FontCreator

Please note: instructions on transferring glyphs from a different program TO FontCreator are in the pages for those programs.

High-Logics FontCreator, like most font editing programs, is a vector based program. It will let you create a set of glyphs from a pre-existing template and then edit them one by one.

The FontCreator website itself maintains a list of tutorials that expand upon the program in a much greater detail. This list can be found at the following link.

New Documents

First lets look at how to create a new document. It's actually as easy as going to File > New in the drop down menu.

The FontCreator New Project dialogue. For normal fonts you only need enter a name but make sure you do that to clarify the project.

Once selected, you'll get the dialogue pictured, which actually only requires one field to be changed. Enter a name for your font family (the typeface) and only change the other two options if you want to.

After you choose a typface name and say ok you'll be given several new windows. Most of them can be closed. The only windows you'll need consistently are the main font window (where the grid of glyphs is shown), the preview window (where you can see what your font looks like in a sentence) and possibly the transform window (which allows you to modify an entire glyph at once.

At this point the only thing you need to do to start making fonts is to double click on a glyph (at which point a window with a close up of that glyph will appear) and start making the shapes for it. Let's look at the tools that are available when an individual glyph window is up.

Common tools

(These are obviously not *all* the tools available, by they are the most important, and minimum you'll need to be familiar with to create a font.)

Once you have a glyph window open you don't have to close it if you want to go to another glyph near it. The "next" and "previous" glyph buttons will change to the neighboring glyph.

These icons will allow you to select entire, or smaller parts of a glyph. If you have a complex area that has many points within it, and you only want to move half of those points, then using something like the lasso tool will allow you to select a group of points without having to do it one at a time.

This is also where you'll find the scalpel tool (second from the right), which will let you make cuts to seperate glyphs at straight angles.

One of these three tools are pobably going to be your starting point. They create either a straight line (The "insert contour" tool), or create a basic square or ellipse shape. These shapes can then be further edited on a point level or combined together with the following tools.

When editing a font there will always be one of two modes enabled. Either the "contour" mode or the "point" mode will be switched on. The contour mode allow you to select an entire shape at once. So if you have a lower case "i" that is two parts, the stem and the dot (AKA the "tittle"), then you can move either one as a whole while "contour" is switched on. When the point mode is selected then you'll be able to edit the individual points that make up a contour.

To change a point from being a corner point to a curve guiding point, just right click on it and select either "on" or "off" curve to tell the shape whether or not the point should fall on or off the contour line. In the above diamond shape the right-most point was selected and "off curve" was selected.
As you can see, this same right click dialogue is used to add new points. New points will usually appear to the right of the point you've clicked on.

Just remember that points in FontCreator don't have "handles" as they do in a PhotoShop or Illustrator shape. Points that are not on a line simply guide the curve of that side of the shape.

The contour tools allow you to create a new shape from two selected shapes via a union, an intersection, or an exclusion. Exclusion inparticular will make the two overlapping shapes into two seperated shapes. You can use this method to cut out pieces from one shape, then just delete what's left of the exclusion.

The last of the primary tools is the "change direction" button. This will change the "winding" of a shape and the way in which it is drawn. If a shape is intersecting another shape then it will invert the intersected area to either be filled or not.

Below you can see an example of what happens when the "change" direction button is clicked after selecting ONE of the the two ellipses. The intersecting area has been inverted. This is useful for glyps that have empty areas, such as the "O" or "R", etc.

Before and after applying the "change direction" command.

If you wanted the smaller ellipse to completely cut out of the larger, and not leave its top half as it does above, then you must first select BOTH ellipses. With both selected use a contour command from above (such as "exclusion") and then delete the remaining half of the smaller ellipse.

Changing default font measurements

The default measurement positions are indicated in each glyph window by a dotted red line. You can adjust the vertical red lines yourself (they define the default kerning with ALL other glyphs) but the horizontal lines must be changed through a menu.

From the main window choose "Font > Font Properties". Within the new window that comes up find the "Metrics" tab. The options under this tab will change the default values for ALL glyphs within your font project.

Because this changes the measurements for all glyphs it's something that you'll want to adjust early on.

Should you accidentally move the left vertical line and want it back at position zero you can right-click anywhere in the glyph window to select "Glyph Properties". Inside the small window that pops up will be an option to set the left side bearing point line to "0".

Defining Kerning

Remember that kerning is something that, while it can be edited manually in most programs, should be information embedded within the font file.

Defining Kerning in FontCreator is simple. Go to the "Font" drop down and select "Kerning". A new window will pop up. Click the "new" button" to get the "New Kerning Pair" sub-window. From here you can scroll down two lists to find the pair that you want. So if you want to, for example, close the gap between a "V" and a "M", then you'll select the "V" in the left column, and the "M" from the right and then say "Ok". Once returned to the Kerning window you can just click and drag within the main window where the two characters are displayed to modify their distance from each other.

Just remember that Kerning is directional. If I define the spacing for a V/M pair, that is not the same as a M/V pair. The second pair will need its own kerning entry.

Note: You'll only be able to see glyphs that you've actually made. Blank glyphs will appear as blank entries.

The FontCreator Kerning window. Here you only need to drag the mouse within the main work area to adjust the space between these *specific* characters.

Saving & Exporting

You do not have to save every glyph individually. Just go to " File > Save Project" and save the .fcp file anywhere you like.

The .fcp file is not what any given operating system can recognize as a font file though. For that we need to export the font. Just make sure that if you ever want to edit your font in the future, you hold onto your original .fcp.

To actually create a font file that can be read by most operating systems you simply need to go to "File > Export". The "Font Export Settings" dialogue will appear and ask for some simple information. Generally all you'll need to decide is the output file path for either the OpenType or the Web Font file you wish to export, and then hit ok.

Just by looking at the program you'll be able to tell that there is much more to it than the commands listed here, but these are the basics, and should be enough to get you started making fonts.