Feature requests: vertical skew, Glyph color code for individual masters, Visual highlight of paths, (possible?) batch glyph import from Ai

It’s been a blast using Glyphs but it might be very helpful if it could have the following features:

  1. Vertical Skew
    It’s probably not that useful for Latin, but I miss it drawing CJK fonts as they do not have much vertical restrictions (glyphs don’t have to sit on baseline and such so vertical skews might help in some cases). I have to rotate the paths 90 degrees and do horizontal skews to achieve vertical skews.

  2. Color coding glyphs for individual masters
    I’ve noticed that color coding for a particular glyph apply to all masters. Would it be possible to make it master-independent? It could help a lot for quality checks and proofs.

  3. Visual Isolation of individual paths
    Adobe Ai could isolate each path while graying-out all other paths when you double-click it. The visual isolation/highlight/down-tuning all other paths is particularly useful when designing CJK fonts. CJK glyphs could have very complicated strokes and they could look very crazy with all control points visible. However, the isolation in Ai makes it much easier to work with individual strokes without the visual distractions so I hope Glyphs could have something similar. Copying paths to background could partly work but all other paths just disappear instead of being somewhat transparent so you lose the sense of the whole glyph. It also requires too many processes so it’s not very fast to execute.

  4. It would be great if there’s a way to quickly batch import glyphs drawn in Adobe Ai into Glyphs. It sounds crazy and nonsensical but the demand is there for CJK type designers. Many (that I know of) designers would draw out characters in Ai and batch import them into proprietary CJK font software developed by type foundries (so they don’t have access to).

Recently, Glyphs stand out for its functionality and ease of use and some CJK designers start to bring it into their workflows (mainly for its function to see interpolations in real time and also to design Latin paired with their CJK designs). However, it becomes very hard without the ability to batch import glyphs and someone I knew did the manual copy & paste for 4000+ glyphs!! (well, he probably should have started in Glyphs but…)

I’m not entirely sure how it works, but since CJK glyphs are often designed in 1000*1000 unit em square, people would draw arrays of hundreds (thousands) of squares for the boundaries of each glyph. If somehow the import process could detect the squares of the same size then it could be done? The designer could provide a .txt listing the order of the glyphs in Ai (like from left to right?) so Glyphs app could correctly match them to their respect unicodes.

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  1. Is coming.
  2. When you hold the Option Key when clicking the color button, you set the color for the current layer. The info box in the font view doesn’t show this but it you use the context menu in Edit view, you it shows the correct color and label.
  3. I’ll think about that. Have you tried smart components. And Corner component might reduce the number of node, too.
  4. Detecting the rectangles it possible but assigning the correct glyph info is quite error prone. Maybe just import them as unnamed glyphs and assign the name in Glyphs, instead of typing the text file?
    Could you send me some sample files?
  1. How about making it a requirement that in addition to the AI outlines, the user type in the character in AI as a reference, but don’t import that part into Glyphs. Possible?

Also, have Illustrator files arranged so that specific body in a specific files has designated code point. This is not purely Glyphs’s task (it might be rather Illustrator scripting work).

Wow I never knew Option+color is an option. Thanks for the reminder

As for #3, I’ve thought about radicals built as smart components but it may only fit for designs that are very minimalistic/geometric/gothic-ish. For more “humanist” or even calligraphic designs, radicals would normally have too many details and variations to be “created” into smart components and these might represent the majority.

It might be done if all the standard strokes are stored as smart components instead of radicals (and radicals being stored as “dumb components” by collections of strokes as smart components), but in this way it could be slower than just copying strokes as paths and tweak them for the current glyph which is the traditional workflow.

For vertical skew in Glyphs 2, there’s a Palette plug-in in Window > Plug-in Manager.

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For #4, I could see it’s a stretch for Glyphs as people may draw very different versions of square boundaries for CJK fonts and arrange them differently in Ai. The type of system I’ve seen is to set up these squares in one layer in Ai and design their fonts in another layer so it might not be a big struggle for algorithms to detect rectangles. However it should also be able to detect rectangles in a particular order (like from left to right from the top row and such) to correspond to their unicode assignments thus it needs a text file.

People usually don’t design fonts in a random order and type the text files. They would normally follow some standards (like GB2312 for Chinese fonts or other proprietary standards created by foundries which all have rather fixed orders) to draw fonts at the first place.

Detecting the rectangle is not the problem. I already do that if you copy from illustrator and you include the rect it will be used to position the outlines. Having thousands of them makes it a bit more complicated but that is doable. but the differences in setup and especially the alignment of glyphs names is the problem.

And it is hopefully a problem that goes away by itself when people realise that it is easier to start in Glyphs directly :wink:

But really, could you send me a sample file?


Yeah I’m trying to convince everyone I know of to use Glyphs to start lol Since then the biggest issue they had is the need for isolation/highlighting paths to decrease visual distractions.

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I use FontSelf for batch importing from Illustrator: https://www.fontself.com
It’s mostly aimed at a non-technical audience, but the batch import is well designed (drag and drop) and you can quickly produce a font you can open and work on in Glyphs.

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How does batch import from Illustrator-to-Glyphs work?

There are videos on YouTube that show the process. If you set it up correctly, you can drag and drop all the caps in one go (for example) and it’ll place them in the correct slots. Real timesaver compared to the usual cut/paste into each individual slot.