View Full Version : New Mapping Font - TNR Distressed

01-15-2011, 08:09 AM
Hi all,

This is my first 'proper' font using Scanahand - TNR Distressed, which is based on Times New Roman, but in a more handwritten style which would work for 'hand drawn maps'.

It supports diacriticals so our European brothers and sisters should be happy!


01-15-2011, 08:25 AM
Cool! Thanks, Ravells!

Steel General
01-15-2011, 08:42 AM
Neat stuff Ravs...

01-15-2011, 12:13 PM
Most excellent !! (I may have to start calling you Master Scribe..) :)

01-15-2011, 03:19 PM
Ha ha, thanks! I'm still at the 'getting to know you' stage with all of this, I'm sure it'll get better with time. There's still a whole lot to learn!

01-16-2011, 08:51 PM
That is really nice! How long did it take to mod TNR?

-Rob A>

01-16-2011, 09:18 PM
That's awesome. I want to make some fonts myself eventually based on my own print but I have no idea how to even begin.

01-17-2011, 06:59 AM
Cheers guys! It's fast becoming my new obsession, but as always it's never as easy as it first looks.

@RobA: The time taken to mod TNR was about a day.

The easy part was the modding: I just put all the text into Serif Drawplus and applied a roughing filter to it.
The time consuming parts was overlaying the characters on the scanahand template as it involved having to insert a lot of characters from the character map - but I only need to do that once. I have all the characters on one layer so I can easily change the font I want to work with. Then it was a case of running it through scanahand which generated the font.

Essentially what scanahand does is autotrace raster images of your glyphs, turn them into vector and make a font file - it's an incredibly quick way of making a font. The auto-trace function is OK, but not great and it's very much a case of Garbage in, Garbage out. The biggest problem I found was that the template is on two sides of A4 and the size of each glyph box is about 3/4 of an inch square. Even a 600 dpi scan would not give great results if there was ink bleed on the paper. I'm working on better materials - normal printer paper doesn't seem to cut it. Photographic paper would be good, but it's expensive. It's OK though as Drawplus has one of the best autotrace features out there, so I can draw large glyphs which I can clean up in Drawplus and then put into the scanahand template.

TNR Distressed is the first font I've done and pretty crap as I haven't dealt with any kerning issues, but I've learned how to do that now and may go back to it later and address them, but it was really more of an experiment. To deal with Kerning (and other) issues I bought 'Font Creator' - I sprung for the professional version which is an all singing/dancing font editor with a very intuitive interface. It also allows you to import vector directly. I will need to go back to the 'dark cities' fonts (made using scanahand) and import them directly as vectors since scanahand couldn't handle the detail of the streets.

I had a really good free light font editor (Typelight - but it didn't support kerning pairs). I looked at the open source font editor, Font Forge, but couldn't even get past the instructions for loading it as it involves some Unix Bash Shell? stuff involving .gz files and other recondite things which I didn't want to waste my life trying to work out. There is another free one, Type Tool, which looks like it does support kerning which may be worth a look.

I'm working on a mapping font based on a map I have at home which was drawn in about 1780 (Reference attached). What is interesting is that he uses a Capitalised italics for town names and regular caps for city names. Because the town font only ever uses caps at the start of a word, you can get some great effects but at the cost of not using putting caps together when using the town font (which you don't need to do). Also attached are my results so far for the town font (I've still got a way to go with kerning and making the glyphs more uniform) - I'm still getting workflows established and learning how all this works so it's taking a bit of time. I've also found that mapping fonts tend to be very light, so the text doesn't overwhelm. My objective is to create a font family: Town labels, City labels and Country labels.

@Jax, if I can do this, so can you. If you'd really like a go I suggest:

Download the evaluation version of Scanahand - you can't save the fonts you create but you can see what they look like in the preview window. Have a play - it's incredibly simple to use.

Also download a font editor (I suggest Typelight or Type Tool which are free, but if you want the full featured versions you'll have to pay, and if you're going to pay I would suggest getting something good). Once you have generated your font in Scanahand you can resolve kerning and other metric issues (like making all your glyphs exactly the same size etc.)

Download Inkscape (if you don't have it already) as having dedicated vector software is also very helpful.

Then try this:

In inkscape Type in the letters of the alphabet in upper and lower case and numbers and symbols from your keyboard.
Select all the text and apply modifications to it. For example if you want it heavier, put a black line around it.
Paste the characters into the scanahand template and generate your font.
If you want to adjust the font kerning etc, open your font in a font editor and do it there.



01-17-2011, 08:28 AM
That's fairly handy there. Gotta look into this.

01-17-2011, 08:49 AM
It'll be a good introduction to vector for you, Big A!

I should add that it's a really time consuming process if you want to do it well. A bit like making cities!!!

It's amazing how good the human eye is at picking out inconsistent line weights, line slope angles and alignment. You can be out by a mm or a couple of degrees and the eye will still spot it (look at the 'Miller' label in my pic above and the inconsistent angle of the i and the l stands out a mile. So there's lots of editing to get the font to look right if you're designing it from scratch.