FontForge is libre software, which means free as in freedom like free speech and not merely free as in price like free beer. Software freedom means that each user has an equal amount of power as the developers over what the software does: everyone who has a copy has access to the source code, and is free to modify the code to change what the program does. Additionally, each user has an equal amount of power as the developers over when and how copies of the work are distributed. Everyone can redistribute copies, unchanged or with their improvements, with or without a fee. With cheap internet access everywhere, that freedoms mean that libre software is usually available free of charge. But more importantly, the ongoing development of the software is done in a very public way: A project.
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GitHub Using the FontForge Drawing Tools Designing a font in FontForge will involve using a number of tools and utilities, starting with a set of drawing tools which may feel familiar to users with experience in vector graphics — there are noticeable differences through.
Generally, Cubic- and Quadratic-order of these curves are used — through FontForge also supports Spiro curves, which are an alternate representation for the designer. Spiro paths will be discussed in the next chapter, and Quadratic curves are only found in TrueType fonts and rarely used in drawing — they are rather generated at build time. Different kinds of points Curve points shown as round-shaped points Curve points have two handles, each of them being linked to the other so that the line between them always stays straight, in order to produce a smooth curve on each side.
The position of each handle is independant of the others, making it suitable for discontinuities in the outline. Without handles, coins will produce straight lines. Getting it right In order to produce proper curves — with minimal control points and eased rasterization, the anchors should always be placed at the extremas of the curve, and unless in places where you have breaks in your letterforms, the line that determines the path should be horizontal or vertical.
More about that will be said later in the Validation chapter. Note: The numbers along the top where the x and y axis intersect indicate, from left to right: The current x,y location of your cursor on the canvas The location of the most recently selected point The relative position of your cursor to the selected point The distance between your cursor and the selected point The angle from the selected point to the cursor relative to the baseline The current magnification level, followed by the name of the active layer.
It might be that there is an open dialog box hidden behind it — so just move it and process the dialog box. A Line consists of 2 points. Copy, paste, cut and delete points, splines and lines As with most drawing softwares, FontForge allows you to Copy, Cut, Paste or Delete any point, line or spline. Point and Zoom Point and Zoom behave similarly to the equivalent tools in other applications. The pointer is a selection tool, used to select points, paths, and other objects on the canvas.
Note that you can also momentarily switch to the pointer tool while using another by holding down the Ctrl The Freehand tool The Freehand tool allows you to sketch out irregular paths.
On the drawing area, click and hold, then move around to draw. Switch back to the pointer tool, and you can select points on the path you have drawn. When you select one of the points on the path, it will turn into a yellow circle. If the selected point is on a curve, it will display its control points with a magenta handle and a cyan handle.
You can grab either handle and drag it around to change the shape of the curve. To add a point to a path, first select any of these tools, then click on the path and give it a little push.
You will get a new point on the line. The Curve point tool is used to add a point in a curved segment. The HVCurve point tool constrains the new points so that they have either horizontal or vertical control points — this is important for setting up extrema points. The Corner point tool allows you to make a sharp bend in the path. The Tangent point tool allows you to transition from a straight segment to a curved segment along the path.
The Pen tool The Pen tool allows you to add a point on the curve and drag out its control points. Spiro Selecting the Spiro tool puts you into Spiro drawing mode. Spiro drawing allows you to draw curves that reflow as you reposition the nodes. Knife The Knife tool allows you to cut splines in two. This comes in handy if you have drawn a shape, but only need part of it. Ruler The ruler tool gives you measurement and coordinate information. If you hover your cursor over a point, the tooltip gives you even more detailed measurement and coordinate information.
If you bring it next to a spline, it gives you information about the curvature and radius. Most usefully, if you click and drag the ruler tool, you will see the distance you have dragged the cursor, plus every intersection that you have stretched across. The transform tools There are six transform tools: Note: For all of the Transform tools, if you double-click on the tool, you can enter numeric values.
The Scale tool lets you freehand rescale an object. Holding down the Shift key allows you to scale an object while constraining it to the proportional ratio.
The Rotate tool lets you free-rotate an object. It rotates the selected object around the position where you initially click. The 3D rotate tool lets you rotate an object in the third dimension, and projects the result on the x-y plane. The Flip tool allows you to flip a selection either horizontally or vertically. The point at which you click the mouse is the point of origin of the transformation. The Skew tool lets you horizontally skew the selection either clockwise or counterclockwise withershins is how the dialog refers to counterclockwise.
The Perspective tool gives you another way to distort a shape in a nonlinear way. Note: There is no numerical option for the perspective transformation. Clicking the chevron area on these tools will give you the option to switch to the alternate tool. Rectangle options: corner style and bounding box corner or center out. Ellipse options: bounding box or center out.
Polygon options: number of vertices. Star options: number of star points and depth of points by percentage. The higher the percentage setting, the longer the arms of the star. Mse1 and Mse2 Under the toolbar, you can view the current tool and the operations available to both mouse buttons: Left button Mse1.
FontForge – An Outline Font Editor