Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

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wickedfable
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Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:12 am

Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby wickedfable » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:59 am

Hello everyone,

I recently created a new font and, with the creation of the font, my attention was brought toward whether or not Inkscape kerned text and/or used ligatures built into the font. I am a freelance letterer - I letter comic books - and I have started doing all of my work in Inkscape. As each project I work on requires the entry of a large amount of text, kerning and ligatures in a font are very important features to me. Firstly, just to get it out of the way, if you do not know what kerning is: http://grab.by/2cx6 That's without kerning and this is with kerning: http://grab.by/2cxk Basically, kerning is the amount of space between letter pairs. It eliminates large gaps of whitespace between letters allowing a font to be displayed in a more aesthetically pleasing manner. Secondly, if you ever typed "1/2" in a word processor and it was changed into the half-sign, that's what a ligature is. It replaces specific groups of characters with another character.

I did some research and it seemed that a lot of people were wondering about the same thing as me: does Inkscape support kerning and ligatures? Or, at least, is there some way to get those features into Inkscape such as through an extension? I tried using my font which, under OpenOffice Writer, seems to work just fine and has all of the kerning and ligature features I implemented into it, but Inkscape doesn't seem to do this. From various threads around the web, this never seems to get answered. I do remember one user posting that Inkscape does not need these features because it is not a word processor, however Illustrator has these features so it seems natural that Inkscape would have them, as well.

Does anyone know if there is a way to implement kerning and ligatures into Inkscape? It would make me very happy if anyone knew how or if this is a feature that is going to be implemented soon.

Thank you,
-Daniel

hjalle
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 8:42 pm

Re: Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby hjalle » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:45 am

Inkscape Tutorial by heathenx: Manual Text Kerning
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vr97ze75Ww
Inkscape Text Tricks
http://www.ffnn.nl/pages/articles/media/inkscape-text-tricks.php

"Manually kerning

Where the baseline affects the relative vertical position of each character, kerning is the process of adjusting the horizontal position of each character in a text object. Kerning is sometimes called letterspacing. You can use kerning to create the illusion of overlapping characters, often referred to as a ligature.

In Inkscape, manual kerning can be done this way:

1. Select the character(s) you want to shift left- or rightwards
2. Use the key combination Alt + Left Arrow and Alt + Right Arrow to shift the selection
3. Deselect the text object to view the end result
"

Text stolen from the: Inkscape Text Tricks (see the url)

If you want to export it as a PDF, do some experiment first.
Bug in 0,46
https://bugs.launchpad.net/inkscape/+bug/385303
https://bugs.launchpad.net/inkscape/+bug/218045

It's fixed in 0,47. No experiences of my one.

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wickedfable
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:12 am

Re: Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby wickedfable » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:57 am

Hi hjalle,

I actually am aware of the manual kerning feature of Inkscape. Thanks for giving me those links, though. However, as I said in my original post, I letter comics which means a lot of text has to be inputted into each page of every project I work on. Thus, manual kerning is not exactly a great option. I am mostly looking for something in Inkscape that allows me to implement the kerning and ligature feature that is built-in to a font. Manual kerning also doesn't solve the ligature problem as it requires more work than simply moving "1/2" together to form this "½" ligature.

Do you happen to know of any solutions that can implement these features into Inkscape?

-Daniel

EDIT: Just saw your PDF comment. I typically save files as .EPS or .TIFF when finished with a project so PDF wouldn't be much of a concern except occasionally.

hjalle
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 8:42 pm

Re: Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby hjalle » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:08 am

Sorry, I don't know.
I think this problem is a typical Open Source fix: almost as it should be.
:(

Slow Dog
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:51 pm

Re: Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby Slow Dog » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:10 pm

wickedfable wrote:I am mostly looking for something in Inkscape that allows me to implement the kerning and ligature feature that is built-in to a font.


Inkscape's kerning is buggy. See my previous investigation here:
http://www.inkscapeforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=3153
which concludes that Inkscape kerns lower case text, but not capitals.

I haven't tested ligatures.

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wickedfable
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:12 am

Re: Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby wickedfable » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:35 am

Hrm, in my experience Inkscape doesn't kern at all including lower case letters. Here is my font with kerning in OpenOffice Writer: http://grab.by/2dBa and the same font at the same point size in Inkscape: http://grab.by/2dBo Both are lower case "a" and "w" (it is a comic font so the lowercase set were purposely made to be an extra set of upper-case letters). I did notice that in my font, before I even kerned the pairs, some of the letters appeared to have kerning but it was actually only because the sidebearings (edges of each character) were set too far in. It's possibly that your conclusion came about as a result of that since sidebearings and kerning are set manually in the creation of the font and kerning 'overrides' sidebearings when it comes to letterspace.

Taking the example of the word, "foo" it is possible that the letter "f" in that font had a sidebearing that was very close to body of the letter which allowed the "f-o" pair to appear to be kerned, when in actuality, it was not. The capital "V-A" pair seems to possibly enforce this. The V could have had a sidebearing that stops outside of the "V" completely. If it's kerning was set during the creation of the font, then that accounts for why it is kerned in GIMP. Basically, it seems like Inkscape does not use the kerning built-in to fonts at all.

I may be over thinking it, though, haha. But it seems like this might be the case with letters appearing to be kerned in Inkscape only because they have sidebearings that are close to the body of the letter.

-Daniel

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RobA
Posts: 335
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 1:22 am

Re: Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby RobA » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:00 am

I just saw this: http://www.linuxfund.org/projects/inkscape/ which had made its funding!

The goal is "This project will improve Inkscape's usability by enhancing its text attributes tool to allow for precise adjustments to text kerning, line spacing, letter spacing and text rotation"

Not sure if this will meet your need or not, but thought you might want to know.

-Rob A>

Qchufito

Re: Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby Qchufito » Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:46 pm

then definitely can not do a good kerning with inkskape?

RockyMM
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:09 am

Re: Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby RockyMM » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:11 am

So, what is the status of automatic kerning in Inkscape?

dvlierop
Posts: 139
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2007 4:25 am

Re: Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby dvlierop » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:06 pm

For everyone wondering what the status of this is: Tavmjong Bah has implemented the font variants in Inkscape, see http://tavmjong.free.fr/blog/?p=1442. This will be available in the upcoming v0.92, but if you're impatient then you can try the development builds.

Moini
Posts: 3333
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:44 am

Re: Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby Moini » Fri Oct 21, 2016 5:17 am

Diederik, I've tried them out in my trunk version from the ppa, but wasn't able to get anything else than a change in font size as a result. Do you happen to know if this is related to an old pango version? The release notes mention this, but it doesn't tell you which pango version would be required to make it work.
Something doesn't work? - Keeping an eye on the status bar can save you a lot of time!

Inkscape FAQ - Learning Resources - Website with tutorials (German and English)

dvlierop
Posts: 139
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2007 4:25 am

Re: Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby dvlierop » Fri Oct 21, 2016 5:40 am

Hi Moini, yes, that might be related to the pango version you're using. Tav mentioned that some changes were made to the Pango libs, and that appears to have happened relatively recently. But it could also be related to the font you're using maybe?

Moini
Posts: 3333
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:44 am

Re: Kerning and Ligatures in Inkscape

Postby Moini » Fri Oct 21, 2016 6:27 am

Aaaah - thank you, Diederik! Did a web search for fonts that support ligatures and Installed Garamond, and that one works (a bit, the numbers don't change).

But maybe it shouldn't do anything for the other fonts... It's a bit confusing when it allows you to change a setting (which led me to believe that it's available), then after applying, things are greyed out and you can't reset and weird things happen...

It's cool to see that it also works for spans, so you don't *have* to have a ligature everywhere, only where you want it to be :D
(for anyone who wants to know: Using ligpango-1.0.0 - that version appears to work :) )
Something doesn't work? - Keeping an eye on the status bar can save you a lot of time!

Inkscape FAQ - Learning Resources - Website with tutorials (German and English)


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