Hinting could look better

I’ve set autohinting to my font. Hinting still isn’t looking as good as I’d like it to be. Horizontally, everything seems to align well, but vertical hints are all over the place.

Any ideas?

The stems are currently set like this: lowercase, caps, smallcaps. For example in regular weight, the vertical values are: 68, 74, 71. In the black weight, the vertical values are: 352, 363, 346.

Did you export as OTF or TTF. In what app did you make the screenshot?
You don’t need all the stems. If they are so close together, just use the middle one.
But that is not your problem. For grayscale hinting like in the image, there is not much that you can do. It will look completely different if you increase the size by one point.

Exported as OTF. Screenshot is from InDesign.

So this is the best I can achieve with the autohinting? Would manual PS hints be any better?

Honestly, the screenshot doesn’t look that bad. I doubt you can improve it much by manual hints

But as Georg points out, your stem values are not good. Delete them and set only 70 as only horizontal stem and 360 as only vertical stem. Do something similar for the other masters: only keep one representative value.

The problem is that hinting (not the generation of hints but the process during rendering) moves the outline to fit on the pixel grid. At small sizes that leads to quite big distortions as on stem will move to the right, the other will move to the left. So if there as a few units difference in the width of the glyphs original outline, the difference is much bigger. If you xHeight is about 500 units, one pixel is around 80 units. So if one stem is moved by a third of a pixel to the left and the other to the right, the glyph will get 50 units wider. Another glyph might move in the opposite direction and become 50 units narrower. This causes the uneven spacing an rhythm in the image. There is nothing you can do about it.

Thanks for the explanation, makes sense. I’ll fix the stems.

By the way, I have used blueScale and blueShift custom parameters here. Are those working any differently from postscriptBlueShift and postscriptBlueScale, which ones should I use?

They are the same. What are you using them for?

Try without first, and Glyphs will use defaults. In most cases, that will do.

Yeah, I tried first without and the vertical alignment was really messy. Even baseline was bumpy. I added new values for the blues and the result was the screenshot above. I’d say those changes are essential.

That usually lies completely on stem and zone settings. Can I see the file?