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RE: display vs text faces

From: Bill Hill <billhill@microsoft.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 96 16:38:14 PST
To: i-simond@microsoft.com, www-font@w3.org
Message-Id: red-36-msg960126003324MTP[01.52.00]000000bd-3635
i think there's a better way of handling display faces than this.

for a start, why should we be saddled with the anti-aliasing used in Photoshop?
research has shown that people recognize words mostly by the 
high-frequency information - the contrasts between dark stems and light 
backgrounds, or light stems and dark backgrounds. PhotoShop's 
anti-aliasing blurs ALL of the letters, degrading the high-frequency 
parts as well.

The (TrueType) anti-aliasing in Windows 95 Plus! is much more 
sophisticated in its approach, since it first grid-fits the letters to 
regularize stems, etc., then applies anti-aliasing only to the places 
it's needed (curves and diagonals) while leaving stems, crossbars and 
serifs alone. the high-frequency information is retained.

also, Win95's anti-aliasing is applied "on the fly", which means your 
text is still text, not a bit-map. so it's scalable, searchable, 
editable, localizable, etc.. if you've ever been involved in puting out 
information that has to be updated, or localized into other languages, 
you'll know what a complete pain anti-aliased bitmaps are to deal with. 
How are you going to use software to search for a heading if it's in a 
vector graphics format?

now, Win95 anti-aliasing isn't cross-platform, obviously. but 
well-hinted TrueType is. Yes, there are different Macintosh and Windows 
font files, but if a library of enough useable faces was freely 
available people could download what they needed. And they'd get good 
print as well.

With properly-designed and hinted faces, some faces will work well for 
both text and display. For the sake of variety, we probably do need 
some faces which are display-only. These could be handled differently; 
for example, they might have reduced character-sets. They could be 
hinted only down to, say, 14 point on VGA (a lot of hinting data in a 
text font is taken up by delta instructions aimed at getting the best 
representation at small sizes - 12pt and below). These are just some 
ideas; would need to be looked at in more detail.

From: Simon Daniels (EDP)
To:  <www-font@w3.org>
Subject: display vs text faces
Date: Thursday, January 25, 1996 8:41PM

Has anyone considered handling display and text faces differently?

For text fonts I think Bill is right. You need to have a scalable 
format so that the type works in print as well as on screen. The font 
files are bloated as they have to include either hinting information or 
bitmap screen fonts. I can't see a problem with a format such as 
TrueType for text, (except getting the same font file to work on 
multiple platforms)

But for display text (anything over HTML font size=7) perhaps a 
different approach would be more suitable. The great thing about using 
bitmaps for display typography, such as titles and logos, is that you 
can perform all manner of digital jiggery-pokery on them using 
Photoshop etc. The bad thing is that they don't print out very well.

Perhaps a vector format like eps should be used... Display typography 
which is resolution independent, scalable, can be multi coloured and 
with no complicated copyright issues associated with distributing fonts 
that can be downloaded and reused elsewhere. Perhaps Adobe could be 
persuaded to release the rasterizing/ antialiasing routines from 
PhotoShop for inclusion in browsers.

Simon Daniels (i-simond@microsoft.com)

these views are my own and no not necessarily reflect those of my employer etc.
Received on Thursday, 25 January 1996 19:35:20 UTC

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