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Brick by brick: News about FontStruct


FontStruct 2.0 Update

News | | May 12th, 2010

Dear FontStructors,

Apart from a few minor problems, things seem to have gone well with the update to FontStruct 2.0. Thanks to everyone who has made us aware of the various glitches that did occur. Looking in the gallery we’re already seeing some fantastic creations taking advantage of the new possibilities.

Today we updated the site again with a few bug fixes, and one powerful enhancement to the composite bricks feature. Let’s talk about the enhancement first.

composites_with_space

Composite Bricks with padding

Composite bricks are wonderful — you can make new bricks out of the existing ones, and create complex forms without needing to work on a large grid. (If you don’t know what composite bricks are, or how to make them, see here.) But to make the composite bricks feature complete, you need to be able to create a composite that contains some “padding” or empty space on one side or the other, as in the above image. This was not possible in the initial release of FontStruct 2.0. Now it is.

Let’s look at an example. Say you want to create this C:

composite_goal

Using the standard composite brick feature, and flipping it’s quite easy to get this far:

composite_step_1

But it’s not obvious how to finish the C on the right. How do you get that little quarter circle floating in the corner of a grid-square? The first step is to create a new composite brick, using square bricks where you want empty space to be. These square bricks are your padding:

composite_make

You should end up with this in “My Bricks” (the new composite is highlighted in yellow):

new_composite

Now click on the new brick while holding-down the shift-key. A popup appears:

edit_composite

Click on the square bricks to delete them. Swipe-off the popup once you’re done and you should see the brick you need in “My Bricks”:

composite_edited

Now you can finish your letter:

composite_goal

– This simple enhancement greatly increases the number and variety of shapes you can create with the composite bricks feature.

Other Changes

Apart from a range of unglamorous and hopefully invisible bug-fixes, one noticeable change is a new set of default avatars to replace the old grey question mark. Now anyone who doesn’t choose their own avatar will be assigned one from a selection of 104 colorful, FontStructed avatars created using afrojet‘s wonderful Playtime Pattern Motifs. I looked at a number of pattern fonts to use for this, including the amazing fs pattern team and Frodo7‘s vertiginous Vortices, but Playtime Motifs seemed the perfect fit in this case:

new_default_avatars

SpamStruct

Unfortunately we’ve discovered a large number of people(?) using their profile pages for spam. We’re in the process of closing accounts which are doing this. This is an automated process, so in the very unlikely event that you are suddenly shut out of FontStruct, let us know and we’ll reopen your account (presuming you’re a genuine FontStructor). If you’re advertising any medications, health and beauty products, or similar on your profile page, you may want to remove those links now …

Happy FontStructing.


25 Comments

  1. Em

    I just cleaned up some composite bricks where I had to add bricks for padding purposes, and everything seems to work fine.
    I think the process is not really streamlined, but for sure it does the job!

    Thanks!

    Comment by Em — May 12, 2010 #


  2. balion

    Thank you for this update!!!
    new compsits are briant !
    I love fontstruct!
    But can’t we make composites with brik staking or composites ?

    Comment by balion — May 12, 2010 #


  3. elmoyenique

    WOW! Thanks a lot, FS! My dreams come true… (I cry, I laugh, then I hiccup…) What a great gift for all us today!

    Comment by elmoyenique — May 12, 2010 #


  4. djnippa

    OMG. Truly outstanding.
    Like Avatar is to film.
    A whole new world.
    My skin is tingling.

    Comment by djnippa — May 12, 2010 #


  5. fugitiveglue

    THANK YOU for the padding feature! Will be an ENORMOUS help. I can’t wait to get started. You people rock!

    Comment by fugitiveglue — May 12, 2010 #


  6. Rob Meek (meek)

    @Em Yes there is something a little strange about adding something and then taking it away. We thought about two other options – an “empty” padding brick or an adjustment to the marquee tool which would allow you to select empty space. I think the latter option might be the best but for now, as you say, this does the job.

    Comment by Rob Meek (meek) — May 12, 2010 #


  7. shasta

    Great enhancement to the composite brick feature! Now it can finally unfold all its potential…

    You know, the only bad thing about the constant improvements to the fontstructor is that they make so many workarounds you have been spending hours on completely useless. 4×1 diagonals for example were only possible on a 2×2 filter setting so far, and now you can easily do them on 1×1… Even 8×1 diagonals. I was just about to release a font with lots of 4×1 angles that I could have done so much easier, and better, with the new feature. Amazing, but somewhat frustrating too. :D

    Anyway: Great work, Rob, you rock! And extra thanks for sending the adjacent characters back to where they belong: In the background! That one’s been bugging me quite a bit… :)

    Comment by shasta — May 12, 2010 #


  8. p2pnut

    Wonderful! Absolutely bloomin’ marvellous! FS 2.0 … the gift that keeps on giving!

    This is such a useful facility and the answer to several questions that I have thrown at ‘structions in the past. So much more is now possible.

    All this, plus I finally get my new PC today … so my old steam driven one can finally be given a dignified retirement.

    Comment by p2pnut — May 13, 2010 #


  9. afrojet

    Great update Rob. The tutorial is terrific and easy to understand. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty with these new features. The Playtime patterns look fab. I think it adds a nice pop of color to the page. Maybe the first order of business for me is to see what new pattern I can make with these new features.

    Comment by afrojet — May 13, 2010 #


  10. Dan (aka

    Rob, thanks for fixing the bug I cited recently; i.e., the “0 votes” situation when signing in and proceeding to one of your own font pages. Just wanted to let you know that I noticed.

    Comment by Dan (aka "fontcollector") — May 22, 2010 #


  11. elmoyenique

    Dear FS’ Staff: For Macintosh users, all the new features in FS 2.0 with keyboard shortcuts that are described as “Shift + (any letter)” must be made pressing the keys “alt + shift + (any letter)”-or at least that’s what I have to do to get it-. Thanks again for the wonderful new additions.

    Comment by elmoyenique — May 23, 2010 #


  12. Rob Meek (meek)

    Hmm. That’s strange. I’m using a Mac at the moment and don’t have this problem. Maybe it’s the keyboard? Anyone else having this problem? Please let me know.

    Comment by Rob Meek (meek) — May 25, 2010 #


  13. jhejka

    I don’t know if I’m missing something, or if I’m just plain stupid, but will someone please explain to me how to make 1:3, 1:4, 1:6, 1:8, 2:3, etc. angles?

    Comment by jhejka — June 2, 2010 #


  14. Neurone Error

    @Rob Meek : I think Jhejka has pointed the feeling of many fontstructors who wonder what the hell are they talking about in their comments, when i open the software, i can not find any command of this sort !

    Comment by Neurone Error — June 3, 2010 #


  15. p2pnut

    @ jhejka: I think a tutorial may be on its way quite soon – I sure hope so, because my poor old brain has steam coming out of it trying to work out some of these angles :)

    Comment by p2pnut — June 3, 2010 #


  16. Rob Meek (meek)

    @jhelka and @Neurone Error, @p2pnut – Like many things in FontStruct these angles are something that individual FontStructors have discovered for themselves. I hope that someone from the community will write a tutorial on creating these angles, either for their own blog or for this one.

    Comment by Rob Meek (meek) — June 3, 2010 #


  17. djnippa

    I thought Rob’s tutorial for creating all composites was easy to follow, very instructive, and instantly workable. Please read his instructions again, slowly, step by step, and the door will open.

    Comment by djnippa — June 3, 2010 #


  18. djnippa

    @Rob Meek, now we can create vast quantities of composite and stacked bricks, is there any way of stopping the “My Bricks” section returning/resetting to the top once a brick is chosen – that is below the viewing box line.
    Even when dragged to its max, it annoyingly resets itself every time I make a composite, stack or select one. Very time consuming when creating a 1:8 composite.
    Also as the “My Bricks” section will become jammed with composites and stacks have you thought of widening this to 6, 8, or 10 bricks, or even being able to select the width as you progress?

    Comment by djnippa — June 3, 2010 #


  19. Rob Meek (meek)

    @djnippa – I’ll look into the MyBricks reset thing – yours is not the first complaint. An option to scale the bricks in the brick palettes is a good idea for a future release.

    Comment by Rob Meek (meek) — June 4, 2010 #


  20. aphoria

    This is a test. I posted two other comments to this thread (from another computer) and they didn’t show up.

    Comment by aphoria — June 4, 2010 #


  21. djnippa

    @Rob Meek. WOW – that was quick, thanks for sorting out the MY BRICKS reset.

    Comment by djnippa — June 4, 2010 #


  22. Johney

    I am trying to test out the feature and having trouble creating the blocks from the first two columns (beside the first row) from the left but not sure how… The rest I can pretty much able to create without problems…

    Really appreciated if anyone can help me out.

    Comment by Johney — July 7, 2010 #


  23. Romeo Figueroa

    That is the coolest, most convenient thing since sliced bread.

    Comment by Romeo Figueroa — July 20, 2010 #


  24. Davide

    Why I can’t see the new blocks? :(

    Comment by Davide — August 26, 2010 #


  25. Rob Meek (meek)

    You need to make them (read this), or djnippa has made many of them for you and you will find them here.

    Comment by Rob Meek (meek) — August 26, 2010 #