[tex-live] How to use MFTOEPS? (noob)

Zdenek Wagner zdenek.wagner at gmail.com
Wed Mar 14 23:24:09 CET 2012

2012/3/14 Reinhard Kotucha <reinhard.kotucha at web.de>:
> On 2012-03-14 at 16:47:59 +0200, Khaled Hosny wrote:
>  > On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 05:01:05PM +0530, Shriramana Sharma wrote:
>  > > 2012/3/14 Zdenek Wagner <zdenek.wagner at gmail.com>:
>  > > > First, although I appreciate Anshu's work, I do not think that this is
>  > > > the right tool for producing fonts.
>  > >
>  > > Meta*Font* is not the right tool to produce fonts?!
>  >
>  > Yes. MataFont produces bitmaps (and IIAC, often optimised to the target
>  > output device), in this time and age you need scalable outlines that
>  > would be rasterised on the target device. MataFont as a language might
>  > still superior for meta design, and then a MetaPost-based solution would
>  > be the logical choice (e.g. the Latin Modern fonts).
> The Latin Modern fonts were created with MetaType1.  I suppose that they
> were created from the Metafont sources but I don't know anything about
> the Metafont => MetaPost conversion.  Maybe there are a few things you
> have to be aware of before you begin drawing the glyphs.
What is needed nowadays is an outline font, not arbitrary postscript
description of glyphs. You can create vector fonts with strokes but
they are allowed only in Type3 fonts that have certain limitation, for
instance they cannot be hinted. That's why outline fonts are required.
Metafont takes the vector description but works with bitmaps. If you
want to convert an old font, it is a (not very good) choice. It is
definitely not a good tool for designing outline fonts from scratch.
The bitmap can be converted to an outline by several tools, eg by
mftrace which is a python script that calls metafont in order to
obtain a bitmap at very high resolution, vectorizes it by potrace and
finally has the font autohinted by fontforge. Since the outline is
obtained by vectorizin a bitmap, the straight lines are not straight
but curved and thence difficult to be properly autohinted. Experts as
Karel Piska can look at all these artifacts created by vectorizing the
bitmap and can tell you what tools were used in the vectorization
process. (Many years ago Velthuis Devanagari fonts were converted to
PFB this way and the result was really ugly.) The right way is to use
a proper tool capable of the creation of the outlines directly from
the mathematical description without the bitmap step. As I wrote in my
previous mail, you cannot use the cull operator, it works with bitmaps
and therefore is not available in metapost.

> I only created a very simple symbol font a few years ago.  In order to
> create a '+'-sign, for instance, I had to draw two lines with a
> particular width and MetaType1/MetaPost determined all intersection
> points and finally created a single contour in Postscript.  MetaType1
> also converts the intermediate EPS files to a valid Type1 font.
> IMO MetaType1 is the best choice if you don't want to draw the
> outlines directly.  You can download MetaType1 from CTAN.  Though the
> author is using Windows, it works on Linux almost out of the box.
> Only one or two minor adaptions were necessary.  I don't remember the
> details but I vaguely remember it was related to different filename
> conventions on Unix/Windows or something similar.  Just start the
> script and see where it complains.
> Shriramana, you first asked on the MetaPost mailing list.  This is the
> most appropriate place and the author of MetaType1, Bogusław Jackowski,
> is also listening there, although he isn't reading mails every day.
> Regards,
>  Reinhard
> --
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Reinhard Kotucha                                      Phone: +49-511-3373112
> Marschnerstr. 25
> D-30167 Hannover                              mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Zdeněk Wagner

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