New visual system to work with Masters and Instances

Maybe because I am graphic designer and have to learn a lot about fontdesign yet, but it did take a lot of time before I understood the working of Masters. This is a suggestion to a new visual UI to determine masters and instances that could make it very easy to see what is exported out of Glyphs.

My thought is to add a new tab ‘Export’ in the Font Info:

Because it is visual in stead of lists and numbers, I think it will help a lot of people. Axes with dots indicating Masters or Instances are positioned on a graph based on their Weight and Width. The size of the graph can be adjusted to the needed spread of the Masters and Instances.
All instances can be displayed at the same time, giving the user a visual overview of his font:

Further I still have some questions about Masters ans Instances:
-Why the limitation to 4 masters? And I see no Extended masters in the examples on the information. Has that a reason?
-And nowhere I can find a reason why a master between two masters would be usefull, like the example of Light-Semibold-Black in the manual. Is it just to have more control about the shapes?
-And the width of individual glyphs can have different measurements but is not mentioned in the manual. Where can I find information about which value is best to fill in there?

With this system I see possibilities to include all versions of one font (cursive, pixel, and other custom-things) into one Glyphs-file. But I would like to hear the thoughts of the developers about this idea?

I’m thinking about something like this for some time.

The problem is that there are no axes. So you can place your masters and instances wherever you like. That makes the visualization more difficult.

There is no limitation on four masters. No reason. Sometimes the difference in shape and contrast between very light and very bold masters is to big to give satisfying results for instances in the middle. I don't understand this.

I suggest to only put masters in one file that you actually like to interpolate. Usually that means that you have one file for each style that contains all weight/widths.

Basically, the value is arbitrary, just like the one for Weight. Some designers like to use 0 and 1000, some designers use something more meaningful. For Weight in a Latin font, a good choice will be the vertical stem thickness. This is also what we recommend. For Width..., well, pick whatever suits you best, perhaps the width of a key glyph?

Again, there is no strict rule to it, the interpolation just needs numbers to calculate the instances. And what may be sensible in one font project, may very well make not so much sense in another.

Dag Maarten, trouwens!

I have had good results with combining Upright and Upright Italic in a file, and using the Rename Glyphs parameter to exchange glyphs with different shapes. It works well because these two can share a lot of shapes (e.g. the uppercase, the punctuation, the numbers) and a lot of kerning.

I tried combining Italic and Upright once, but I found that it was less hassle to have them in separate files. Perhaps a lightly slanted Oblique may work in combination with an Upright, but not a true Italic, at least not in my experience.

Dag Rainer en Georg
Rainer, ik heb je daarnet nog een mail gestuurd met informatie :slight_smile:

Thanks to both for the information.

Great! I am looking forward for the implementation :D Yes. But I can come up with at least four possible visions for this without thinking to much. It can with axes, or with visual representations etc. A user need something to place all information in. One can invent something to do the trick. In the future, we will see what best works.

I am going to miss ATypI and the presentation of Glyphs2… A pitty :confused: Curious what will be new in it… Ann will go, I will ask her what it is going to be.

What I said about Italic… I didn’t mean sharing the same shapes, only be present in the same file… Maybe this is to complex indeed :stuck_out_tongue: