992). FontStudio 2.0. MacUser. (pgs. 56-57).

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