How to Deal With Overkerned Glyphs

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neveragain
Posts: 5
Joined: 25 Oct 2022

How to Deal With Overkerned Glyphs

Post by neveragain »

So this plugin works excellently for me when kerning letters, numbers and such (so far that I can tell based on limited experience), but I run into issues with punctuation, which gets overkerned very easily, e.g. I want to kern the upper quotes pretty aggressively into the A, but if I do so, it leads to upper quotes being kerned more than half the width of the period for example, which I find problematic. Actually, in the screenshot, it looks fine, I guess, but in turn, the other punctuation gets kerned overly tight (see endash in screenshot).

What would be the best way to deal with this? How can I get KO to kern inter-punctuation more loosely?

Thanks in advance!
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SCarewe
Posts: 73
Joined: 23 Apr 2021

Re: How to Deal With Overkerned Glyphs

Post by SCarewe »

What happens if you add a model for, for example, hyphen/quoteright?
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Tim Ahrens
Site Admin
Posts: 284
Joined: 11 Jul 2019

Re: How to Deal With Overkerned Glyphs

Post by Tim Ahrens »

neveragain wrote: 25 Oct 2022 it leads to upper quotes being kerned more than half the width of the period for example, which I find problematic.
Really? Yes, that’s problematic, and this is exactly why Kern On has a limit of (minus) half the smaller advance width (of the two glyphs). That applies only to autokerned pairs. For models or independent pairs you can set tighter values.

If you really get autokerning that is tighter than half the period then something must be going wrong, and it would be great if you could send the .glyphs file so I can investigate.
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Tim Ahrens
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Posts: 284
Joined: 11 Jul 2019

Re: How to Deal With Overkerned Glyphs

Post by Tim Ahrens »

More generally, as SCarewe mentioned, if any autokerning is not according to your taste, simply try setting a model.

You have probably spaced the punctuation more loosely than the letters. In that case, you need to let Kern On know by setting “special spacing” for the punctuation (don’t forget to do this for both sidebearings).
neveragain
Posts: 5
Joined: 25 Oct 2022

Re: How to Deal With Overkerned Glyphs

Post by neveragain »

Thank you for your answers!
As suggested, I added some models (which broke other models), now everything has loosened up somewhat. But period to quotes e.g. are still maxed out in kerning. You are of course right, KO does not exceed 50 % of the width as kerning value, I don’t know where I got that from.
I’m not completely happy with how this works, I guess it is my lack of knowledge of how KO works. Everytime I activate it I get different results and I don’t understand why.
The Special Spacing feature seems perfect in theory, I mean KO groups the glyphs correctly from the get-go as far as I see it. But in practice, it’s so opaque that I feel like I have no control over what the Special Spacing Groups do. When I alter the Model for -* it influences how KO handles the Model for –3 which I thought were ok and I can’t follow the reasoning.

I think many of these uncertainties could be remedied by having a documentation / handbook of some sort that lets you search for the things you explained in the (very helpful!) videos in greater detail.
And I understand that you made KO to be a tool that lets us kern a whole font with very few clicks without the need to go through a whole form, entering values or even scripting ourselves. But I feel type designers want more control than that, at least I do. I WANT to know, which values KO adds when using Special Spacing, I WANT to be able to add inconsistencies in the font (ironic)!
KO is incredibly smart and powerful, but just not smart enough to read my mind :D

Some of my struggle might be caused by my lack of type design experience, too and I guess I’ll get more comfortable when I use KO more, but it could definitely be less opaque.

This turned into a real rant, I hope my feedback is still useful :-/
As far as I can tell, this is the most time- (and sanity, eye-balls etc.) saving plugin for Glyphs and I want to use it, that’s why I wish the experience was a bit smoother.
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