Gerald and List,
FontLab can certainly do what you describe from the Transform menu: you just
embolden the font by -2 or -4 or -6 or whatever (measurements in em units,
same as FOG), and make sure that 'Keep Character's Dimensions' is not
checked. Unlike Fontographer, Fontlab doesn't
automatically change the metrics for you.
As you'll know from Fontographer, doing this can sometimes leave little
unresolved outlines, bubbles, which have to be deleted; which can be quite a
problem with fonts like my own Caslon, where outlines have intrentionally
been left rough since their roughness makes a contribution to the impression
they give of visual richness. (If you redraw Caslon with smooth outlines you
end up with something that just isn't Caslon...)
In Fontographer I recall that I used to have to go through the font cutting
the outlines I wanted to keep, then deleting everything still left over, and
then pasting back the character outlines. Time consuming and
labour-intensive. You still have to do that in Fontlab, though for the
Caslon project we did invent a system for saving the font as a Type 1 font,
converting it into a Type 3 ASCII font, running it through a parseing
program to count the number of discrete outlines in each glyph, and flagging
any discrepancies between that number and the correct number of outlines
that there have been in the glyph (e.g., 2 for cap A, 3 for cap B). Once
problem characters had been identified, it was easy enough to go into
Fontlab and delete any superfluous outlines. With Fontlab 4 I'm informed
that it's going to be possible to achieve this sort of stuff by writing
one's own scripts -- which should certainly make the process somewhat less
I've had remarkably few problems with Fontlab 3.1 on the PC, although it can
crash when doing what I've just described. The solution is to save
regularly -- pressing Control-S becomes second nature, and really isn't a
problem -- after every significant change, even just getting a curve the way
you want it. As long as you do this, there shouldn't be any reason for
It's a pity, isn't it, that font makers don't offer Polymer-optimised
versions of their types? Caslon hereby volunteers to be the first so to
do -- just let me know what to take off, and I'll take it off.
website: http://www.hwcaslon.com Home of Caslon Old Face, the world's oldest
email: [log in to unmask]
----- Original Message -----
From: "Gerald Lange" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2001 6:49 AM
Subject: New babe in the woods
> Hello all
> This is my first posting to this list and I have a quite naive question.
> Don't all reach for your keyboards at once!
> I am a fine press printer printing letterpress with photopolymer plates.
> We generally have to alter the stroke weights of characters in a digital
> font to account for expected "ink spread" (an effect caused by
> impression and accumulating ink gain). This is a fairly routine process
> and quite simple in FOG 4.0x (Mac) using the old Altys "underground
> manual" which reveals how to bring the metrics back into the newly
> created font to ensure like kerning and positioning, etc.
> So the question is this, is there a similar feature in FontLab and is
> there documentation of this? And how reliable is FontLab on the Mac? I
> have heard horror stories.
> All best
> Gerald Lange
> The Bieler Press