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Can auto optical kerning be improved/adjusted?


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Hi there,

I'm so happy to see the V2 of Photo and Publisher! After testing for a bit, Photo is still a long way off for me, mostly due to the raw editing tools compared to ACR. But Publisher is getting really close to being a replacement for InDesign! The new book feature looks great! The first deal-breaker I ran into testing out this round is optical kerning. It's there now, but it does a very poor job compared to InDesign. Since this is literally the engine that makes most of the non-display type look good in my books, there is no way I can give up InDesign, until Publisher's auto-kerning algorithm can compete. Any plans to continue working on improving optical kerning? I would love to give up my Adobe subscriptions.

Thanks!
Raphael

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On 11/14/2022 at 9:10 PM, raphaelmatto said:

optical kerning. It's there now

Is it, really? I seem to have missed it, then. I only see "Auto" kerning option (similarly as in version 1), which means metrics-based kerning, and then manual settings. Optical kerning would typically be used when metrics-based kerning does not exist (or when it works poorly), and would be a useful feature (especially on macOS, where metrics based kerning does not work with legacy PostScript Type 1 fonts when using Affinity apps).

EDIT: Example of optical kerning being applied because metrics based misses kerning pairs for AV and AT (but having defined them for VA and TA).

kerning.png.405cf619a427d2ba3b0670aa0178683e.png

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Oh, nope—you're right, Lacerto. It just says "auto," no optical option. I think I got so excited that it might be there, I jumped to conclusions.

Kenmcd, true, but I love certain fonts that don't kern well out of the box, like Joanna. & for things like subtitles that are in-between display type & text, I wouldn't want to go back to the days of hand-kerning all that stuff.

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  • 3 months later...
On 11/15/2022 at 7:07 AM, lacerto said:

Is it, really? I seem to have missed it, then. I only see "Auto" kerning option (similarly as in version 1), which means metrics-based kerning, and then manual settings. Optical kerning would typically be used when metrics-based kerning does not exist (or when it works poorly), and would be a useful feature (especially on macOS, where metrics based kerning does not work with legacy PostScript Type 1 fonts when using Affinity apps).

EDIT: Example of optical kerning being applied because metrics based misses kerning pairs for AV and AT (but having defined them for VA and TA).

kerning.png.405cf619a427d2ba3b0670aa0178683e.png

I agree. I don't think it is there. With regards to text, optical kerning within InDesign tightens the text up and makes it a good starting point. The 1s in particular look odd with too much space around them. It's not realistic to go through the text for a 300 page book and adjust all the numbers. 

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11 hours ago, Tony Pritchard said:

It's not realistic to go through the text for a 300 page book and adjust all the numbers. 

Just a note (aside the topic): Find & Replace with "Regular Expressions" enable you search for all digits only (or just the 1s, or a specific glyph pattern) and assign a character style which has the wanted setting … more or less with 1-click across the entire book.

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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9 hours ago, thomaso said:

Find & Replace with "Regular Expressions" enable you search for all digits only (or just the 1s, or a specific glyph pattern) and assign a character style which has the wanted setting … more or less with 1-click across the entire book.

Considering that it is not possible to create a style involving kerning, or even copy paste a kerning value (a spacing when manually applied "saved" in between two specific characters), you could basically only apply tracking values (and things like character scaling) based on a character style. If a character style were applied universally with one click, it might produce uneven results, something like below where uppercase A, V and T, and digits in the lower paragraph have been applied a fixed "kerning" with a character style specifying a negative tracking value of -100. At some places it works reasonably well but as a universally applied formatting less so (like below especially in crammed "Ap" and "145" negative tracking value causing a gap at the beginning of line).

fixingkerning.thumb.png.f24a7d12b908dbac307b1e46190d6278.png

That might be better than nothing but poor replacement of optical kerning (below applied selectively only for digits and upper case A, V and T, similarly as above):

opticalkerning.thumb.png.ef136498e5889d23635908f10b66c2e8.png

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1 hour ago, lacerto said:

Considering that it is not possible to create a style involving kerning, or even copy paste a kerning value (a spacing when manually applied "saved" in between two specific characters), you could basically only apply tracking values (and things like character scaling) based on a character style. If a character style would be applied universally with one click it might produce uneven results, something like below where uppercase A, V and T, and digits in the lower paragraph have been applied a fixed "kerning" with a character style specifying a negative tracking value -100. At some places it works reasonably well but as a universally applied formatting less so (like below especially in crammed "Ap" and "145" negative tracking value causing a gap at the beginning of line).

fixingkerning.thumb.png.f24a7d12b908dbac307b1e46190d6278.png

That might be better than nothing but poor replacement of optical kerning (below applied selectively only for digits and upper case A, V and T, similarly as above):

opticalkerning.thumb.png.ef136498e5889d23635908f10b66c2e8.png

Thanks Thomaso and Lacerto for some suggestions and ingenious workaround solutions. I remember doing similar things in After Effects! But then I was dealing with small amounts of display. I also found that you could copy and paste between Adobe programmes and the attributes would often be kept. I'll get the text done and then give some thought as to whether certain workarounds are realistic. I am obsessive enough to go through that amount of text. 

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BTW I am writing and designing a book set in the mid 20th century. There is a great occurrence of dates starting 19. The kerning before the 1 and between the 1 and 9 is the most problematic of most kerning pairs. I kerned before and after the 1 and then copy and pasted the 19 throughout the chapter I was working on. 

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9 hours ago, Tony Pritchard said:

BTW I am writing and designing a book set in the mid 20th century. There is a great occurrence of dates starting 19. The kerning before the 1 and between the 1 and 9 is the most problematic of most kerning pairs. I kerned before and after the 1 and then copy and pasted the 19 throughout the chapter I was working on. 

What font are you using?
It may be easier to just adjust the side bearings on the 1 in the font.

 

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