Author Topic: Bitfonter and Photofont  (Read 3012 times)

Novo Typo

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Bitfonter and Photofont
« on: 2012-12-13, 09:58:33 »
Hello, we're new on this forum so a short intro: We are Novo Typo from Amsterdam The Netherlands. A small / exprimental type / design studio. One of our designs are the flowerfonts PURE, LILY and FALL, check www.novotypo.nl for examples.
Our clients are interested in these images as real working fonts. We are trying to produce some photofonts with the bitfonter-technology. It seems that development stopped a few years ago. Before we really invest money, time and effort we wan't to be sure that technology is still working and developing. Does anyone has some experience with bitmapfonts for web?
Is there anyone who has marketingexperience with these kind of fontformats?
All serious kinds of advice, tips, tricks or collaborationproposals are welcome and highly appreciated.
regards,
Mark

Adam Twardoch (FontLab)

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Re: Bitfonter and Photofont
« Reply #1 on: 2012-12-13, 12:07:53 »
Hello Mark,

yes -- we're currently working on a comprehensive refresh of the Photofont initiative. We've added support for multi-color outlines (not just bitmaps) to our font generation engine, and we're working on a new end-user desktop app which will allow users to typeset texts set in such fonts easily. We're also developing an opensource JavaScript library which will allow people to use such fonts on the web.

In the slightly longer run, we also plan to support the Apple "sbix" table which allows bitmap color glyphs to be natively embedded into TTF fonts and displayed on Mac OS X and on iOS devices. The "sbix" table is currently private by Apple. They used it in their Apple Color Emoji font which ships with Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8 [1].  We also intend to support the planned "SVG " table, which will allow outline- or bitmap-based color glyphs inside of TTF [2]. In fact, I was the one who kickstarted this initiative.

Definitely more to come on this in 2013!

Best,
Adam

[1] http://typographica.org/typeface-reviews/apple-color-emoji/
[2] http://www.w3.org/community/svgopentype/
Regards,
Adam Twardoch
Fontlab Ltd.

Novo Typo

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Re: Bitfonter and Photofont
« Reply #2 on: 2012-12-18, 10:30:07 »
Hello Adam,
thank you very much for your reply.
What do you suggest about buying this version of BF? Is it worth waiting for the update you mention or can I buy Bitfonter right now because it will take you at least a few more months?
We're new in this technology, so forgive us if we ask silly questions.
We probably need also the Webready app. to create some bitmap webfonts. But this technology seems to be running on Flash? So, this wil not working on our Ipad or other mobile devices from Apple? This will also be solved in the next update?

Last Question: Why is this technology so unknown and unused on the web? Isn't a beautiful chance to experiment with color for every typedesigner? Why do big fontresellers like Myfonts, Linotype etc. don't have a Photofont-section? Do we miss something, somewhere, somehow?
We would love to hear from other designers or developers about their experience in any kind of bitmapfonts.
best regards,
Mark


Adam Twardoch (FontLab)

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Re: Bitfonter and Photofont
« Reply #3 on: 2012-12-19, 04:08:48 »
Mark,

in the past, the market had a hard time to embrace multicolor fonts because operating systems did not support them natively. So using something like Photofonts was really difficult.

Since CSS webfonts happened, it became clear that web browsers could support other font formats than the operating systems they run on -- SVG Fonts being a notable example. So a number of developments started happening this year, which led us at FontLab to revive the Photofont idea. But we're doing this is a much more comprehensive way: we'll allow mixing vectors and bitmaps within the multicolor glyphs (which will be based on SVG),and we'll make use of OpenType Layout so things like multiple alternate glyphs per character will be possible.

We have experimental code that deals with this "Photofont 2.0", but it's still some months away before we'll ship something.

Of course you can get BitFonter now and start working on your fonts, and you'll be able to convert them into a more modern Web format when we ship a new version of our web converter.

Photofont WebReady currently relies on Flash, yes. So no iOS support now.
Regards,
Adam Twardoch
Fontlab Ltd.

Novo Typo

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Re: Bitfonter and Photofont
« Reply #4 on: 2012-12-19, 08:06:04 »
Hello Adam,
Thank you so much for your detailed reply. We are getting into it now and start to understand things just a little bit better. 
We probably will wait for Photofont 2.0, it sounds very promising.
Please let us know if you like us to do some testing with the beta-version... we will be delighted to help you. We have at least 8 typefaces, designed for clients all over the world (and it seems there's a market for them because they sell pretty well as handset images), waiting for this new technology. We're looking forward to hear from you.
best,
Mark

Adam Twardoch (FontLab)

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Re: Bitfonter and Photofont
« Reply #5 on: 2012-12-19, 09:47:48 »
Mark,

are the fonts purely bitmap-based or multicolor vector-based?

Please kindly contact me directly at adam [at] fontlab [dot] com for details.

Best,
Adam
Regards,
Adam Twardoch
Fontlab Ltd.