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Small text at 72 ppi - Adobe Photoshop 7, CS, CS2 & CS3

I'm using PS 6.0, and I have a set of graphics with text on them that I need to place online. The graphics are about 250 x 250, and I'm primarily using Times New Roman and Calisto in font sizes ranging from 8 points to 12 points. Setting the anti-aliasing to strong seems to work best for the larger fonts and crisp for the smaller fonts, but the end result still leaves a lot to be desired - even before jumping to Image Ready, which really seems to hate small text unless I set the quality to high or maximum. ...

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  1. #1

    Default Small text at 72 ppi

    I'm using PS 6.0, and I have a set of graphics with text on them that I need to place online. The graphics are about 250 x 250, and I'm primarily using Times New Roman and Calisto in font sizes ranging from 8 points to 12 points. Setting the anti-aliasing to strong seems to work best for the larger fonts and crisp for the smaller fonts, but the end result still leaves a lot to be desired - even before jumping to Image Ready, which really seems to hate small text unless I set the quality to high or maximum. No matter what I've tried (various filters, scaling down the text from the higher resolution print graphics, creating a second layer of text underneath at a lower opacity for an anti-aliasing effect), I'm still fighting to find a medium between blurry and jagged.

    Is there a plug-in or a set of fonts designed for such a small size at this resolution?

    Is there any other way to make text this small attractive and legible?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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    G._Blanston@adobeforums.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Small text at 72 ppi

    Use either super-hinted fonts like Verdana which are designed to degrade gracefully at small sizes, or use pixel fonts like those at Atomic Media <http://www.atomicmedia.net/> (no affiliation).

    You're only going to be able to get so small with "normal" fonts before they start looking ugly. This is because at small sizes, there simply aren't enough pixels to render the glyph correctly.

    Super-hinted fonts get around this by making sure that when the font gets small, the pixels that are turned on are chosen to make the letterform look as correct as possible. Pixel fonts get around it by just choosing which pixels get turned on in the first place, but they are of fixed size and can't be scaled.

    You will have a hard time getting serifed fonts like TNR or Calisto to look good on the web because the fine details of the serifs will get lost at relatively large sizes. That is why sans serif fonts are generally considered more legible at web resolution. If you want to use such fonts, you'll have to play around with the size and anti-alias just as you've been doing and realize that you just won't be able to get it that small.

    Is there any other way to make text this small attractive and legible?




    Typographically speaking, the general rule is the smaller the type, the looser you "track" it, the bigger the type, the tighter you track it.

    HTH,

    Gene

    PS: You might have an easier time doing web graphics if you set your unit preference to "pixels" instead of "points".
    Gene_Trujillo@adobeforums.com Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Small text at 72 ppi

    Thanks for your help. I took a look at Atomic Media, and their pixel fonts should do the trick for making the really small stuff readable.

    In the 12 to 18 point range, the main problem I've been having isn't with legibility, but that the curves in letters like O's are overly pixelated and the weight or thickness is different from one character to the next. I played around with Verdana like you suggested, and it is smoother and more consistent than any of the other fonts I've tried, but I'm not sure if has the look that I'm hoping for. Would you happen to know of any other typical fonts that are super-hinted?
    G._Blanston@adobeforums.com Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Small text at 72 ppi



    Would you happen to know of any other typical fonts that are super-hinted?




    Another one you probably already have is Georgia, which like Verdana was designed by Matthew Carter.

    I should also mention Adobe's Minion Web and Myriad Web. Not quite as common, but I think they were packaged with a browser once upon a time.
    Gene_Trujillo@adobeforums.com Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Small text at 72 ppi

    Thanks again, Gene.
    G._Blanston@adobeforums.com Guest

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