Metafont in glyphs

Is metafont relevant today with opentype v1.8 around?

Does glyphs have any plans of supporting metafonts?


I have spoken with people that use metafont and I’m interested in the topic. But until now, that didn’t lead to any actual development.

Metafont is a system to generate glyph shapes. It was used as a font format long time ago (and still is by some Tex people).

Technically, one could build a plugin that allows to define glyphs with meta descriptions.

meta definition of outlines are very powerful
people still use for publication. it is buttery smooth and accurate
needs no aliasing, hinting

It would be useful to output master glyphs into meta format

here is a project, that had such a process

I spoke with Lasse Fister, the main developer behind metapolator several times and we tried to integrate it into Glyphs. He likes to finish a few things before we proceed. But metapolator is not metafont any more.

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I would love to see that capability in glyphsapp.

is it possible to output the existing glyphs definition in metafont format?

Currently not. But you can write a script to do it.

How long ago? From what I see on their github account, little activity is happening. On their website, nothing since 2014. I too would like to see this integrated with Glyphs, and I hope it has not been abandoned.

@chandra Have you ever used any of the meta* tools?

All materials I am reading about it, it is very promising.

When you have figured it out and you have managed to make anything with it, please explain it to me and I’ll integrate it into Glyphs.

will I get paid?

I though more about doing that as an open source plugin. But if you give good input we can think of something.

Resurrecting this. Is it a dead project?

I suppose people have moved on and Lttr/Ink has emerged in the meantime. I suggest you try it and see if you like it.

Lttr/Ink has the same limitations as other products: You must have 2 compatible masters.

Metapolator claimed the ability to take an existing single ufo file and generate interpolated new masters from that, similar to what the old Incubator Pro app could do in the 90s (which I still use).

My offer still stands. If someone makes a good use case I’ll see if I can incorporate it into Glyphs.

The use case is straightforward: it takes one completed ufo and allows a user to generate extrapolated masters if the ufo was drawn to Metapolator’s requirements, i.e. overlaps. This allows one to accelerate development time by rapidly creating masters needed for a final product.

Their website says this:
Metapolator will turn any existing outline font into a parameterised font system, so you can get the fonts you really want.

Metapolator will have a multidimensional design space to explore an almost infinite number of new fonts and font families, starting with only a single master font. Metapolator will combine a powerful parametric system with an intuitive user interface to make type design inherently consistent and much faster.

You mean Incubator? I meant Metafont as the title suggests.

I would love to have the algorithm from Incubator.

True, the title says Metafont, but I was referring to Metapolator, which Chandra (above) mentioned and provided a link. You indicated you talked with Lasse Fister about it, but then that seems to have been put aside in 2019.

So Metapolator is the subject of interest here.

A more modern version of Incubator would be nice but I don’t see that happening. The app owner, Monotype, was looking for (and found) the source code in their files two or three years ago but I suspect they wanted it for internal use. My understanding of the program from comments in another forum a few years ago is that it uses TrueType delta instructions to achieve the results.

Metapolator and Incubator are quiet different things.