Barry SCHWARTZ (Barijo ŜVARC) (chemoelectric) wrote,

A first glyph made with Asymptote

The first glyph made with my Asymptote code. The glyph is not made by drawing an outline, or by joining serifs to a stem; most of all, it is not made by emulating pen strokes. Rather, the code starts with three rectangular blanks; the first two are reshaped by cutting and smoothing into ‘counterpunches’ shaped like the white space on the glyph’s sides; these are applied to the third blank to form the stem of the glyph; then the as yet unformed parts of the serifs are cut and smoothed.

The Asymptote homepage may not imply utility for font design, but Asymptote is a very close descendant of Metafont. It turned out that much of what Metafont did (particularly its emulation of pen strokes) seemed more useful for diagramming than font design, and so its descendants have been diagramming software. To use Asymptote for font design, I have it generate Python code that uses the FontForge Python extension; Asymptote constructs bezier splines, and FontForge does the fontly file-construction work.

Yet to be tested is how easily and well my font design model (which is based on pre-industrial methods of type-making) can be used to define large families of type controlled by a set of parameters. Different selections of parameters would give different weights, different design sizes, etc. (which was one of the goals, only unsatisfactorily achieved, of Metafont’s pen-emulation model).

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