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Kerning table edit - Adobe Indesign Windows

Quark has something called "Kerning table edit", in which Quark reads in the kerning table from the font and allows you to make changes to it. Your changes are saved in the Quark file, as overrides to the font's own kerning table. I think. Does Indesign have anything similar, or am I going to have to learn how to edit the font itself? Ken Benson...

  1. #1

    Default Kerning table edit

    Quark has something called "Kerning table edit", in which Quark reads in the
    kerning table from the font and allows you to make changes to it. Your
    changes are saved in the Quark file, as overrides to the font's own kerning
    table. I think.

    Does Indesign have anything similar, or am I going to have to learn how to
    edit the font itself?

    Ken Benson


    Kenneth_Benson@adobeforums.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    Just use optical kerning in ID and I doubt very much you'll need much
    more than a tweak now and then.

    Bob
    Bob Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    It's too late for that. These are coming back to me as corrections, and I
    need a simple way to fix a number of kern pairs (in Bembo Standard) that are
    really tight. If I change everything to optical, the entire book reflows.

    Ken Benson


    Kenneth_Benson@adobeforums.com Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    So use Find/Change to change just those pairs in Bembo to optical kerning.

    Dave
    Dave_Saunders@adobeforums.com Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    > So use Find/Change


    Yes, that's probably the answer. I just wanted a more permanent solution
    that involved Metric Kerning. Up till now I've been avoiding Optical
    Kerning, for no better reason than that I remember an old Compugraphic
    kerning package of the same name that was optically horrible. I'll give it a
    try on the next book.

    Thanks, Dave and Bob.

    Ken Benson


    Kenneth_Benson@adobeforums.com Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    As the others have indicated, ID does not have the ability to edit kerning tables. I wish it did because it would be very helpful for me (and, no, using optical kerning is no substitute for me). However, there is a plugin available, but I forget the name right now. If you do get it, could you please post back here and let us know what you think of it?
    Dominic_Hurley@adobeforums.com Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    http://www.knowbody.dk/productbasement/index.asp?language=2


    Richard_Ronnback@adobeforums.com Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    > If you do get it, could you please post back here and let us know what you
    think of it?


    It's called Cool Kern, from www.knowbody.dk/.

    I didn't get the paid version...I only got the demo. For me it seems not
    worth it.

    First off, it's $100 for a 1-year license, and I'm having problems right now
    with one typeface (Bembo) in one book. I don't mind upgrading software--when
    I'm ready--but I don't like the idea of setting myself up for a yearly
    payment for something I may use only once. I'm sure he worked hard on it,
    and he deserves to get paid for all the work that went into it, just not
    from me.

    It works on the idea of a master doent and "packages". The master
    doent contains all the kern pairs (unkerned) that you might ever want to
    kern. The hitch is, you have to come up with your own master doent. Now,
    I know about AW and Te, and I could probably conjure up another 25 or so
    good ones, but isn't there already a list somewhere of the most common kern
    pairs? Why does every user have to duplicate this work? I like the idea of
    being able to add to the master doent, but the master doent should
    start off with the two or three hundred most common kern pairs already
    entered.

    Next are packages. Packages allow you to pull up the contents of your master
    doent, choose a font, and kern away. Save it, maybe add another font or
    20, and you've got a package. I'm not sure why anyone would ever need more
    than one package, but you can make as many as you want.

    Open a doent, open a package, and apply kerning. The result is that the
    plugin goes through your whole doent, finds the kern pairs in the
    appropriate fonts, and kerns them according to the package you have applied.
    If you have Highlight|Custom Tracking & Kerning turned on in Preferences,
    the effect is somewhat of a visual chaos, since Cool Kern just went through
    your whole doent and applied custom kerning to pairs scattered throughout
    your text.

    If I were going to get serious about editing kerning tables, I think I would
    prefer to learn how to do it within the font. This would have several
    advantages (if I understand the concept correctly):

    1) I would have to buy a font editor, probably only once, not once every
    year.

    2) I would get custom kerning coming from the font, in all my DTP apps, not
    just in Indesign, and not just when I chose Metrics and remembered to apply
    a kerning package.

    3) I would not have to see any highlighting for Custom Kerning & Tracking,
    because there would be no *custom* kerning done. All my type would be kerned
    directly from the font metrics. I'm probably the only one out there, but I
    actually like to be able to easily see that I applied some tracking to a
    paragraph to lose a line.

    What has this all taught me? Try optical kerning on the next book, at least
    the next one that uses Bembo. Next time I have some free time, I'll
    experiment with the demo for Fontlab (if there is one).

    Dominic, what is it about optical kerning that you don't like? I just want
    to hear some opinions before I try it out.

    Ken Benson






    Kenneth_Benson@adobeforums.com Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Kerning table edit



    Next time I have some free time, I'll experiment with the demo for Fontlab
    (if there is one).




    There is. Fontlab is expensive, but it does a decent job. My big annoyances witj the program are:
    1. The still don't have a version that can handle class kerning of complex fonts like the Minion Pro correctly.
    2. They still have got no version that supports the OpenType tables for RTL-languages.

    But I agree with your reasoning: I think it is much better to use a font editor, and I use FontLab.

    Teus
    Teus_de_Jong@adobeforums.com Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    Thanks, Teus

    Ken Benson


    Kenneth_Benson@adobeforums.com Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    2. They still have got no version that supports the OpenType tables for RTL-languages.

    Do you know of a program which does?

    Thanks
    Harbs
    harbs@adobeforums.com Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    No. There were rumours that Fontlab 5 would support them. But I don't see anything about that anymore on their site.

    I think almost everyone works with VOLT to make Arabic and Hebrew fonts.

    This is a ridiculous situation, probably caused by Fontlab being the only company left that makes professional font editors (especially now they have Fontographer).

    Teus
    Teus_de_Jong@adobeforums.com Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    Hi Ken
     

    I don't see the problem with this. Granted, I'd rather have it work like it does in Quark XPress or Ventura, where you just get a list of all kerning pairs and can add, delete, or edit as required, but this approach should work okay.
     

    A kerning editor is not supposed to take the place of metrics or even optical kerning. You don't need to come up with a list of the most common kerns at all - the font designer has already done that, as have the people that programmed optical kerning. A kerning editor comes in when you don't like some of those kerns. For example, you may think the space between the W and A is too big, so you add that combination only to your master doent. Or, as Bringhurst points out, some Monotype fonts have too big a space when an f is followed by a word space. Typically, you may have only a few combinations in each file, not several hundred, and they will most likely not be the most common ones. If someone had to edit several hundred pairs, then I would have to say that the font sounds like junk anyway (or that such a person has very idiosyncratic ideas on kerning).

    As for optical kerning, it's not that I don't like it, but that it doesn't do the same job as a kerning editor, and thus is no substitute for me. For example, when setting heavier punctuation marks (? : ; !), I prefer to place the equivalent of a thin space before them (this used to be standard typesetting practice and I think we are the poorer for losing it). With a kerning editor, I can just add those spaces automatically and tailor them to specific letter combinations. Optical kerning won't do this, and it's not supposed to.

    When it comes to kerning of large amounts of text, I use the font's metrics, because you would hope that at least some (if not quite a few) of these kerns have been checked by the font designer. Optical kerning, being calculated automatically, doesn't have this human touch and so can go wrong. It's essentially the same as using Kernus or automatic kerning in a font editor. I would happily use it if the font had no kerning or if the font had very bad kerning (though I'd be unlikely to use such a font anyway). I would also maybe use it in small pieces of text if it gave clearly superior results (eg, in a headline), but I wouldn't turn it on for a whole book and trust to it. I generally kern important pieces (eg, book titles and the like) manually.

    I look at it like this: At worst, the font designer used automatic kerning and thus it's going to be comparable to ID's optical kerning. At best, the font designer spent a lot of time and sweat getting the kerns just right, so why would I throw that away and trust to an automatic kern generator?

    I wouldn't advise kerning the font itself unless you're certain the files will never be reset or sent out of house. Any time you customise a font, you run the risk of text reflow when that font is not available. As well, unless you using FontLab, you might lose some of the info in the font by opening it, and some licences don't let you edit the fonts anyway. An inbuilt kerning editor is my preference.

    I know some people would like to see a tracking editor too. This would be nice, but because I use styles consistently, I can get by quite happily without one.
    Dominic_Hurley@adobeforums.com Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    > I know some people would like to see a tracking editor too.

    What would this do?
    Guy_Smiley@adobeforums.com Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    > A kerning editor is not supposed to take the place of metrics or even
    optical kerning. You don't need to come up with a list of the most common
    kerns at all


    Yes, I don't want to kern the whole font, just the parts that are not
    already kerned to my liking. I'm not too picky...I've run into problems of
    this sort with exactly one other font in the last 10 or so years. It's just
    that the kern metrics in Bembo are way too tight, particularly with
    punctuation-space combinations. The result is that sentence endings look
    like the space is missing. Nevertheless, if I were to use this plugin, I
    would want to enter all the possible kern pairs I would ever want to tweak,
    in any font, because the same master doent is used for all your fonts.
    Maybe I want to tweak WA in Bembo, but in Minion I'll want to tweak Fe. Next
    year I may want to play with Vo in Adobe Caslon. The point is, I don't know
    now what I'll want to play with in the future, so it would be nice if the
    master doent already had the most common ones typed in, not because I
    don't want to type a few hundred characters, but because I don't know what
    those few hundred characters are, or at least I don't want to take the time
    to think them up, especially when someone has undoubtedly done it already.
    The way it works presently, you add a font to a package, start kerning, and
    then you find out the pair you want to kern isn't there. So you have to
    abandon what you're doing, go back to the master, add the pair, and then
    start over. Do that two or three times and you start to say to yourself
    "There must be a list of these somewhere; wouldn't it be cool if they were
    already in the master...".

    The important thing to understand about this is that I'm not interested in
    someone else's kerning, just in someone else's kern *pairs*. The master
    doent contains unkerned pairs. Every time you add a font to a package, it
    gives you whatever pairs are in the master doent and lets you kern some
    or all of them.

     
    will never be reset or sent out of house.


    I don't know much about font editing, but if I were to edit Bembo, I think I
    would save it under a new name so as to avoid problems like these. Like I
    said, though, I don't know much about this yet. Maybe you can't save to a
    new name?

     


    Knowbody has one of these too, called "Cool Tracking"
    (http://www.knowbody.dk/productbasement/index.asp?language=2). I'm not sure
    what it does that I couldn't pretty easily achieve via styles, but then I
    didn't really look at it.

    Ken Benson


    Kenneth_Benson@adobeforums.com Guest

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    Default Re: Kerning table edit

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    Dominic_Hurley@adobeforums.com Guest
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    <com> wrote in message
    news:la2eafNXanI... 


    Yes, I think that's the problem. And maybe it's because I didn't explain
    well enough the way the plugin works.

    There is one master doent. It contains pairs, not kerned to 0, but
    unkerned. Pure characters with no formatting whatsoever (well, okay, they do
    have formatting, but the formatting is irrelevant).

    Packages pull up the characters from the master doent and allow you to
    kern them. When you save, you're saving kerned character pairs in a package,
    not in the master doent. The master doent only gets saved when you
    open it, not when you open a package.

    My problem is that once I get a package going, it has *only* the pairs that
    I initially entered into the master doent. I have to keep on abandoning
    the package, adding a new pair to the master doent, and then starting the
    package over again. Unkerned pairs in the package do not take a 0 kern. They
    just use the metrics from the font.

    It's not that I want to kern all the most common kern pairs. It's just that
    I want them all available.

    Your suggestion to take them from an AFM is a good idea. I took a look at
    one (never having peeked inside an AFM before). This would work in that it
    lists the pairs...of course I would have to translate "V Atilde" into "VĂ",
    so I couldn't just dump them into the master doent.

    Ken Benson


    Kenneth_Benson@adobeforums.com Guest

  18. #18

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    Ah, I see. Yes, that is a bit more bersome (and a backward way of having to do things). If you wanted, I could e-mail you a txt file of the kerns from Minion Pro, which is probably pretty extensive. You could then export existing kerns from Ventura, and they appear as the characters, not "V ATilde". But Ventura doesn't handle Unicode, so it probably drops them. You'd have to do a wildcard search and delete all the numerical values, but it might be a better base than using the afm. The pairs take the format "[pair] = [+/- value]". For example:

    AW = -9.7
    Y} = 0.3
    ,’ = -13.8
    Dominic_Hurley@adobeforums.com Guest

  19. #19

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    Sure, thanks, Dominic.

    kbenson at pegtype dot com

    Ken Benson


    Kenneth_Benson@adobeforums.com Guest

  20. #20

    Default Re: Kerning table edit

    The only problem with Cool Kern is that it doesn't work with the ME version of InDesign.... grrhhh...

    I really don't understand why there isn't a kerning editor in InDesign. Of course, not to say that Quark's was so great -- you couldn't kern across a roman and italic font to avoid an italic f colliding with a roman ).

    I understand the idea of the optical kerning, but it isn't really the solution. A font such as Minion has already been kerned very well indeed and to simply move the quote marks a bit around punctuation really doesn't need the expense and hassle of the using an external font editor.

    Maybe in CS3 (unless they change the name again)?
    Raphael_Freeman@adobeforums.com Guest

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