RMX Scaler without multiple masters?

Hello everyone

I just purchased the RMX Tool.
I wanted to use the Scaler for creating small caps but when i try to use it,
it says the Scaler can only be used if there are multiple masters???
So it can’t be used unless you’re working on different weights/widths?

As always thanks a lot!


Use Filter > Transformations > Scale to achieve a starting point for small caps if you only have one weight defined. It’s merely a mathematical scale-down though, so it will require quite a bit of fixing. You may also find the Offset Curve filter useful in the fixing process, for adding even weight around the whole glyph for example.

Essentially, RMX Tool needs multiple masters to “figure out” which dimensions should be preserved and which scaled.

Hi, that’s of course annoying if you purchased the RMX tools and are now stuck with an expensive piece of software that doesn’t work for you. Yet, it may provide some incentive to flesh out your design to incorporate multiple weights.

The reason RMX requires multiple weights is the following idea: in order to calculate e.g. an regular synthetic small cap H, you take a bold H and a thin H. If you just scaled down a regular H, the result would have much thinner strokes vertically and horizontally, of course.

So what if you interpolate a much bolder H and then scale it down? You have to interpolate an H to be so bold that if you scale it down to, let’s say, 80%, your stroke weights end up the same as the original ones. So you have to interpolate the stems to be 100/80 as thick as your original H, then scale it down to 80%. You see, already for this to work you need two weight masters.

Now, bonus: what if you want to scale it to be 80% in height but 90% in width? Small caps are usually a bit wider in relation to their height compared with their respective caps. This means you utilise anisotropic (unproportional) interpolation. For the above example, you interpolate (100/80×100)% on the y axis and (100/90×100)% in x direction. Then, if you scale it down to 80% in height and 90% in width, your strokes will end up the same thickness as when you started.

Sorry for the lengthy explanation, but I remember when I first learnt about this concept and applied it in my design workflow. If you want to do it the really old school way, you can use FontLab, using the Blend function between two fonts. You’ll get your hands dirty and familiar with the mathematics behind it. Enjoy!

I’ll leave you with Tim Ahrens’ article which he wrote on the topic, it’s really fascinating and explains the concept much better than I have been able to.

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You don’t need Fontlab to do it manually. You can use the Filter > Transform > Background.

Hello SCarewe

Thanks for your detailed response!
Yes it’s a bit frustrating that I can’t really use the RMX Tool as I have planned.
After watching the tutorials on the RMX Website, I thought I could use
the Scaler for generating a bold weight out of the the regular weight
(with additional manual fine-tuning ofcourse). Which I assume is not possible?
So I have to draw at least 2 weights manually before I can use the RMX Tool?

Thanks again

That is correct. RMX can’t decide for you what kind of feel you want in your Bold, how the weight should grow – that’s up to you to decide and draw. You can use the Offset Path (or something like that) to just make your strokes thicker and adjust a ton from there, but honestly, I would just take the time and draw a Bold (or rather, Black) from scratch. Make sure that you keep your two masters compatible: same node number, same curve construction, etc. View > Show Master Compatability can be useful when starting out in this. There was a discussion recently in this thread on how to approach making Bolds, maybe you can take something away from that, if that is what you’re looking for.

Please don’t think that you’ve wasted your money on RMX, it’s an incredible tool and I (like many others) use it as an absolutely elementary part of my workflow. But yes, two masters are the minimum required for anything that has to do with interpolation :slight_smile:

I see.
So I have pretty mich completed the regular weight of my typeface and I’m planing to extend it by a light & bold weight. How would you recommend me to proceed?

Thanks a lot!

If I were very mean, I’d recommend you to start over. It’s usually not at all useful to start with a Regular. Instead, in the future, start with the extremes of your typeface – so, for instance, a Black and a Light. Keep the two masters compatible and then interpolate all the weights between them (including Regular and Bold). That way, you have a consistent design throughout all weights and much less work cleaning up between styles. I remember, the first time a drew a multiple-weight typeface, I started with a Regular, then drew a Black, then drew a Light. It was a nightmare, looked terrible and didn’t work at all. Learning through pain.

Anyway, in your case, you can decide which style you want to draw next – in the Font Info (Cmd + I), go to Masters and add a master. Give it a weight value that makes sense to you (preferably use the stem weights as your reference). Then, draw. Make sure that your outlines stay compatible in order to be able to interpolate. View > Show Master Compatability can be very useful when starting out. Personally, if I were in your situation, I might draw a Light next. That way, you can extrapolate a bolder weight from your Light and your Regular. After cleaning up the extrapolated heavier master, I would delete the Regular master.

If you don’t know about how to go about this process technically, there are very concise tutorials in the help section. Don’t hesitate to ask here, though, if something remains unclear :slight_smile:

For stylistic guidance, I gave a more detailed response in the thread I linked here in my previous comment.