Emoji font (sbix) question/issue

I’m working on a film and to avoid licensing Apple’s emoji font I’ve been using Glyphs to create an emoji font with the glyphs themselves designed in-house. I’ve built it as an sbix font for compatibility with Apple Motion and other very Apple-centric apps that support native emojis.

I’ve followed the tutorial closely https://glyphsapp.com/tutorials/creating-an-apple-color-font and I’ve tried both blank custom parameters and copying those from Apple (unicode ranges etc).

Two issues I’ve come across:

  1. Emojis work in some apps like Apple TextEdit but do not currently in Apple Motion. Is there anything I can do to improve overall compatibility? Glyphs are currently 512, 256, 128, 96px and in PNG. Apple’s official color emojis are 20, 32, 40, 48, 64, 96, and 160px. Could this be a possible point of friction? Is there another piece of more specialized software I should purchase?

  2. For each test version, I’ve been giving it a new name so it’s not a cache issue of installing/reinstalling the same font but I’ll be damned if I have to jump through a lot of hoops to make the font appear in any application’s font list. Is there any parameter or something I need to set to make it behave like any normal font where I can just install, restart the app in question and have it available? I don’t have standard glyphs (numbers/latin letters) added to my font yet but I’m going to mention that on the off chance it means something.

I’d like to sort these issues out while I’m on the demo before I consider other options… I’m like 90% of the way there with “v1” and we’ll be maintaining the font over the next several months as project needs change.

You can use TextPreview from the Tools page for testing without installing the font in the system. As for Motion, I cannot help you much. If it does not work, you can try exporting it as PDF from an app where it does, and then import the PDF.

Does the original Apple emoji font work in Motion? Then yours should work, too. But otherwise you are out of luck.
There are no special parameters.
Could you send me your file (with at least one set of .png files) that I can have a look?

I have a similar issue, but I test fonts in the Photoshop — original Apple emoji font works there, but mine no. How can I solve the issue?

Addition: I tried to put my emojis in an empty undefined area of Unicode (10840 - 1CFFF) and in the Private Use Area. And I changed the corresponding settings in Font info. However, the font normally displays only in Font Book.

Apples emoji font works in photoshop? Can I see a screenshot? sbix Support in Adobe apps? Since when?

Photoshop supports the SVG table though. See the other link I posted above

Sure, please:

I’m sorry, but I don’t see the other link.

Oops, I was writing that in a different thread. Here is the one I meant:
https://glyphsapp.com/tutorials/creating-an-svg-color-font

Edit: I just took a look, and it seems like Photoshop only allows access to the Apple Emoji font, when it comes to sbix fonts. Maybe it works with TTFs only, have not tried yet.

It is unlikely. Because I made such a sbix font in Bitfonter and it works great in Photoshop. But the problem is that Bitfonter does not support 5-digit Unicode, 4-digits only.
Yes, it seems to me it works with TTFs only, but what does it matter if it works?

Two things are possible (will test tomorrow): that sbix is only accepted when installed in the system (vs. in the Adobe Fonts folder) and that TTF is required (I tested only CFF/otf).

After much research, it looks like the issue is the file header/metadata of the TTF file Glyphs exports. It’s not fully compatible or spoofing information that would cause OSX to treat it like a fully functional emoji font. Bummer, good thing I only used the demo.

Can you be more specific, please? What do you mean by metadata and what exactly do you need to change for the sbix to work in other apps?

For weeks now I’m futile efforts to solve the task too. I still believe in the Glyphs but I would really appreciate it if you had may share software which you preferred for that.

Currently I’m using EmojiTools https://github.com/MitchTalmadge/Emoji-Tools/releases

What I’ve had success with is using the Emoji font from EmojiOne, using Emoji Tools to unpack it, a custom script to make copies of a missing character glyph to match the file name of all the unicode character PNG images, and then overwriting the 150 or so custom PNGs from my own emojis. I then use Emoji Tools to repack it.

The benefit is that EmojiTools only emulates Apple’s Emoji Font so that’s very useful for my workflow. Having a full set of characters where most of them are missing (an X graphic) allows us to identify where my team needs additional graphic design work. This also leads to a font file that’s compatible in all the Apple apps we need it to be. The one downside is that EmojiTools doesn’t resize images with a high level of fidelity so I’m investigating using a python package called FontTools or maybe programming something custom to deal with that.

It’s a little technical and a little involved but I have the background to deal with it and the end result worked perfectly.

Do you have a custom font that you build yourself that works with macOS? I would be very interested to have a look at it.

For sbix to work in Photoshop, these criteria must be fulfilled:

  1. The sbix glyphs must contain outlines as well, even if it is only two tiny paths. They define the cropping bounding box in Photoshop. If there are no outlines, everything is cropped, and you do not see your pixel image.
  2. The font must be installed in the system (e.g., in FontBook). The Adobe Fonts folder will not do.
  3. After each font installation, you must restart Photoshop for the sbix fonts to be recognized.

Thank you so much for the quick and detailed answer!
I tested Emoji Tools and that is the great tool, it really works but not for me because my file remains the Apple’s file. I need a unique file, so I’m going to look for another solution.

If you’re asking me I try to create a file for a customer who gave me many images and wants to get emoji font that works with iOS and macOS. So I think I can’t show it, but thank you for your interest.

Thank you, I did all this, but I’m not sure about the outlines. Where can I add them in Gliphs?

Where? On the main (master) layer, with the Draw tool.