This doc­u­ment describes an exam­ple process of gen­er­at­ing hinted fonts with Post­Script or True­Type out­lines using auto­matic and/or sim­ple man­ual steps in Font­Lab Stu­dio 5.

The pro­duc­tion of hinted fonts can be pri­mar­ily divided into three major parts:

  • read­ing hint­ing from exist­ing native fonts
  • adding hint­ing to an exist­ing .vfb document
  • writ­ing hint­ing into gen­er­ated native fonts

For more detailed infor­ma­tion about hint­ing in Font­Lab Stu­dio, please refer to the User’s Man­ual. We also rec­om­mend read­ing the arti­cle Notes on Hint­ing with Font­Lab by J. Vic­tor Gaultney.

1. Intro­duc­tion

There is a fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence in how Font­Lab Stu­dio (FLS) treats hint­ing infor­ma­tion for Post­Script–fla­vored glyphs and True­Type–fla­vored glyphs. PostScript-flavored glyphs are those used in Open­Type PS (.otf), Type 1 and Mul­ti­ple­Mas­ter fonts. TrueType-flavored glyphs are those used in Open­Type TT (.ttf) and True­Type fonts. The native Font­Lab doc­u­ment for­mat (.vfb) can store both kinds of glyphs.

Hint­ing in PostScript-flavored glyphs (PS hint­ing) exists on one level only, so no trans­la­tion or con­ver­sion is nec­es­sary. Font­Lab Stu­dio can loss­lessly read and write PS hint­ing, it can also loss­lessly mod­ify PS hint­ing as well as gen­er­ate it. More pre­cisely: FLS sup­ports Type 1 hints natively. When read­ing Open­Type PS (.otf) fonts, FLS con­verts CFF hint­ing into Type 1 hinting.

Hint­ing in TrueType-flavored glyphs (TT hint­ing) exists on two lev­els:

  • the low-level TT hint­ing (native) — assem­bly code in the True­Type instruc­tions lan­guage, com­piled into binary form, stored in Open­Type TT (.ttf) and True­Type fonts, as well as option­ally stored in the Font­Lab .vfb documents.
  • the high-level TT hint­ing (visual) — visual instruc­tions in FontLab’s own TTH lan­guage, stored in the Font­Lab .vfb documents.

Font­Lab Stu­dio can read low-level TT hint­ing. FLS can also write the stored low-level TT hint­ing but only for glyphs that had not been mod­i­fied. If you mod­ify a glyph, the stored low-level TT hint­ing will be removed.

Font­Lab Stu­dio can also con­vert PS hint­ing into high-level TT hint­ing, mod­ify the high-level TT hint­ing, and con­vert (com­pile) the high-level TT hint­ing into the low-level TT hint­ing. Note that FLS can­not con­vert (decom­pile) the low-level TT hint­ing into the high-level TT hinting.

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