[scribus] A New Concept of Character Spacing? (was Re: Why scribus lacks letter-spacing?)

John Jason Jordan johnxj at comcast.net
Thu Feb 4 07:07:27 CET 2010

On Thu, 4 Feb 2010 07:45:29 +0300
Alexandre Prokoudine <alexandre.prokoudine at gmail.com> dijo:

>On 2/4/10, John Jason Jordan wrote:
>>>> What if we could, well, revamp the entire concept of character
>>>> spacing in such a way that kerning would no longer be needed?
>> How do these concepts compare to InDesign's optical character
>> spacing?
>Weren't ID's optical thingies loosely modeled after URW's Kp
>application and thus using a completely different approach?

I've never heard of URWs Kp application.

As for InDesign's optical character spacing, my very dim understanding
is that it is based on the area between characters, calculated from the
outer path of the glyphs on the left and the right, and the baseline
and x-height on the top and the bottom. Except for caps and letters
with ascenders the top margin must be different. 

In other words, InDesign would calculate the area using the above
edges. Then it would adjust the inter-character spacing to the nearest
1/100 of an em space so that all glyphs would have close to the same
area between them.

The user can choose between optical character spacing and metric
character spacing, where the latter simply uses the metrics built into
the font. Either can be applied to a paragraph or character style.

Having used it I can say that the results of optical character spacing
are really wonderful. I never had to do any manual tweaking at all. It
was especially useful for older and cheaper fonts where the font
metrics were not well designed. And the speed of screen display was
never bogged down when I used it, even though you'd expect all that
calculating to make a tremendous load on the CPU.

I should google to see if I am right and to get additional detail, but
it's late and I'm tired.

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