Author Topic: Automatic letter spacing as addition to glyph extension?  (Read 76 times)

Franz Gratzer

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Automatic letter spacing as addition to glyph extension?
« on: December 08, 2018, 05:11:50 pm »
Today I reported two issues on bugs.scribus.net. I am delighted how fast jghali gave feedback on it. He closed my first report because he claims it has been resolved in a newer version. So far, so good.

My second bug report is a bit trickier. I didn't use hyphens properly since I didn't know how they were meant to be used. But the second aspect in this report wasn't on glyph extension which jghali was referring to in his reasoning for closing the issue.

Since he pointed me to this forum to ask any "beginner questions" I registered and try my luck here.

To me extending or narrowing of letters is rather different from letter spacing since I normally want to keep the specific letter form but might want them to be a little more spread out or tighter together. In fact I admit a mixture of both would be great to have at our disposal.

Maybe I just didn't find it yet and a feature does actually exist in Scribus:
Can I define a range for letter spacing that Scribus would automatically use to set the best value for any given line?

a.l.e

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Re: Automatic letter spacing as addition to glyph extension?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2018, 09:44:36 pm »
did you have a look at the word tracking?



this, with a little bit of glyph extension (and of course a reasonable hyphenation) might solve most of your issues...

but, indeed, scribus does not have an automatic control of the letter spacing.
i'm not typography expert, but i would say that in most cases it's not such a huge shortcoming...
(i mean, messing with the letter spacing might lead to a uglier result than the two (three) other options... what do the experts say?).

utnik

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Re: Automatic letter spacing as addition to glyph extension?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2018, 12:27:12 pm »
…i mean, messing with the letter spacing might lead to a uglier result than the two (three) other options... what do the experts say?

well – i'm not en expert either, but i like good typography.

when you work with adjusted text, (at least when the columns aren't excessively wide,) you should:
  • hyphenate your text (with correct language settings and an adequate maximum number of consecutive hyphenations)
  • allow for some glyph extension and compression (up to ~97-103%)
  • allow for some 'elasticity' in the word tracking (i almost never allow less than 90% and keep the norm somewhere between 100% and 103%.)
the exact values depend on the column width and to some amount on the language.
with the glyph extension you adjust the whole line of text (characters and spaces) and keep the integrity of the font intact. and as the character spacing takes (in usual fonts) less than 15% of the line width, a correction like 2% glyph extension would need at least 12% wider spaces between the characters. (which might be ugly, while the 2% on the whole line of text would remain invisible…)

just a side note: sometimes people use monospaced fonts in adjusted text mode – don't do it! it's an act of cruelty.

utnik

Franz Gratzer

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Re: Automatic letter spacing as addition to glyph extension?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2018, 12:39:26 pm »
did you have a look at the word tracking?
Thank you for pointing my attention to it, a.l.e. The naming has confused me since I didn't expect this value would have effect on letter spacing but on word spacing. In fact I was able to get better results now by using all three options: "Word Tracking", "Glyph Extension" and automatic hyphenation than with my editing by hand. (See the attached file with extremely narrow columns for reference.)
Of course it's a question how big of a variation one should accept to get rid of holes in lines. It is always unclear if to tightly packed together narrowed letters are better than to much white space. At least now I can use the available tools properly. (It's only a shame that I can't adjust the "Word Tracking" in the paragraph style like the "Glyph Extension".)
Now I'm even happier with Scribus. ;D

a.l.e

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Re: Automatic letter spacing as addition to glyph extension?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2018, 12:01:02 am »
i would say that your "better" layout does not have a tweaking of the letter spacing.

when looking at your right layout, there are letters which are too close for me... that example suggests to me that messing with the letter spacing is probably not a good idea.

and for the styles, i think that the space "compression" is very close to the word tracking... no idea what the difference is, though.

finally, nice that you've found your way for a better result with scribus!

Franz Gratzer

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Re: Automatic letter spacing as addition to glyph extension?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2018, 06:29:52 pm »
i would say that your "better" layout does not have a tweaking of the letter spacing.

Maybe I use the wrong term here but if I compare the first and second line of both examples then there is not only a difference in character width but also in the space between the letters.

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there are letters which are too close for me ... messing with the letter spacing is probably not a good idea.

I think if kept in a limited range it offers better results than doing everything with just glyph extension. (I probably went to far with it because in the right example I didn't have anything else for compensation.)

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i think that the space "compression" is very close to the word tracking ...

I didn't encounter the term "space compression" yet. Therefore I can't comment on your statement.

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nice that you've found your way for a better result with scribus!

Yes, I'm looking forward to my next Scribus project. It will be much more fun now. 8)