The two kinds of fonts seen on a computer are:
• Raster Fonts which are also known as Bitmap Fonts and
• Vector Fonts
The earliest fonts created and used on a computer were raster fonts, which are coarse in nature. Later on Vector Fonts were developed which are much finer than raster fonts. A vector font stores the shape of the letter in the form of a mathematical formula. The shapes of the letters are created and stored as a combination of bézier curves. The bézier curve is represented as a mathematical equation, the shape of the curve changes according to the values assigned to parameters within the bézier curve equations.
There are two kinds of vector fonts.
• The predominantly used Vector Outline fonts and
• The lesser known Stroke Based Vector fonts
Most of the fonts that are currently used in computer systems are outline fonts. They are computer files, which store the image of the glyph as vector shapes. The resolution independent vector shapes are defined by an outline (the lines define the edge of the shape) covering the glyph. If the font is a Postscript Font then the shape is defined by bézier curves, whereas True-Type fonts are defined by quadratic splines. A typical letter from an outline vector font is shown below.
Figure 1: A glyph is represented by vector lines in an outline based font.
Stroke Based Fonts:
Fonts which define the glyph by placing the defining vector lines along the centre of the stroke used to draw the glyph are called stroke based fonts. The font stores the drawing stroke vector, on which the system can later on add various pen strokes or ‘flesh’ according to requirements. Currently very few systems use stroke based fonts.
Historically, ‘Vinyas’ was a significant interactive stroke based font development system developed by NCST, under which several stroke based fonts were designed for Indian Scripts. Their main advantage lies in the number of storage points. Stroke based fonts require considerably less storage space than outline vector fonts. It is due to these reasons; that some systems use stroke fonts to represent large glyph set required for East Asian scripts such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
Figure 2: Stroke based font. Left represents the skeleton, right represents the skeleton with the added flesh.
Figure 3: Multiple strokes can be added to same skeleton to get different font styles.
• In the given assignment, please try and answer the following questions.
• Use the available books in your library, online sources or talk to experienced graphic/ type designers.
• After noting down the answers, please discuss your answers with your colleagues and faculty members.
There is a possibility that you might not reach a single unambiguous answer. The goal of the assignment is to stimulate a discussion rather than to come up with a definite answer. Some of the questions are purposefully challenging, complex and ambiguous in nature; they are meant for the more experienced students and faculty, but undergraduates should nonetheless attempt to answer them.
Q15. Compare vector fonts with raster (bitmap) fonts?
List their advantages and disadvantages, in relation to their usage.
Q16. Compare outline vector fonts with stroke based vector fonts?
List their advantages and disadvantages. Which scripts are more suited for stroke based fonts as against outline fonts?
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