Thursday, March 1, 2007

Chortle update and sample images

Here is a sample of the bitmap version of the Chortle font:

As you can see, this font is quite readable but could be improved.

One issue is the the letters are a little closer together than they are in, say, the Verdana font. There is one pixel between each letter in this font; this makes the font a little cramped looking. Another issue is with the "m", "i", and "T" letters: They are asymmetrical. This is because Fontforge doesn't allow me to change the width of a bitmap version of a letter without changing the width in the vector form of the letter.

The thinking is this: We want the bitmap version to resemble, as much as possible, the high-reolsution version of the font. However, this is not possible at the small resolutions typical of computer screens, because the width on the screen has to "snap to" an integer count of pixels.

Indeed, here is a naïve rendering of the above bitmap font on a computer screen, where the characters are placed, as close as possible, to where the characters would be on the printed document:

While this is still readable, it's a little more difficult to read because there is more spacing between some letters, such as "qu" in "quick" and "la" in "lazy".

Another issue is with diagonal strokes. The "x" is a little hard to read because this letter has both diagonal strokes and serifs. The "s" used to also be difficult to read, but I revised it this morning to not have any diagonal strokes in it. I tried removing the diagonal strokes from "y", but decided that it's better to keep the diagonal strokes in this letter. Indeed, the "y" in the Verdana font has diagonal strokes (but doesn't have strokes in the X11 "Misc" font).

Here is the bold version of this font:

As you can see, this is incomplete. In particular, the uppercase accented letters haven't been done yet. As I mentioned yesterday, the letters with diagonal strokes ("A", "M", "W", "v", "w", "x") look a little darker than other letters. Strangely enough, the "z" doesn't have this problem. You may also notice that the lower case "y" doesn't have diagonal strokes; once we make this font bold, it's nay to impossible to keep "y" readable without removing the diagonal strokes. Like the roman font, some letters, such as "r" and "v", suffer because we can't make these letters wider.

Anyway, in addition to getting to the bottom of MaraDNS' memory management, my next project is to finish the bold font, then work on the italic font, then do all this work again at other pixel sizes.

Again, the URL for the Chortle font is here: