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Workflow for Using Kerning Pair Path Tools

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skinnyhouse
Script Coder

Workflow for Using Kerning Pair Path Tools

Post#1 by skinnyhouse » 26 Oct 2019, 14:01


Custom Font Resource for having a go yourself:
Builder_WhiteBase_Unkerned.xcf
(1.51 MiB) Downloaded 80 times
Kerning Utility Workflow.pdf
(427.87 KiB) Downloaded 77 times

Workflow for adding kerning pairs paths

After using the Custom Font Kerning Utilities a little more I have started working in a slightly different way and my experiences might be useful for those wanting to have a go for the first time.

Important First things

You will need the following plug-ins installed in your Gimp plug-in folder:
Custom Font Kerning for Uppercase v. 0.02
Custom Font Kerning for Lowercase v. 0.02b
Custom Font Kerning for Uppercase to Lowercase v. 0.02b
FontSlab v. 0.12

These tools are all available by searching on GimpLearn.

First Things First

Try to choose a custom font with only upper-case letters if this is your first go. It sounds obvious but if the custom font contains only capital letters you will only need to use the uppercase kerning utility and this means that you will have to create fewer kerning pairs than you would with a full character set.

If you have a custom font with capitals and lower-case work on the capitals first and then use the upper-case to lower-case utility. The lower-case filter tends to require the least work.

If you just add kerning paths for the vowels the results can dramatically improve the look of text ‘written’ in your chosen custom font.

Adding Kerning Pairs: Example Method

Look out for the unsightly gaps that sloping letters without kerning can produce. If the font uses letters with flourishes and swashes that flow beneath the letter base-line they too will produce gaps and will need to be addressed with kerning pairs.

Fire up Gimp and open your custom font file. Call up the upper-case kerning filter from:

Filters>>Custom Font Tools>>Kerning Tools>>Custom Font Kerning for Uppercase v002...

Leave all the dialog options as they appear apart from the ones shown below.
01_dialog.png
01_dialog.png (6.63 KiB) Viewed 2668 times
Click on ‘OK’.

The new image will display all the upper-case letter pairs in reduced opacity, since no kerning pairs exist yet.
02_A_Display.png
02_A_Display.png (42.51 KiB) Viewed 2668 times
Now I can begin to assess which letters will most influence kerning decisions and decide what sort of spacing to aim for between the characters (hopefully without creating too much extra work).

I am going to opt for a narrow spacing – roughly in keeping with that between ‘AA’ and ‘AD’. This means that I will have to move ‘C’ (and all the other letters in the same group), ‘J’, ‘T, ‘U’, ‘V’, ‘W’ and ‘Y’ closer to letter ‘A’ (the first letter in this kerning pair set).

Return to the custom font image and re-call the filter dialog. Set ‘Create upper-case kerning paths’ to ‘Yes’, the ‘Kerning style used’ to ‘Common pairs’ and ‘Apply kerning to’ to ‘A’: My initial values are shown below. Remember that the amount entered is a percentage of the first character width.
03_dialog.png
03_dialog.png (67.29 KiB) Viewed 2668 times
N.B. There is no need to set the ‘Select one kerning example’, from the previous action, back to ‘No’ since it will be ignored when creating paths.

Click ‘OK’ and then save the custom font so that the kerning pair information can now be used.

Re-call the filter dialog and unset the ‘Create upper-case kerning paths’ back to ‘No’. Click on ‘OK’ and a new image will be created to display the kerning pairs paths.
04_A_Display.png
04_A_Display.png (51.1 KiB) Viewed 2668 times
Now that kerning paths exist the letter pairs are displayed with full opacity. Looking at them I felt that I needed decrease the spacing further with ,J’, ‘U’, ‘V’ and ‘W’ but that I needed to increase the spacing for ‘Y’. Some you win – some you lose.

Re-call the filter and adjust the values (shown below).
05_dialog.png
05_dialog.png (66.85 KiB) Viewed 2668 times
Set ‘Create upper-case kerning paths’ to ‘Yes’ again and click on ‘OK’. Save the custom font file again to use these new values.

Re-call the filter dialog and unset the ‘Create upper-case kerning paths’ back to ‘No’. Click on ‘OK’ and a new image will be created to display the kerning pairs paths.
06_A_Display.png
06_A_Display.png (50.08 KiB) Viewed 2668 times
I feel as if I am being a little pedantic here but I still feel the need to increase the space between with the ‘AY’ pair slightly using a value of -13.
07_A_Display.png
07_A_Display.png (50.09 KiB) Viewed 2668 times
The workflow pattern revolves around the three actions:

‘CREATE PATHS – SAVE PATHS – DISPLAY PATHS’.

Note: Values used with ‘Common pairs only’ are always added to or subtracted from the original width of the first letter in the kerning pair. Values used with ‘Use kerning paths if available’ will be added to or subtracted from the value of the current width of an existing kerning path.

Twenty-six new paths kerning created – so let’s move on to the next letter. Call up the filter dialog and set ‘Show kerning for’ to ‘B’. Reset the letter adjustment values to zero and set the ‘Create upper-case kerning paths’ back to ‘No’ before clicking on ‘OK’.

Once again, since there are currently no kerning paths for this letter, the character pairs will be not be displayed with full opacity. You could always create the kerning pairs with initial values set to zero, if you needed to view the common pairs, before making any judgements on adjustment values.
08_A_Display.png
08_A_Display.png (42.52 KiB) Viewed 2668 times
My candidates for adjusting - the ‘BC’ group, ‘BJ’, ‘BT’, ‘BV’, ‘BW’ and ‘BY’ - although I will exclude ‘BV’ and ‘BW’ since they are not in the list of common pairs. Adjusted pairs below:
09_B_Display.png
09_B_Display.png (52.68 KiB) Viewed 2668 times
I carried on the process of reviewing each letter – not all of which required modifying – and ended up with a total of 427 extra kerning paths. After using the ‘Finalize’ option this number came down to an additional 101 paths being required.

A sample of the custom font without kerning paths...
10_Unkerned.png
10_Unkerned.png (48.67 KiB) Viewed 2668 times
...and with kerning paths.
11_Kerned.png
11_Kerned.png (47.93 KiB) Viewed 2668 times
0

Pat625
Tutorial Creator

Post#2 by Pat625 » 26 Oct 2019, 16:46


Skinnyhouse, I am continually amazed by your knowledge, abilities, and persistence to work on these plug-ins so that it is easier for us and more "polished".
0


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