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Font Rendering: Respecting The Pixel Grid


#101

I think I need to point this article out:

http://www.antigrain.com/research/font_rasterization/index.html


#102

It might also be related to the graphical subsystem and the monitor. I have an Apple Cinema Display and I’m using MacOS X. When I look at your original post with the two images, before I even know which one is which(!), I saw the first and it looked very appealing to my eyes. Then I saw the second one and only though “OMG, what is this? A screenshot of a Linux browser running an a X11 with only pixel fonts (no TTF support) and without any kind of font smoothing?”. I had to look twice to actually see that the lower image uses font smoothing as well.

I’m not sure if this because I view the image on an Apple system (hardware and software) or because I’m just used to Apple’s font smoothing. While the second one might indeed be slightly more readable than the first one, the letters are so horribly “thin”, a lot more blocky, which leaves so much space between the single letters (way too much for my taste) and as has been pointed out here, probably destroys the font.

Okay, what font was that? Times or Arial? Not mucht to destroy there in the first place :stuck_out_tongue: However, try a webpage that uses a much more detailed font, where letters have much more fine grained details. While Apple might make the font appear a bit unclear and very smooth, you will recognize that this font is special (and not just Arial or Times) - I’m afraid IE will lose mmost difference and below a certain font size, every font will look the same in IE. Not necessarily bad as long as the text is always readable, it’s actually good; but it destroys the whole purpose of using different fonts at all.


#103

dsfdsdsf


#104

Would you test Linux ?

It seems there is something like ClearType built-in (but fine tuning windows in Gnome Font Settings seems quite different from Windows ClearType tuning PowerToy)

So i wonder, what does Linux (or perhaps we’d better say x.org) side with ?


#105

I wish there was a way to update the whole font-rendering engine on Windows? I don’t like how typefaces become synthetic and so digital on my windows machine.


#106

I much prefer OSX’s rendering, but I can see the Windows argument. I think it comes down to design purity vs. design practicality - with strong arguments for both sides. Take yer pick folks.


#107

I much prefer OSX’s rendering, but I can see the Windows argument. I think it comes down to design purity vs. design practicality - with strong arguments for both sides. Take yer pick folks.

+1


#108

I think I need to point this article out:
http://design-for.ru


#109

windows clear type sucks


#110

I’d like to to get some feedback on the use of pixel grids for image analysis – specifically to track textual changes in an image as a result of image manipulation versus textual changes as a result of saving a bitmap image as a compressed JPG.


#111

There is an excellent book about typography by Jan Tschichold, German typographer. Book is called Typographische Gestaltung.

Vitali Komarov, artist
a href=http://www.komarovart.comwww.komarovart.com/a


#112

There is an excellent book about typography by Jan Tschichold, German typographer. Book is called Typographische Gestaltung.

Vitali Komarov, artist
a href=http://www.komarovart.comwww.komarovart.com/a


#113

There is an excellent book about typography by Jan Tschichold, German typographer. Book is called Typographische Gestaltung.

Vitali Komarov, artist
a href=http://www.komarovart.comwww.komarovart.com/a


#114

There is an excellent book about typography by Jan Tschichold, German typographer. Book is called Typographische Gestaltung.

Vitali Komarov, artist
a href=http://www.komarovart.comkomarovart.com/a


#115

It’s great !


#116

Yes, in Safari always the font was pleasant to me, but it is beautiful till the moment when it above 12px, all is more low awful approximately.


#117

Bah! I turn off ClearType in both Windows XP and IE7. Yes, I do use LCD monitors and they are in native resolution. I just prefer crisp-edged text for reading.

P.S. does anybody remember the old Mac System 6 and 7 days when the same letter would render with different stroke widths depending on how it aligned to the grid? I used to call these the blobbies (c.f. jaggies). You’d insert text and the rest of the paragraph would jitter as it moved across the screen.

Remember fonts like Venice and Chicago that were designed specifically for 72-dpi screen and dot-matrix print? (It was an Apple stroke of genius making both the same.) All the angles on the letter shapes were 45. I can only imagine how much fun they must have had converting those from bitmap when TrueType was first introduced.

We’ve come a long way, but the design-for-low-res vs. design-for-hi-res choice won’t disappear. Neither will the problem of readability vs. accurate font metrics.


#118

Well, I am certainly not a designer. But I know that at the beginning, I disliked any and all font smoothing. I just wanted clear edges. Somwhere down the road, I started liking ClearType. Now I can’t go back to a PC without ClearType.

Currently I am fiddling with my wife’s MacBook and I have to say that I just can’t get passed my dislike for the OS X smoothing although I have approached it from different angles. That is definitely one of the main reasons that is keeping me from switching.

Some strange observations. I am far-sighted. For regular vision, I use glasses that are +5 strong. But I also use reading glasees that are +7.5 strong. These have their clear focus at about 20 inches. And they make every tiny detail sharp and clear at that distance. And guess what, the fonts rendered on the MacBook look quite odd through those. Not so much that I see a blur, but I see all the tiny bits that make that blur possible. One pixel leak here, another one there. When I put my +5 glasees back on, things turn more into a blur BUT, readability increases since the optical system in my brain is probably cancelling the leaking pixels and rendering the font image into a block. In the end, to my eyes through my reading glasses, OS X displays fonts like a cheap ink jet would print them, and ClearType displays fonts like a laser would print them. That’s at least what I can say from my own experience.

Something tells me that everybody has a different resolution to their eyes at the distance they are using their computers and this probably is one of the contributing factors as well in this debate.

At the end, though, I realy wish the choice was left to the user and his/her circumstance.


#119

A follow-up on my post of yesterday.

I did a full reading of the article at antigrain.com (http://www.antigrain.com/research/font_rasterization/index.html) which has been referred to above. Granted that I probably understood only half of it really, there was this argument about Apple’s approach in that article:

But it looks like they also rigidly snap symbols to pixels, no matter how blurry they look. So, what is their mission? To render blurry text only in order to make people buy higher resolution displays?! It’s an unfair game!

So I went to the Apple store on 5th Ave today to really test this one with my own vision. I have to say my findings agree with the above statement. As soon as you start browsing on one of the 23 or 30 ACD’s you get the point. Text appears very uniform and crisp on those displays as opposed to all other Apple offerings. I say this with some degree of confidence in my vision when it is armed by my reading glasses. Once they are on, I’m 100% there in the very detail of the pixels when I am in the correct focus distance much like a camera in sharp focus. The larger ACD’s were of courese sitting right next to the full mac line so I did get to compare these with all Apple offerings. To me the 20 iMac with the TN-Film display was the worst. It was worse actually than the white MacBook I thought. Nonetheless, I admit that this whole thing is an impression since I did not have the chance to really sit down and do an all out comparison, installing FF and other non-Apple software or tinkering with font smoothing settings in each system although most of them were set to auto.

Another test that I did was trying to see how ClearType compares to Quartz through my wife’s vision. This was an attempt to test my previous post. I know that she had LASIK for her near-sightedness and then she also has some amount of astigmatism but she ususally does not wear her glasses. And guess what, Quartz looked fuller to her on the MacBook. One could argue that it is a thing of preference. But I am curious about what shapes that preference and I highly suspect that vision really does play a role in this. I suspect that her astigmatism introduces some amount of blur to the visual information presented to her. So that when she looks at ClearType, it looks thinner and undefined to her. On the other hand when she looks at Quartz, the boldening of regular typefaces by that technology looks fuller to her. Also, the blur that is already there in her vision probably cancels out some of the blur introduced by Quartz.

Of course now I am curious to see how ClearType would fare with different displays as well although my experience with it does seem to be more uniform compared to Quartz up to now.

Although a 20 ACD is on its way to my residence at the moment, I agree that this seems to be an unfair game that Apple plays. I’m sure if business will were there to compensate for todays display technology while at the same time preparing for higher resolution displays of tomorrow, the enginneering skill would be found to do it.

On a last note, when compared to the new LED backlit 24 display, the older ACD’s did render fonts better I thought. I suspect that here, display technology could be at play. I am not sure what type the new display is (IPS, SVA, TN). But the fact that there is some amount of grain that comes with the older S-IPS ACD’s may be contributing to smoother quartz performance on older ACD’s. Did Apple engineers design Quartz only when they were sitting in front of higher resolution S-IPS monitors? Beats me.


#121

I’m a programmer and I have to say that for programming ClearType is just much better to read. I wish OSX had ClearType selectable, so when I programme on OSX it looked as good as Windows. It’s the one thing I envy Windows for.