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What True Type Fonts actually work?

    
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Paul

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Message 1 of 30

 What True Type Fonts actually work?
20-04-2006 06:27 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Has any one done any text embossing/extruding using TT Fonts? (Short sentences, phrases etc.)

The problem I am finding is that whilst TTF's are vector, it does depend on the font designers attention to detail as to each character being a valid 'extrudeable' shape. Loops, gaps and overlaps exist in many fonts.

So, if you have had success with a particular TTF, please let me know which ones....

TIA

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Steve

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Message 2 of 30

21-04-2006 12:26 . am   |   View his/her posts only
I've done several now. I've used Impact, Arial, and Tahoma. Those three have worked splendidly.

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Tim

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Message 3 of 30

21-04-2006 11:58 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Let me know which ones do not, please. Thanks.

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Paul

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Message 4 of 30

24-04-2006 04:56 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Doc,
you might be asking a bit much. There are 1000's of TTF's out there. A list of Fonts that are readily extruded and trimmed by 3D faces is perhaps a much handier list. Such a list would have saved me days of effort. Even Duplex Roman as shipped with VX falls over due to some characters having overlapping lines!

In my recent experience there are two major issues with TTFs that prevent successful extruding and/or trimming. Some apparently extrude OK, but have no chance of trimming.
Firstly, some produce loops and overlapping lines.
Secondly, some produce curves with way too many points in them. By too many I mean up to 700 points in a single character when perhaps 30 -50 would happily define the character.

Clues: The point overload is detected in several ways. With edges shown in shaded mode (yeap, it has a use), you can see what looks like shading on the characters when there should be none. Wire frame doesn't show the problem up at all. Selecting the character after exploding, some lines select then apparently other segments do not. In fact many minute segments exist that are not visible individually except when really zoomed in. Or select all the curves in a character and do an inquire to see the point count. You might be surprised. Another clue is trying to draft the extrude. Small angle extrudes do work with good fonts providing the extrude isn't ridiculously long.

I think the reason so many fonts have issues is due to some very crude font generator tools being used in Fontland and NO consideration of us poor old fellas trying to do as bit of 3D fancy stuff.

As Chris pnnted out to me, it matters not in 2D land.

I hope this is helpful.

If anyone has found a cool way of getting great low point count vector graphics into VX I'd be keen to hear. I have used Corel to export apparent logo stuff via DXF. the translation adds way too many points and looses the smoothness. Vx's cool NURBS editing tools are a good help but can't fix poor input.

Cheers

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Kevin

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Message 5 of 30

24-04-2006 11:25 . am   |   View his/her posts only
This is an issue in all 3D software using fonts. Vx's handling of fonts is a bit archaic to say the least (please ordinary fonts on drawings - hardly anybody uses a pen plotter these days). As for getting logo type into VX, yes, dxf is pretty crap at this. Polyline city. One way I do it is by using another software that can import a .ai file (adobe Illustrator - the 2D linework standard) and export IGES. Now the obvious answer here would be for VX to support import of .ai or .eps. How about it? Then maybe some users wouldn't keep having to run to Artcam all the time....

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ChrisWard2k2

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Message 6 of 30

24-04-2006 01:52 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Kevin

Let's not forget that VX does have the tools to turn problem imports into workable ones. I'm not sure that there are very many CAD-CAM Users out there that would have support for .ai or .eps high on their wish list. Plus of course, the divide between a CAD vector description and that of a Desktop Drawing program remains. Essentially, the problem is that the desktop drawing programs do not need to produce analytical curves for the purposes of 3D modelling, they only need curves that will print well (and that is achieved by rasterising and subsequent pixel dithering). The ultimate answer would be to have a range of fonts based on TTF but fully defined in CAD, for CAD.

VX font usage for 2D drawing layouts is a seperate issue. The current VX fonts "travel well" but yes, a lot of customers agree with you - it would be nice to have filled TTF for drawings. Now that VX v12 can use TTF natively, who knows..........

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Kevin

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Message 7 of 30

25-04-2006 04:19 . am   |   View his/her posts only
I can see your point Chris but I don't agree.

Getting logos and text is becoming a far more important aspect of product design. Often a product will be "refreshed" just by adding some detail to a surface. Applications like ArtCam have made a feature of this for many years. Many CAM systems that drive laser cutters and routers also accept .ai or .eps is imports as these are the formats that many of their customers use - especially for sign making.

Having tools to rework objects is one thing but what 99% of users actually need is not having to do the reworking in the first place. Hence the reason my VX workflow involves importing things like logos into 3rd party apps and exporting from there. The fact is that a well drawn 2D logo (and there are graphic designers who are good at drawing) using minimal points in Illustrator will import perfectly into apps that handle that format.

Also, a very common workflow for product designers is to rough things out in graphics apps like Illustrator and Freehand and export these into 2D drafting apps for polishing off. I do find it frustrating that to get a good quality logo into VX I have to go round the houses when a direct .ai or .eps import would do the trick. As has been said, dxf and dwg just converts many curves into a zillion lines....which is useless.

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Paul

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Message 8 of 30

25-04-2006 05:37 . am   |   View his/her posts only
An update on some more TTFs that do work. Swiss 721 Black Italic BT (possibly a bunch of the Swiss fonts too) Futura Light BT, Gill Sans Condensed (nice drafts). I have simply set up a A-Z 0-9 character set sketch which I paste in, change the Font attribute, blow it up (explode) extrude then trim with a wobbly curved face. If that test is passed and the shaded model looks clean, it'll probably work. Applying a draft on the extrude appears to be the acid test.
I looked up TrueType Fonts on Wikipedia. Wiki TTF I didn't realise that there is a lot more goin on within TTF's than is obvious. None of which actually helps CAD!

Re formats from other apps. I agree with Kevin. Doing artwork in a dedicated app. (Corel Draw for me) is fast & often the only way to initially handle client files sent form the graphics folks )many of whom are fruitcakes -(Apple fans). So far (last ten years) Adobe illustrator seems to be the format of choice. It is usually tidy curves, small files and everyone can make and read them. I have never had success with ESP or EPS!

On that basis, VX might find that translating AI files is not a particluarly difficult task and would mean a major leap forward in speed and inter operability.

In my experience the heat is on a job at the end. I inevitably leave artwork until last, along with fillets, only to often run into hassles, with both! Having confidence that AI files would go straight in would be a big load of the shoulders.

Now, how about being able to have text follow a curve, top, mid, and bottom side within a VX sketch? Off course if AI translation was good, this would not be required either!

Cheers -

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Kevin

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Message 9 of 30

25-04-2006 07:59 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Sounds like me Paul :-)

You hit the nail on the head though. Drafting text is a killer, but then 9 times out of 10 this fails not because of the text but because we are trying to do something that VX or any other app struggles with - drafting to beyond a zero thickness point! In my experience chunky typefaces work best - so you minimise the risk of zero points on the draft. Its just like extruding any sketch really.

On the subject of import formats, yes, I agree, .ai is the way to go...but...Adobe changed the format in version 9 to pdf and this complicates things for others. Virtually all applications that import .ai files for modelling purposes limit the import format to version 8 or less. But that is no problem as Illustrator lets you export back to whatever format you need.

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Steve

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Message 10 of 30

25-04-2006 05:22 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
I'm with mudcrab. I'd REALLY like text that followed a curve. Come on guys, even surfcam has had that for close to a decade

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ChrisWard2k2

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Message 11 of 30

25-04-2006 06:47 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi All

Text on a curve etc (2D Morphing) already has it's very own PCR

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Paul

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Message 12 of 30

25-04-2006 08:31 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Thanks for the PCR re AI or equivalent Chris,
(PCR18684) I am sure VX folks will do a thorough investigation as to the 'right' format to use. If PDF does provide an avenue, maybe it's the go. However I suspect many folks in graphics land will not have migrated to that as quickly as Adobe might have hoped.

I guess the right answer is to do both!

Cheers

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Robert

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Message 13 of 30

28-04-2006 05:01 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Text on a curve is already written but it didn't make the version 12 cutoff. Sorry, but it won't be available until 13.

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Tim

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Message 14 of 30

01-05-2006 09:51 . am   |   View his/her posts only
OK, I thought you meant font characters that intersected (overlapped their boundaries) in a sketch string (which we have seen). Those problems you describe are even more fundamental.

Yes, draft on extruded characters can be problematic when they have those annoyingly small corner knockoffs. Inlay does not yet resolve self-intersection.

For 13 we will be adding chamfer as well as the ability to select base or offset side (only) to fillet. This will help.

I recommend small offsets with your larger drafts to avoid problems. It also looks good!

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ChrisWard2k2

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Message 15 of 30

05-05-2006 07:54 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hi everybody

This thread has been an open and frank discussion of the problems we are presented with when using TTF profiles for modelling. It is worth mentioning that with a little bit of effort the problems can be overcome and the results are worth that effort. This is the image from our Press Release, it shows the possibilities:



Here is a link to the PR as published by McadCafe:

http://www10.mcadcafe.com/nbc/articles/view_article.php?articleid=265939

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Paul

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Message 16 of 30

08-05-2006 02:46 . am   |   View his/her posts only
You're right Chris and I quote the article
"Fonts In 3D - True!
The ubiquitous True Type Font has been given new purpose by VX. Any True Type Font found on a user's computer is transparently converted by VX into a vector format for 3D modeling. Users simply select the font desired and then type text straight into the VX Sketcher. There is then a variety of tools to produce solid or surface geometry from the text. With VX, your sketch does not have to stay planar, it can be wrapped around any surface  thus designers can ensure that extruded text is held normal to the surface if required. Draft relief can also be applied to ensure there are no manufacturing problems. "

I guess the question is what is meant by transparent. The reality is it aint always quite that clear due to TTFs being an unknown as we have discussed. . And getting them to draft can be an impossibility which is a real bummer. I have had hardly any success with drafting them and am hoping the 0.5mm depth of no draft will hold up inder sand casting for some of the stuff I am doing. Fingers crossed.

I'd love to see how the curved text form in the lower RHS of the pic was done - is there a video clip of the process. ( I am assuming it is a bullnose type cutter or emboss)

The tools coming in V13 look like they are going to give most of what is required.

Aint it great having CAM folks around the place who understand the manufacturing and tooloing process.

Cheers

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ChrisWard2k2

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Message 17 of 30

08-05-2006 10:40 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Paul

Transparently converted - you witness this every time you type with the TTF fonts in Sketcher - it just works, you dont have to ask VX to do anything nor do you see anything other than the text entities appearing on screen in Real Time.

You have already found some fonts that will draft. Others will only have some characters that can present a problem, and these can of course be modified in the Sketcher. 0.5mm with zero draft for a sand casting? I doubt that will be a problem, though flashing can be difficult to remove.

The "pipe" like text in the bottom right-hand picture of the Press Release (which is a faithful copy of what glass ovenware manufactures actually use) is produced very simply - Whittle down the font entities to single curves representing each character, concatenate, apply the VX "rod" command. I capped the rods with domes.


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Tim

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Message 18 of 30

08-05-2006 03:15 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
I'm going to look into some of the problems with TTF and what we can do about it. I'm thinking there must be some simple pre-processing that will help. Having only pored over a few characters in a few fonts I don't yet have a feel for the quality (so-called) of TTF in general though I already am annoyed by some of the things I see. It is clear, as has already been stated here, that TTF data is not designed for 3D work. Yet, they are designed to contain some kind of fill algorithm. One would think this would mean that they are watertight at the very least...but I shall hopefully see.

700 points per character sounds especially annoying given that they are fit with conics which as such are curved yet will never be curvature continuous, except I suppose in approximation (700 curves?). Thanks for the Wiki link BTW.

Can you tell me which font that is w/ 700 something per character, mudcrab? Gracias.

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Tim

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Message 19 of 30

08-05-2006 05:36 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Also I need one glyph of a font that has a gap, and one that has an overlap and of course any other archetypes (as one glyph in one font) of major problems. I want to see if this is due to the general crappiness of TTF data or the complex algorithms that transform them based upon context (hints and what have you). We might be able to turn off the context transforms.

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Paul

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Message 20 of 30

08-05-2006 07:01 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Chris, & DocTop,
Transparently converted is then witnessed in every other application that uses TTF by that definition. unless I have missed something major in which case I will profusely apologise. This is the process required at present to get solid text.
Insert sketch, insert text (in a simplex format unless you want other issues when setting TTF's as a default), select text, RMB attributes, choose TTF (the preview is great), change size etc. exit attributes. Choose Edit menu, Explode, select text entity, OK. Now depending on the font chosen, you may have be able to extrude directly or you may need work on the text sketch, concatenate curves, etc etc. That is not transparent. What would be is typing in text, then choosing extrude and it happens. I dont have too much of a problem with this now that I know the issues.

Is there another way?

Gotcha on the pipes & domes - it was the ends that had me.

Damm! I have run out of ellipsoids.... by glyph, do you mean a single character in a particular font set? e.g Q = a glyph, X = a glyph etc.

Re the 700 points, from memory, this is more associated with bringing characters down via DXF when formatting in a vector program. however if I find any TTF I'll surely let you know. I have certainly seen both overlaps and loops. Interestingly the overlaps only showed up when zoomed and hovering over wit he cursor, the inquire show gaps did not reveal them.

Cheers

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ChrisWard2k2

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Message 21 of 30

08-05-2006 07:19 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Paul

I must set the record straight for other VXer's - TTF characters being placed into the Sketch as geometry you edit is a transparent process, and no, this is not the case in the majority of applications which only ever "see" the characters as text. You DO NOT have to explode the text, it is immediately Sketcher Geometry.

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Paul

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Message 22 of 30

08-05-2006 08:54 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Chris,
this being the case, I, for one, definitely need some detailed information as to just how to do this. I have searched hi and low for help on this and cannot find anything that covers it (v12.41) I have also looked for help on Insert - Shell/Offset - Inlay curves. I had not realised this was here until VERY recently. It looks like it might even be what I've been looking for too.

Yes, Text does reside happily (even transparently) in a sketch, but what can you do with it? It doesn't even select for me once outside the sketch.

I look forward to the clues.

Cheers,

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ChrisWard2k2

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Message 23 of 30

09-05-2006 10:16 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hi again Paul

Could it be that you are using the Insert Text at Point command? If so, you are telling the system that the text should be only that - text. To insert the same text as Sketcher Geometry, go to the ReadySketch Tab and select Insert Ready Text, the last icon on the right of that toolbar.

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Tim

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Message 24 of 30

09-05-2006 11:49 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Paulcrab,

Yes, that's exactly what I mean. Glyph-I was trying to be all fancy and formal. Sorry.

Please note if you see one with gaps and/or overlaps and then drop me an email, e.g.,
lower case 'x' in Courier.

DT

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Paul

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Message 25 of 30

09-05-2006 04:46 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Chris, Doc Top, et al,

YIPPEE & my humble apologies. It is beyond transparent, alomost etherial.

YES, text entry via ReadySketch is stunning. For those who haven't found it yet, (or am I the only one?), this is better than MS Word (like Lotus tho'), you get LIVE preview of font choices AND can choose to italicise, bold, or both etc, fonts that otherwise wouldn't! Even Wingdings, Arabic etc ... WOW.

Now all I need is to understand the Inlay tools.... Chris can you shed light on it please?

The Help on Ready Sketch is excellent but it's missing the TEXT part!!!!!

A complete HELP topic on Getting text onto parts would be great.

3 Cheers,

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Tim

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Message 26 of 30

10-05-2006 10:24 . am   |   View his/her posts only
You'll want to wrap that text on a surface next.

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Paul

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Message 27 of 30

10-05-2006 03:49 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Dr Top,

Are you psychic?. In the absence of any instructions I have already tried (Inlay) on a simple (1 direction curve) curved surface. It didn't do it! But WOW what a tool if it was able to do what it onto any face you wanted!!!

The only thing I thought would be on the wish list for the command is a seperate fillet radius control for top and bottom edges. As it is, on a flat face it is stunning.

Can I tell folks where to find Inlay? V12.3 Edit menu/ Shell Offset/Inlay Curves - as Chris disclosed, Ready Sketch (V12.3) has a NEW tool for entering text transparently as curves all ready for the NEW Inlay tool to use. It's a really cool tool with draft and fillet controls built in.

So Doc, when will we see the full blown all singing any surface version???

Cheers

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ChrisWard2k2

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Message 28 of 30

10-05-2006 11:25 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Paul

Project or wrap your Sketch to the face first, (or extrude the Sketch and produce intersection curves) then Inlay. The target can just be a face, does not have to be a solid - now there's hybrid for you

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Tim

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Message 29 of 30

11-05-2006 05:33 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Send me your bug.

I'm getting the glitches out of it for 13.
Also more options.

The big boss asked me to do that one up.

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Paul

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Message 30 of 30

12-05-2006 03:13 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Doc,
no bugs as such, (but will do, if found) just not sure quite how to use it. Chris's suggestion to get the curves ON the face takes me full loop (and is the clue I needed) on some stuff I sorted with him a few weeks ago that you couldn't do that way until Inlay.

I think Inlay will be a VERY useful tool for the finishing part (text and graphics) of many jobs. If it can tackle almost any curves on any surfaces, then it really is a major time saver and from what I've seen so far, does great job. Thanks to the crew.
Cheers,
See also
X