Export issue. How many nodes are too many nodes?


Hi there

I’ve created a typeface with some fine gradients. I’ve avoided having too many curves and used squares to produce the halftone effect. The average number of nodes is around 3,000 – and I remember being told that 8000 is too many nodes – but I took my eye off the ball and some of the more complex glyphs (Ø, №, ©, ‰) got to 6,000+. The glyphs themselves are very ‘clean’ with no stray paths/nodes.

These larger glyphs export independently without issue. However I can’t export the full typeface (405 glyphs). I’ve been switching export off for groups of glyphs including the larger ones but can only get about 300 to export at once. I’ve left the export dialog box for an hour without success.

Is there a way to get round this or do I simply need to reduce the detail/gradient of the halftone (a big job)?.


Which format are you using? TTF is more forgiving. CFF is a bad idea.


I’m using OTF as I have some simple features.
Remove Overlap is checked (though doesn’t seem to make a difference), no autohint.

I also wondered if there was a limit on overall nodes or if it was my processing power?


Why not use TTF? TTFs are OpenType fonts too, you know.


Thanks @mekkablue It does export via TTF.

I was worried TTF format might have some drawbacks. I’ll do some research but any big compatibility issues I should be aware of?


For fonts like this is it necessary to disable subroutinisation. There is a custom parameter for that.


Thanks @GeorgSeifert I’ll try that.

What does the subroutinisation do? It’s mentioned briefly in the handbook and a quick search in the forum didn’t reveal much. Will it effect the output in some way?


It basically looks for paths that are the same and creates subroutines that can be shared, compacting the file size, overall. The output should be the same, either way. There’s a brief description here: http://blog.typekit.com/2010/12/02/the-benefits-of-opentypecff-over-truetype/


Disabling subroutinisation worked perfectly. Thanks very much @mekkablue @GeorgSeifert & @composerjk
I never fail to be impressed with the help on this forum!


What’s the maximum node count for a (variable) font, please?

I get this message:
"The glyph “…” contains a lot nodes (30998). This can’t be exported."

I don’t want to reduce the nodes. It’s for my pixel series on insta and the component (base) glyph is not too complex. My component has 18 nodes, the layer which uses it as a component contains 1236 copies. Should be “only” 22.248 nodes, though … :confused:

Disable Subroutines cannot be set, since it’s an Instance CP, and the variable font doesn’t have/need(?) any instance.


Disable subroutines would not help here as that is only effective with CFF fonts and variable fonts are TT in Glyphs.

We need to somehow prevent the decomposition of the components. Can you send me the file?


Thank you, I’ll do :slight_smile:


I had a look at your file.

  • The extra nodes are inserted inflection points (the Truetype conversion needs them, or at least it makes the conversion much easier).
  • if you set the pixel glyphs to export, the components will not be decomposed and the problem will be gone.


Wowww! Thanks so much for the insight and checking. That’s really good to know =)
Works like a charm now :smiley: