spikenard

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by intaglio

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I was thinking you could cut down the bricks in the toolbox by a third by casting sub-menus off each of the rotating bricks; i.e. each rotating brick would have a little button a la Photoshop, giving access to the other three rotations. This retains a degree of user-friendliness for new initiates to the site. (No mucking about with special keys for rotations.) If the user's palette floated like the others, that would give more room too. I find the floating palettes quite good because you can drag them out of the way.
Info: Created on 16th April 2009 . Last edited on 22nd June 2009.
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18 Comments

Comment by intaglio 18th April 2009
Nice work. I love the g and the old-style numerals are cool.

I know what you mean about wanting another angle brick. Pretty please FontStruct?
Comment by aphoria 18th April 2009
welcome back!!!
can someone describe these bricks in more detail? pic please!
Comment by Rob Meek (meek) 18th April 2009
I suspect the sampler doesn't do this one justice.
Comment by Rob Meek (meek) 18th April 2009
Thanks aphoria, and meek for the welcome back. I'm surprised you want me back, I'm never satisfied!

I'm not a mathematically-inclined person, so wasn't able to explore the ramifications of what I'm asking for in my head until I'd made an example.

The sample shows the difficulty.
This particular angle would require four gridspaces to resolve. Which means, I guess that the number of bricks that would have to be added to accommodate it would exponentially expand the complexity of the toolbox.

Not to speak of the problem of the interstices. Most of the other bricks would not abutt!

I think in this particular instance I really am howling at the moon. Perhaps I should go off and study Persian tiles or something...
Comment by intaglio 18th April 2009
I know this will probably be too much to ask, but...

How about a set of angled blocks that give a 1:4 block angle (approx 14 degrees, I think).

Also, a 1/4 and a 3/4 block would be useful being able to butt up to any part of the 1:4 angle.

Maybe the picture will help.

I know it's a ton of new bricks; 32 just for the 4 different angles, and 2 more for the 1/4 and 3/4 bricks (I think). So, I can totally understand if you can't do this.

Comment by aphoria 19th April 2009
Actually, it would 8 more blocks for the 1/4 and 3/4 blocks. 4 each to cover each rotation.
Comment by aphoria 19th April 2009
thanks for the pics and descriptions guys. you're right that will be a lot of bricks. it will have to wait for a while until we've upgraded the FontStructor interface.
Comment by Rob Meek (meek) 19th April 2009
@intaglio: Sometimes its good to be never satisfied. It allows you to bask in the anticipation of things to come.

@meek: In order to cut down on the number of new bricks needed to create additional angles, what about these options:

1. In additional to global sizing, allow horizontal and vertical brick sizing (up to 2x) on an individual brick basis. All of the suggested bricks could be created by stretching existing bricks. It would automatically enable an exponential amount of new shapes and there wouldn't be a need to add anything to the brick palette. Perhaps dragging a highlighted brick while holding down the CTRL key could scale it.

2. If that's too much, what about an option in the Filters menu to apply brick scaling on an individual glyph basis?
Comment by geneus1 19th April 2009
I second geneus1's solution.
Comment by Stelios Constantinides (emepar7) 20th April 2009
I reckon you could cut about a third of the bricks from the toolbox by keying submenus off all the bricks that rotate. That is, each rotating brick icon would have a button -- a la some of Photoshop's tools for instance -- that when clicked would reveal the other three rotations.

In this way a degree of user-friendliness would be retained for those who are new to the site, but you could also have hot keys for the rotations for those who prefer a more efficient access.

I reckon the user's selection box should be a floating palette like the others, and not in the brick palette itself. It could then be big enough to retain a lot of bricks without scrolling, yet not get in the way. Particularly if the palette can be stretched horizontally or vertically.
Comment by intaglio 20th April 2009
Keep the ideas coming. I like the idea of scaling (and rotating, moving!, flipping) of individual bricks and selections. At some point we may need to split the interface into a basic and expert mode so beginners don't get confused by too many options.
I'm sure eventually, we will have both more bricks and per-brick scaling. Per-brick scaling would have to be very precise to make shapes, like those suggested by intaglio and aphoria, actually fit together.
Comment by Rob Meek (meek) 20th April 2009
About the font: awesome. At pixel size, it looks flawless.

About new bricks and new functionality: I'd like to be the voice of dissension in this argument. Personally, I like the broken x, 4, and z. That's what gives the letters some character (pun, sorry). The imperfections and constraints are the catalysts behind most of my creations. They force you to find solutions you would have otherwise never stumbled upon. Maybe I'm a purist, but its a slippery slope once we start adding more buttons, bricks, or other widgets.
Comment by nemoorange 20th April 2009
amazing :) smart and beautifull
Comment by fodkito 23rd April 2009
@nemoorange: yes, I'm in two minds myself. One of the things I love about Fontstruct is that it is so user-friendly; it's Lego for grownups. I think the user-interface is utterly brilliant. There's something deeply engaging about grabbing those bricks and plonking them where you want them.

I suppose there's something commensurate happening when you create postscript outlines in Illustrator. Whoever concieved the idea of the stretchy handles was brilliant. But Illustrator gives you absolute, total freedom which is rather daunting. To me, anyway. And you need to know rather a lot of stuff before you can get anywhere.

It would be very sad if in, say, five years time, a newbie coming to Fontstruct is confronted by a thicket of decisions before anything can get made. Sometimes upgrades disimprove as well as improve. I'd hate that to happen to Fontstruct.

The other half of me champs at the bit. It was such a relief to get the two new brick shapes; they facilitated so much I haven't been able to do before. Such would be the case with a third angle to play with. Not only would you get a new pitch for your downstrokes, but the transitions between angles could be smoothed out a lot. At the cost of rather a lot more complexity in the brick palette.

I know Fontstruct is meant to be modular, but for better or worse, the songs I want to sing don't stick to the hymnsheet.

Meek's notion of an "expert" mode makes sense to me. Good luck with the programming, ha ha!
Comment by intaglio 23rd April 2009
@meek: teaching grandmother to suck eggs dept:
One possibility for future development might be to have a certain degree of user-defined choice. InDesign offers this with the "save workspace" option. In my case it would be handy to have a show/hide bricks option so I can ditch bricks I never use from the bricks palette. I don't believe I've ever used the stars, for instance. I could hide them to make room for the bricks I do use. There are a lot of others I only use rarely. If I could easily show or hide bricks, I could free up plenty of space for the gazillions that I do use.
The advantage of a "save workspace" function would be to allow me to recall my desktop layout with one action instead of laboriously rearranging the furniture every time I work on a font. It's irksome to have to tell Fontruct to show guides, (more than one for the horizontal orientations would be good: l/c ascender top; cap X height, lower case X height and descender alignments make four!); and show adjacent characters every time I start work.

Impossible dream dept: brickstacking. I know it started life as a glitch, but it's the babel fish of Fontstruct. Is it too mindbendingly hard to facilitate a process that lets you brickstack and copy to/from the clipboard? I know, tell me to go away.
Comment by intaglio 24th April 2009
@nemoorange. (At last another purist! Em42 you are not alone ;-) I hope FontStruct will always remain a super simple modular font editor. But I also hope we can add features which will make the building process easier and more intuitive without making the interface cluttered or confusing.
@intaglio I share many of your dreams! With most enhancements, it's just a matter of time and resources to get them done. I certainly plan to add official support for brick stacking at some point.
Comment by Rob Meek (meek) 24th April 2009
Actually, this one is pretty standard. X a s x z 4 — fix those, and this will be all standard.

For the X, move the crossing point higher up and it will become wider.
Comment by thalamic 10th July 2009

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