Letter Shadow 5x5

by cablecomputer
See also 5x5 with smallcaps by dpla.

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Info: Created on 10th September 2011 . Last edited on 11th September 2011.
License Creative Commons
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An interesting, chunky, design. good use of shadow. 10/10
Comment by p2pnut 11th September 2011
Thanks p2pnut. By the way, I saw neurone error has unshared all his fontstructions. What happen to him?
Comment by cablecomputer 11th September 2011
@cablecomputer: neurone error got into a nasty spat rife with personal attacks involving an fs user by the name of janking.

She excoriated – though childishly and with an unpleasantly embittered tone – neurone’s aesthetic and design practices, particularly his use (or, as janking claimed, “misuse”) of the clone feature. Of course, he liberally employed cloning to playfully “neuronize” other fsers’ work, often breaking the chain of decent of his clones (and, most significantly, downgrading their required “share-alike” CC license) through the exploitation of a software bug which I will not explain.

Many fsers rallied to neurone’s defense, and decried janking’s ultimate lack of civility and respect – for all concerned. Any record of our dialog and learning process was aborted when neurone unshared his work. By all indications, neurone reached the trolling point. :(
Comment by William Leverette (will.i.ૐ) 11th September 2011
Owh, that must be a bad news. And I hope "janking" will realized what she had done to him.
Comment by cablecomputer 12th September 2011
The part I struggle to fathom in this outcome is janking so badly wanted and outright requested neurone error to leave! Why would he follow her bilious invitation as the outcome of all this?

His resolutely perturbing designs – like one big neurotic culture jam – certainly attracts critics. But, again, why get shut down by the haters? Abneurone must know these ropes pretty well after literal decades of creating fringe communiqués and aggressively disturbed art.

Rare though it is here, FontStruct is no safe haven from harsh and vocal criticism. Yet he found so many supporters who often cheered on his artistic journey. Did our kindness and camaraderie ultimately convince him he had found his oasis? Sadly, we may never know as only he can say.
Comment by William Leverette (will.i.ૐ) 12th September 2011
I don't know, I think he feels a deep sadness. Or just, doesn't want to make a riot with her.
Comment by cablecomputer 14th September 2011

North-East shadow. It could have been made of strict pixels (offset: x+1, y-1), even a tad longer, gradated…


Sidenote: very interesting reading about this place and its practices, will.i.ૐ…

Comment by dpla 4th May 2017

@Will.i.aum Neurone error no longer exists on fontstruct :’(

Comment by Brynda 5th May 2017

Hi Brynda! My only piece of -musty- news from France is (imminent 2017 presidential election apart), Abneurone left this great community of users in order to have more control legally on is pending typographic project. Actually, he must be working offline on his heavy artbooks, more or less for too many years now IMO… so I warned him about the likely disappointment from having an undersized budget, with too much ambition and especially no funding and marketing at all (even FontStruct has a sponsor, FontShop in our case). What a pity he looked repugnant to my advices -at least a webpage with samples- and e.g. Kickstarter! We might see something released from this master soon, hopefully! I have myself a big project that I cannot unveil too much in detail (e.g. because almost all my documentation files include still confidential 'micro' glyphs; besides my whole 'typeface' -or an optimized script- is procedurally based on them). Instead, I can comment on the related fonts (my field: extremely low-res dot-matrix Ascii), e.g. the ones by -the supposedly young- opipik. I started on FontStruct only in 2013, probably too late to know a lot about William's catalogue, even to post something encouraging on his work, unfortunately (the same today with uncountable fontstructions - a mere “beautiful” or a “interesting” is rarely welcomed, alas!).

Comment by dpla 5th May 2017

@dpla I tried the link, gave me a 404 error

Comment by Brynda 5th May 2017

@dpla Thanks for your suggestion. This is a forgotten, 6-years-ago artwork. I wonder how you even come to this lol.

Yes, abneurone has gone for quite long time, and your comment gave some light about his presence, I wonder if you both have communicated each other recently?

Comment by cablecomputer 5th May 2017

@Brynda: did you mean a '404 error' on both profiles? Sad then…

@cablecomputer: “6 years” is almost nothing in 'my' project/mind… ;-) {I started '''working''' on my 'micro' fonts in the early 1990s (after plenty of disappointments in the early 1980s - you can e.g. search the word "font" on WOS and see the same quest today among the now somewhat older 8-bit coders, that is, actually 3-px wide characters before the spacing)}…

To stay on topic, I remember I coded in ZX Basic the carved style (Google) you get in your "Letter Shadow 5x5" (or a bumped effect reciprocally), simply after editing the variable system pointer of the default font address in the ZX Spectrum ROM (~95 'CHARS' vs only 21 'UDG'). It was in the 1980s and made of 8x8 blocks, thus without your cleaner diagonals. Nowadays, we call this a (dot-matrix based) graphical filter, I suppose, after e.g. Photoshop's popularized effects in the meantime.

You are right: my last e-mail to Abneurone was on 2017-01-02, 02:50 PM. (I begged him to stop the incredibly time-consuming discussion [at least my answers to his blindly artistic viewpoint] after we realized we had irreconcilable motivations - this is too long to be summarized here [or could it be laconicly titled: "Shared creation vs Personal destruction?"]; I can 'chat' about it in PM.) I still enjoy AFT's detailed art, so he is very welcomed to come back, the way he wants (e.g. to promote his artbooks etc.). On the opposite scale, I like your minimal experiments too, cablecomputer, and need to comment them, “forgotten” on your part or not (they may be useful to 'my' project). FYI, I 'plunder' all the related goods the Internet search engines can provide (for years now)… we get hundreds of websites (with many dedicated 'repositories'), therefore likely thousands of 'micro' fonts, where your ~5x5 may be a tad too large to be compared or just listed (4x5 would be the max to me, as is my larger grid because people need to compare the legibility/difficulty directly).

B.t.w. many worthy tiny dot-matrix fontstructions would be liable to a greeting of mine (a.s.a.p., I cannot promise the post, and the translation traps does not help me), even if the experiment was quite short and/or the member has unfortunately left without the expected incentive. (Soon 6 years on fs, cc-:)

Comment by dpla 7th May 2017

@dpla Wow, it looks like I am simply know nothing (well, at least a light glimpse) about what you really do: Sinclair ZX Spectrum, 8-bit, micro fonts... And the good thing is you are really experienced at that part (working since the early 1990's? cool). Your recent project in FS to make and gather(?) a collection of 'micro fonts' are a new concept for me, even for the term 'micro fonts' itself, yet it looks interesting to be explored. Good to finally find this stuff :)

About Abneurone, I'm hoping to see he progresses and finally get a recognition (at least at this little comfy home where we and he lives, FS). People have to see his genuine approach of artistry and typography.

Comment by cablecomputer 9th May 2017

Well, on FontStruct I may look more like an 'old school bitmap designer' nowadays, than like a standard/good type designer (where the roundest vector fontstructions still amaze me - so, I cannot comment in a constructive way on them, by the way). My outdated and newer experiments should help us complete the Wikipedian 'pixel art' article, in French to begin with ('voxel art' and e.g. 'low-res fonts' would need a distinct/full-fledged entry). There is a great deal of minimalist artists and coders out there for ages (see the vivid retrogaming scene, for example), but in my opinion my related project is more thought-out and persevering, even more detailed and mature, and above all, more usable/useful, hopefully. In this serious little field of research, both knowledges are mandatory (with a tad of skill, plus/from a lot of patience). For instance, on the coding part, I had to imagine bit by bit a way to structure and manage such a big amount of deceptively similar fonts (the algorithmics is thus a necessary hobby, else you end up to be limited/stuck here and there, and nothing coherent emerges, like the hundreds of unconcerted and/or brief attempts you can collect via internet, even on FontStruct itself, forever - which makes me repeat: “if it ain't complete basic Ascii, it ain't text font!”). Actually, I rediscovered that the last optimization step of my piece of software works like a packer/depacker (or coder/decoder): my thousands of very low-res bitmap fonts can be generated from my 'seed' fonts (all finished in 2013). It is the only method I found that allowed me to keep the fewest glyphs possible; the learning curve becomes acceptable. The overall must be made out of the same repertory of glyphs; what counts is their simplicity of compression (the process has many logical, visual and debatable tricks; nothing groundbreaking but they should improve the learning curve too, after the right glyph-to-character mapping is accepted and proven). Today, I still add more variants (essentially by including special cases, next mixing the fonts, so that we get more compatibilities and happy users); I document (Txt, Png, Docx) and -very time-consumingly- compare my choices with others (not that I could copy the characters -it would not make sense for the coherence in such a large family of small fonts-, but it is a way to highlight my presumably improved choices as well - and nope, cablecomputer, I'm not building a -somehow exhaustive- collection of unusable/flawed/failing 'micro' fonts full of cheats/renunciations and lies -the font and record wordings-, just a comprehensible background to recall our unchanged needs, the ones the young almost forget, e.g. Pico-8 lately - '8scii', soon 'myselfscii', ''bscii'… what an autistic and egotistic-by-design backpedaling! Billions of lame 'micro' fonts can be done; only a few should be retained on any medium, that's my ultimate, albeit modest goal for a slightly better world). Some of the accompanying and expected benefits of having such an optimized design (relatively scarce in unique glyphs) are by far less needed machine/tool resources and human/biological memorization. We make/store/etc. more with less; I hope it is economically steady, even ethically correct for all (vs only-binary systems/languages/scripts). I already evoked my motivations on this site in 2013; still you know, a single-man project takes longer to be achieved…
Since you stopped talking about your (“forgotten”) "Letter Shadow 5x5", I came to your small font simply after opening, in your profile, all the links that could match my interest of dot-matrix minimalism. I process the same with the others on FontStruct (with catalogues of any number of pages), and sorry again in advance if I cannot comment in due time (at least before you forget about your own stuff, even before you leave forever this site or quit your present incarnation)…

Yep, I agree about Abneurone (… Fluid Types - AFT {PS This thread might make him want to log in again after he googled his nickname, at least I tried to attract his attention…}): I still need to know [SPOILER/]what makes his handwriting so special that he devotes an entire artbook to it. (Wizardry calligraphy on flash paper? Leonardo's contorsional borrowing? Cerebrospinal fluid as ink? Ingrown nails with warts? Itchy double amputee? Aphtous man with no arms or legs? Sneezing powder paper? Always more verbose Parkinsonian?…)[/SPOILER] Am I wrong when I read: Neurone Error = Abneurone Fluid Types? (If we talk about the same ex-member, he might have redone his deleted fontstructions he made until 2011; I was not there before two years, but AB*-beginning brands are known to be aggressively optimized commercially (esp. AAA*) for alphabetical list purpose, and would denote a short-term will in his typographical plan, while his presence and creations might have taken him longer. Or is this handle (AFT) a pun I overlooked?

Time to stop. (/)

Comment by dpla 11th May 2017
Comment by dpla 13th May 2017

Cool gif, dpla.

Comment by Brynda 14th May 2017

@dpla (maybe it is off-topic, with this being the comment section of cablecomputer's font but) I find your devotion to the world of
pixel fonts damn cool.

It's a shame Abneurone has stopped publishing new works here, they were interesting (but if he desires to, let him, I suppose)

Comment by Umbreon126 14th May 2017
Comment by dpla 15th May 2017

@Umbreon126: I can only share 'a few' coding experiences (from the 1980s and 1990s) for the moment, unfortunately (i.e. no complete 'micro' font of mine)… Besides, pertaining to the shadows in the current topic (cablecomputer looked interested for more 'tips'), I still need to post somewhere an example that shows: [positive] bumping = [negative] carving… without so much text (1 image is worth 100 lines). We'll see later.


Unexpected “1 MB limit” for the images… sorry, I have to split the following Gif (b.t.w. I comment the Gif/Png inside the file, here and in general).

Comment by dpla 15th May 2017
Comment by dpla 15th May 2017
Comment by dpla 15th May 2017

@Brynda, the nature is cool (we invent nothing): the first ani Gif simulates 16 directions, only with pixels… This is smoother than in the 8-direction compass rose (which is the lazy way), but I had to add a gray (so it's not 1 bit anymore), in these 8 cases: "NE+E, E+SE, SE+S, S+SW, SW+W, W+NW, NW+N, N+NE". In strict B&W, it cannot be smooth anymore. For more directions, necessarily with more grays, the programmer has to enlarge the centered font beforehand (provided in gray 254 here), e.g. 4 or 8 times. This is easily done in 3D tools (like the voxel-based editors, provided they allow enough accurate light positions). Since yes, the voxels are already the present of the pixels… that's why I could not help submitting the last animation(s).

Comment by dpla 15th May 2017

Notice how the shadows are partial and cannot help recover all the original pixels, as in my wrong '4' version 1:

Comment by dpla 15th May 2017

Animation with the same white-to-black filling:

Comment by dpla 15th May 2017

Animation with the original colors (i.e. simulated grays):

Comment by dpla 15th May 2017

Black-to-white + black with voxels background + ditto with white foreground:

Comment by dpla 15th May 2017

Animation with simulated grays using white voxels: the variable lighting blurs a little (source is bottom-left):

Comment by dpla 15th May 2017

Oh man ........ those animations show hidden qualities of this simple-looking but intrinsically complex font. It's great that the font has been re-introduced into the feed.  10/10

Comment by Aeolien 16th May 2017

@Aeolien: I think ~ 5x5 is a good trade-off between legible and too small, too (who knows? no scientific study was released, yet).


Notice how bumping and carving can deceptively look the same, depending on the light direction (and provided the carved surfaces are large enough to avoid the revealing walls, hence the bold "up dn" characters style in the following examples).
This ambiguity would be blabant in a 1-bit pixel art work/font that would discard all the related diagonals (since they are non applicable, i.e. gray at distance, thus deletable in this context - replacable with a square block).
Orthogonal and isometrical views:

Comment by dpla 17th May 2017
Comment by dpla 17th May 2017
Comment by dpla 17th May 2017

Another sample that blows me off my sandals... how did you do that?! It shows perfectly what you mean by lighting angle changing which way this font is placed (recessed or raised).10/10 for the sample ;)

Comment by Aeolien 17th May 2017

Hi, Aeolien! (nice photo b.t.w.). The voxels views (made of '3D pixels') can be rendered in any decent 3D tool nowadays, on any system/machine, though I can recommend already e.g. the quite trivial MagicaVoxel (free/donationware) when dealing, with small projects that should keep a '8-bit' look (cf. the 'Marble Madness' style seen above, antialiased and textured to look a tad nicer/newer). Voxatron (buyable) is more specialized in voxel gaming (very fun/limited too, and popular among the casual neo-/retro-gamers).

Yes: “Up” = “d∩” is a tricky mnemonic I found, so that -hopefully- the developer/fontstructer bears in mind not to confuse the player/reader about whether the shadows made of single pixels indicate an elevation/raising (up/bumped) or a reduction/recession (down/carved). {I assume this concern might have been spot since the bas-relief exist, at least since the advent of the marble works (in non-pigmented epitaphs, the sun can play with the typical -split- faces of these carved Latin characters).} The same spatial issue is broader (with our physical sense), e.g. when our head is upside down (on a swing, in zero G etc.). I had to post these plain samples because my explanations got too long or complex in comparison.

Now I'm going to try to clone (my version 2.1) of "Letter Shadow 5x5", i.e. B&W without the superfluous shadows [since they can be quite achieved (and bested, fine-tuned, derived) from e.g. Css rules nowadays (layers + gradient + blurs in an Html-alike format)].

Comment by dpla 18th May 2017

Great project with a humble pixel font. The voxel demo is awesome. 10/10

Comment by Frodo7 20th May 2017

@Frodo7: thank you in the name of ephtracy/MagicaVoxel! (If you really want to, I can animate it in 3D too, even try fontstructing around the featured bolder 5x5 font…) The last sample looked a lot nicer and more realistic with close-ups in hi-res (but I already deleted this directory of screenshots). I think we can wait a little more months -or years- to see such a simple tool allow camera paths. (We'd need to add at least the slopes, sprites overlays, collision detections, AI paths for the foes, controls and sounds before remaking the iconic Marble Madness engine…)

All right, I add "More 3D samples" in my to-do list on FontStruct. (I'm already on this way for the Fr.Wikipedia item about pixel art - 'voxel art' is still missing a solid definition b.t.w.) We'll see what I can find funny and interesting, albeit still reasonably on topic :-)

Comment by dpla 20th May 2017

@Frodo7: PS from your catalogue, here are the related feasibilities as voxels, strictly in MagicaVoxel (its current iteration):

Cubeology (almost all your textures could be imitated easily);
Hommage a Escher v2 (the lighting will differ a bit, for variable);
Rohan NE 10 (with edges shown the rendition will be perfect);
Sierpinski Black (the gray texture will not be featured);
Voxelstorm Regular 01 (with grid shown the output will be fair).

If I were to (or called to), I'd post a sample in 3D for the comparison in the pages above…

Comment by dpla 20th May 2017

@dpla It's quite surprising that a simple topics about shadows in pixels can trigger a long and technical talks. Your discussion and samples following is just great, (not only it uses 3D and gifs), but it also clearly shows what you mean. I'm not really sure, but it all looks crucial to making pixel works (not only fonts/microfonts but also pixel arts, pixel graphics on gaming and so on).

Again it shows us your expertise on this topic. Thanks dpla for your suggestions and deep dig on this, for me, a simple 5x5 font :)

Comment by cablecomputer 21st May 2017
Comment by cablecomputer 21st May 2017

@cablecomputer: I was never a 3d artist, but I enjoy binding both worlds via voxels in 2017… all the more since such easy tools like MagicaVoxel can help us. (I have a lot of pixel art experiments to share, but I'll try to stay on topic with my messages pertaining to very low-res pixel fonts.)

{Hopefully soon, I shall post two of Frodo7's Voxelstorm fonts (good trials) into 3D (.vox), since they are -nice and- based on isometric voxels too (and can be improved a lot, despite his license).}

All right: today I created a simple BUILDING (with six 5³ letters of yours)

(@architects/experimenters: it could be made in real life Imho, provided you complete the corners with transparent cubes [steel + glass], and fill the center of course.)

[B.t.w. thank you to FontStruct and FontShop for the great hosting!]

Comment by dpla 22nd May 2017
Comment by dpla 22nd May 2017
Comment by dpla 22nd May 2017
Comment by dpla 22nd May 2017
Comment by dpla 23rd May 2017
Comment by dpla 23rd May 2017
Comment by dpla 23rd May 2017
Comment by dpla 23rd May 2017

I have to postpone my 3D versions/extensions of these similar isometric/Escheresque 'voxel' fonts:
• "IsoMatrix 3D" by geneus1 (2008-05-14/2009-08-08);
• "Soma" by funk_king (2009-08-06/2009-09-28);
• "Voxelstorm Regular 01" by Frodo7 (2013-04-01/2014-07-20).

Comment by dpla 23rd May 2017

i dont know what is the comment above supposed to be

Comment by opipik 23rd May 2017

The price of success…
I can advertise, too!

Comment by dpla 24th May 2017
Comment by dpla 24th May 2017


Pertaining to basic Ascii characters only:
(the style of the blocks is quite cosmetic)

• "IsoMatrix 3D" by 'geneus1' (2008-05-14/2009-08-08)
· 43 valid:
· 51 missing:

• "Hommage a Escher v2" by 'Frodo7' (2009-08-05/2011-05-19)
· 87 valid:
· 7 missing:

• "Soma" by 'funk_king' (2009-08-06/2009-09-28)
· 29 valid:
· 65 missing:

• "Voxelstorm Regular 01" by 'Frodo7' (2013-04-01/2014-07-20)
· 44 valid:
· 50 missing:

Temporary result (WIP):
All these copyrighted 'voxel' fonts are incomplete.
Thus everybody can try and make them more portable…

(We'll see.)

Comment by dpla 29th May 2017

PS {sorry, I just forgot the fifth project:}

• "Voxelstorm Nano 02" by 'Frodo7' (2013-04-14/2015-07-27)
· 48 valid:
· 46 missing:

Comment by dpla 29th May 2017

@dpla: Your comments were most inspiring. I've already started playing with MagicaVoxel and learned a few tricks. Voxel art is an emerging genre in contemporary graphics. There are very impressive works on Behance; many artists using MagicaVoxel as their tool. Game developers use voxels for retro look. I've conducted a small research and found a solution for your problem: the missing camera paths, sprites overlays, collision detections, etc. You can import optimised models from MagicaVoxel into Unity and do all the rest there. You can also use Blender for rigging, or Mixamo for auto-rigging your 3D characters. I'm not saying it is simple, but there are tonnes of tutorials on YouTube for help.

I like the animated SHADOW tower with light emitting voxels on the top.

Comment by Frodo7 1st June 2017

@Frodo7: I'll be back to voxel art soon/a.s.a.p. (isometric voxels look greater in 3D). Thank you for your tips (I was aware of a few similar titles -and could use most of them-, but I'd need a lot more time, plus a skilled team, for a single related project of mine). Sure, Unity is currently the 1st choice for the indy scene (esp. on the cheaper mobile market, I see and tried many titles). Blender was too awkward/bulky last time I opened it (cf. GIMP in the past). I guess this kind of immersive 3D is going to be quite common, thanks to today's and tomorrow's trivial tools. (That's why I/we need "voxel art" on Wikipedia too, b.t.w.) E.g. we might be able to paste a snippet from this page to an online editor/game, to get an instant idea or sketch, in the near future (but there still seems to be a durable gap with the most professional systems, cf. the Pixels movie). Even FontStruct might become a 3D editor (with the right coder$), we never know! (texts and images being often bound, in games and not only). We would be able to get an overview of all your fonts in VR; all our real world 'textures' (surfaces) could be checked (which is already feasible in a 2D way). I'll contact you when my compilation of isometric fontstructions is redone in voxel art (as a base of comparison with my even more minimalist experiment, from the incentive of your "Voxelstorm Nano 02")…

Comment by dpla 22nd November 2017

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