Demonstration of an experimental tool developped to be used inside the font editor Robofont. The idea stems from Frederik Berlaen’s Outliner extension for Robofont. At the beginning, I simply wanted to be able to modulate stroke width (and teach myself contour manipulation/creation based on Robofab pens). And then it got a bit wild… It is very far from being a production ready tool, as in experimental. Really experimental.
The underlying principle is, in certain aspects, probably similar to how Donald Knuth’s Metafont works, but I wouldn’t know as I didn’t start from any existing parametric approach, and wrote 98% of the code myself, code that relies heavily on Robofab (robofab.org), though. And other libraries included in Robfont, for UI and font data manipulation of course (Vanilla, Defcon, etc.). I suppose the way this tool works departs from most other parametric type design approaches in the sense that it doesn’t try to guess much and still requires quite a lot of intervention from a type designer to produce any results. It’s meant to ease experimentation during the exploration phase of any type design: easily work around weight, contrast and such. Setting up a letter with this tool is not really quicker than drawing it the traditional way, but once it’s created, it is easier to play around with it. The skeleton from which the letter is inflated is on a separate layer, and at all times the tool generates a ‘normal’ letter on the foreground, allowing you to also work spacing out. You can have several skeletons on several layers for a single glyph and switch between them. The way letters/skeletons are built should allow to interpolate the parametric form, eventually.
As it is experimental (I’m not afraid to repeat that) and a side-project requiring a lot more development (which I presently don’t have the time to keep on doing), there’s no plan to release any of it any time soon.
To this day, it has been used mostly for lettering & prototyping purposes (akalollip.com/blog/?p=4219)