Complex drop shadows and textured effects at export

I’m wondering is if it’s possible to address specific outlines in multiple-outline letters, and apply an effect only to them.

I’ve done mock-up in Illustrator to show what I mean.

This would be really useful for more complex effects that combine several tricks, and ideally could be applied as a filter at the export stage.

Sadly I’m not Python-savvy to have a go myself.

With the addition of pathfinder operations and offsets available as filters, I’m guessing it might also be possible to do non-connected shadows, like this font:

(I’d need to be able to sensibly deal with counters too, obviously.)

Many thanks


You should try to learn python. It not a secret ability that you have to be born with ;).

In a script, you can easily keep track of the different paths as you go trough the different stages.

Old dog, new tricks…!

It’s a very long way to be able to code this yourself. It’s probably better to pay someone to do it.

I am curious how many hours would something like this take an experienced programmer.

Not such a long way. The hatching would be a little difficult but that would not need to be scripted. The offsetting perhaps, but you can look into existing code for that.

To write a filter like that is not that complicated. Most of the actual transformations are available already. So one only needs to chain them together.

Type effects were discussed in several threads here; a few claimed that complex effects would be easier if rendered externally then re-imported as ready designed glyphs.

I’ve experienced problems with the Hatch-outline filter on scriptural and connected fonts (discussed with Georg); it has not been resolved yet.
Should be admitted that many participants here (and I am one of them) have not mastered most of available techniques; while avoiding to learn Python scripting because of losing control on end-results, further to the believe that programming is not a type designer mission!! .
I’d suggest to add in a market place (such as the commercial plug-ins ) a section for script developers to sell their scripts and get paid for custom orders;

I’m pleased to see your interaction at this forum;
(A connection after 21 years - TypeWorks London)

Some of the styles in the image shown above can be crated by scripts or filters, others are a bit to special and need some manual intervention. Others can be done easily.

It should work if you add a very small vertical offset (like 0.1).

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I’d like to give two of my hands up for that. I develop a lot of tools and many of them are free for everyone to use. But I also got some very sublime tools that ate up hundreds of hours to develop and I am not willing to give those away for free, also because I know that they can save valuable time and hence lots of money for the users.

From time to time I get commissions from type designers to program something for them, and I happily accept those jobs. A platform where people in need and people who provide can meet would be awesome.

I already got some information from Georg about how to make some plugins purchasable, but those platforms are incredibly intimidating because they’re built for software and app developer companies and are expensive and too cluttered for simple plugin distribution. It’s all time an money to be spend just to make one little tool available.

I would really love to hear about any ideas about it. Currently I get requests by e-mail and send out zip files along with an invoice. Not very handy especially with keeping the tool up to date on the user’s side.

Confession time: I’m afraid that I have never done any programming at all, so even the basics would take some mastering. This is one of the reasons getting things like ligatures to work in FontLab was, for me, overly complicated. If it hadn’t been for Mark Simonson’s help FontLab would have defeated me. (Glyphs is so much more user-friendly!)

I do think this would be a very powerful plug-in, so if anyone wants to have a go I’d be eternally grateful. And happy to buy it.

Adding effects in Illustrator or Photoshop then importing is very time consuming, even though the results can be very effective. This is how I did some of the distressed wood-type fonts from years ago. A filter added at export is a massive time-saver, especially for a large family, even if the exported weights then need to be tweaked individually,

The manner in which several filters can be applied at export is a great model. The operations that I’d like to see added in this fashion are:

Any XY transformation
Any pathfinder operation
A duplicate path operation (so it can then be offset)

…and the (I assume) more difficult part:

Applying any filter only to specific paths. (The mock-up in my original post illustrates this). Can any filter tell the difference between each path in a multiple-outlined letter? Could an effect (for example) only be added to the interior path of an outlined glyph (as in my mock-up), or just the drop shadow? How would the filter know which part was which?

Like I say, I’m no programmer, but might it be possible to get around this simply by using separate layers, so each is then easily addressable by subsequent filters, then the layers flattened at the end for the final exported version?

In my dreams, the interface would look something like this and work font-wide, with a preview so you can see what’s happening:

  1. Duplicate outline to a new layer. (Repeat as needed).
  2. Apply filter to any specific layer. (Filters would include things like “offset curve”, with options like “Noodler” but with the addition of a corner style option; Move x, y; Roughen; Round corners, whatever - maybe an option to write your own!. One filter could use a texture placed in a non-exporting glyph to knock out of the layer as a pathfinder operation (bit like the Pixellate plug-in).
  3. Set certain specified layers to affect other specified layers using specific pathfinder operations (e.g., Layer 2 knocks out of Layer 6, Layer 3 unites with Layer 1, etc)
  4. Repeat any of the above operations as required.
  5. The order that the above happen can be changed by dragging, duplicating, etc in the interface.
  6. Once perfected, you copy and paste into the “Custom Parameter” field as before.
  7. Export.

I think that’d be pretty useful and versatile.

One note: “Noodler” makes outlines, but always an even number, meaning you need to manually remove one to get a “rimmed” effect:

I’d love a Noodler-style filter that can create and odd number of outlines, if possible.

21 years?!? I’m old…

Noodler does that, but beginning from a monoline, not a readily closed contour as the one you have in the example.

I think purchase option doesn’t need to be supported by the Glyphs side. This will also require trial versions, refunds, etc. to be officially supported, which is not worth anybody’s effort. I think a private access option as opposed to public may be a good stop, and a tool developer would deal with payments via email.

Edit: Sorry, it doesn’t make much sense now that I think of it. Paid and private are not quite the same category. I just thought Mark’s specific case could be handled privately, without necessarily showing the product to the public.

True @Tosche … It could, but unfortunately at the moment, commercial plugins are detached from the Plugin Manager which is per definition a very user-friendly tool to provide people with (up-to-date) tools.

Also, you’re right that the deployment should be responsibility of the developer. But as a matter of fact, we do the programming besides paid jobs and it adds a lot of overhead to the daily schedule. I’m not asking for anything, the GlyphsApp team is awesome as it is. Just want to spread my thoughts and ask if anyone else has experiences to share :slight_smile:

But please excuse me everyone for highjacking and messing up this thread.

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Alright there is a filter called Rimmer in the Plugin Manager. Please test.

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I’ll get rimming…

Thanks for the speedy effort, Rainer - works great. It gets you 90% there. Some tweaking needed on the serifs. More customisable corner options would be a nice extra - rounded, pointed etc.

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