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Re: Font Formats

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  • Ben Kiel
    Not to be the font police, but to clear up some misinformation in the last digest, here I go: ... This isn t true. Both PostScript and TrueType fonts are based
    Message 1 of 6 , May 6, 2005
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      Not to be the font police, but to clear up some misinformation in the
      last digest, here I go:

      alex brooks <alexbrooks@...> wrote:
      >the main difference (to me) between TT and PostScript fonts is that TT
      >fonts are bitmap based and PS are vector based. So postscripts are
      >infinitely scalable and will always look smooth.

      This isn't true. Both PostScript and TrueType fonts are based on
      'vectors'. TrueType uses second order curves and PostScript uses
      third order curves, a tidbit that only means something if you are
      designing type: most designers find it easier to work with PostScript
      curves. TrueType allows a designer to put a lot more 'intelligence'
      in the font file for screen rendering, however this can take a lot of
      time. Georgia and Verdana, two examples of typefaces which work very
      well on screen, had months of work poured into them at the hinting
      stage, often they are referred to as being 'superhinted'.

      The point is that both TrueType and PostScript fonts are infinitely
      scalable and both will always be smooth. Historically designers have
      preferred PostScript fonts over TrueType fonts, but a quality
      TrueType font is just as good as a quality PostScript font.

      --
      Ben Kiel
      b.c.kiel@...
    • alex brooks
      ... wow- sorry to spread misinformation, and thanks for the correction. I don t know where I got this idea, but I ve thought that TT was antiquated for some
      Message 2 of 6 , May 6, 2005
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        > The point is that both TrueType and PostScript fonts are infinitely
        > scalable and both will always be smooth. Historically designers have
        > preferred PostScript fonts over TrueType fonts, but a quality
        > TrueType font is just as good as a quality PostScript font.


        wow- sorry to spread misinformation, and thanks for the correction. I
        don't know where I got this idea, but I've thought that TT was
        antiquated for some time now. This brings me to three questions for
        everyone:

        1: How did TT get the reputation of being inferior to PS

        &

        2: What are the differences between TT and PS then, besides 2nd and 3rd
        order curves. Support? Availability of quality fonts?

        &

        3: If TT is indeed as good as PS, why isn't it used as extensively as
        PS?

        thanks,
        alex

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Harold Kyle
        ... Two reasons that I ve heard: 1) Initially service bureaus had erratic output because the application support for TT was not as dependable as PS. RIPs were
        Message 3 of 6 , May 6, 2005
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          On 5/6/05 11:24 AM, "alex brooks" <alexbrooks@...> wrote:
          > 1: How did TT get the reputation of being inferior to PS

          Two reasons that I've heard:
          1) Initially service bureaus had erratic output because the application
          support for TT was not as dependable as PS. RIPs were much less
          sophisticated then and it was hard to proof films before actually processing
          them. PS typefaces reduced costly mistakes.
          2) TT are cross-platform typefaces, and initially designers would attempt to
          bridge platforms by converting a PS typeface to TT. This resulted in a
          questionable heritage for TT typefaces...service bureaus weren't always sure
          they were generated correctly or that they were entirely dependable.

          Nowadays most applications are well suited for output of TT faces and PDF
          formats have reduced the need to migrate typefaces across platforms.

          > 2: What are the differences between TT and PS then, besides 2nd and 3rd
          > order curves. Support? Availability of quality fonts?
          It's all in the math:
          http://fontforge.sourceforge.net/bezier.html
          Aesthetics don't really play into this difference, I don't believe. For a
          more complete expanation, this site has a lot of info:
          http://www.prepressure.com/fonts/truetype01.htm

          Harold


          Boxcar Press
          Fine Printing / Digital Letterpress Supplies
          Delavan Center / 501 W. Fayette St. / Studio 222 / Syracuse, NY 13204
          315-473-0930 phone / 315-473-0967 fax / www.boxcarpress.com
        • Gerald Lange
          Harold I m not sure this is entirely accurate. PostScript was licensed as an important feature of output devices such as imagesetters. TT had to be converted.
          Message 4 of 6 , May 6, 2005
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            Harold

            I'm not sure this is entirely accurate. PostScript was licensed as an
            important feature of output devices such as imagesetters. TT had to be
            converted. There are hinting considerations that have made TT
            inferior, at least in the earlier years. Better TT fonts used Delta
            hinting but it was quite a guarded technology. Even Fontographer was
            never able to get the licensing. But TT isn't cross-platform. Or least
            it certainly wasn't... Even the latest Mac and Microsoft systems have
            incompatibility issues regarding TT fonts designed for one platform or
            the other, and Apple makes no bones about it. . . they're not
            interested. And, they're not all that thrilled about extending a hand
            to Adobe's/Microsoft's OT either.

            Re: PDFs. Older versions of Acrobat would not function properly with
            TT fonts so the PDF assumption is not exactly correct. To my
            knowledge, Adobe only ever made one typeface in the TT format. It's
            not exactly like they were fond, or supportive, of a competing format.

            A primary reason Adobe took the unprecedented risk of unlicensed its
            proprietary PS1 format was to wipe out Bitstream's proprietary format
            (at that time its major competition). Adobe wasn't concerned about
            font sales, they wanted to ensure PostScript as the dominant page
            description language (used in output devices). A brilliant move but
            one that has been problematic, in terms of the continuance of
            unlicensed font formats and rights of usage, ever since.


            Gerald

            --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, Harold Kyle <harold@b...> wrote:
            > On 5/6/05 11:24 AM, "alex brooks" <alexbrooks@U...> wrote:
            > > 1: How did TT get the reputation of being inferior to PS
            >
            > Two reasons that I've heard:
            > 1) Initially service bureaus had erratic output because the application
            > support for TT was not as dependable as PS. RIPs were much less
            > sophisticated then and it was hard to proof films before actually
            processing
            > them. PS typefaces reduced costly mistakes.
            > 2) TT are cross-platform typefaces, and initially designers would
            attempt to
            > bridge platforms by converting a PS typeface to TT. This resulted in a
            > questionable heritage for TT typefaces...service bureaus weren't
            always sure
            > they were generated correctly or that they were entirely dependable.
            >
            > Nowadays most applications are well suited for output of TT faces
            and PDF
            > formats have reduced the need to migrate typefaces across platforms.
            >
            > > 2: What are the differences between TT and PS then, besides 2nd
            and 3rd
            > > order curves. Support? Availability of quality fonts?
            > It's all in the math:
            > http://fontforge.sourceforge.net/bezier.html
            > Aesthetics don't really play into this difference, I don't believe.
            For a
            > more complete expanation, this site has a lot of info:
            > http://www.prepressure.com/fonts/truetype01.htm
            >
            > Harold
            >
            >
            > Boxcar Press
            > Fine Printing / Digital Letterpress Supplies
            > Delavan Center / 501 W. Fayette St. / Studio 222 / Syracuse, NY 13204
            > 315-473-0930 phone / 315-473-0967 fax / www.boxcarpress.com
          • Gerald Lange
            FYI on TT in the PS environment: A tech at Apple has informed me that when a TT font is sent to a PostScript printer (or imagesetter) it normally, dependent
            Message 5 of 6 , May 8, 2005
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              FYI on TT in the PS environment:

              A tech at Apple has informed me that when a TT font is sent to a
              PostScript printer (or imagesetter) it normally, dependent upon the
              printer routines, has to be "converted" to a form of PostScript. In
              most cases this would be a font format called PostScript Type 42 (a
              co-development of Apple and Adobe), which is essentially a functional
              PostScript "wrapper," similar in kind to the OpenType "wrapper" both
              PS1 and TT are given in the OT environment. Other than that, it's not
              a case of one being inferior to the other or vice versa, just a matter
              of functionality in any given environment.

              Gerald
              http://Bielerpress.blogspot.com
            • Gerald Lange
              Published last Thursday in Voice: AIGA Journal of Design was a very comprehensive history of digital type design, The Digital Past: When Typefaces Were
              Message 6 of 6 , May 23, 2005
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                Published last Thursday in Voice: AIGA Journal of Design was a very
                comprehensive history of digital type design, "The Digital Past: When
                Typefaces Were Experimental" by Paul Shaw. It reveals the intricacies
                of how the evolving technology has influenced typeface designs.

                http://voice.aiga.org/content.cfm?ContentAlias=_getfullarticle&aid=%23%2C%3EO%24%0A

                Gerald
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