[texhax] Justification through glyph variants

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Mon Dec 5 01:16:19 CET 2011

On 2011-12-03 at 09:11:13 +0000, Philip TAYLOR wrote:

 > Reinhard Kotucha wrote:
 > > It's a matter of fact that Thành's microtypographic extensions
 > > are a vast improvement.
 > >
 > > However, there is no way to interpolate between two glyphs of the
 > > same character.
 > That is a very strong statement, Reinhard.  Just because software
 > does not currently exist to accomplish this task does not mean that
 > there is no way to accomplish it.  Morphing between two images has
 > long been possible, John Sauter shewed how to interpolate between
 > two design sizes in MetaFont, and Adobe's "multiple masters fonts"
 > were intended to allow exactly the sort of interpolation we are
 > discussing.  Let us not rule out this solution just because it does
 > not feature in current mainstream software.

In both, MetaFont and Adobe's multiple masters fonts, you need
external programs in order to create instances.  In MM fonts
coordinate pairs are replaced by functions and I suppose that Sauter
did something similar.  

If you want to do something like that with TeX, you need a variant of
TeX which makes glyph outlines accessible, and this is only LuaTeX
ATM.  You still can't do the same as MM fonts or MetaFont because the
fonts only provide the outlines and not the instructions needed to
create other instances.  However, you can at least move coordinate
 > > Another problem is that pdfTeX doesn't support Unicode.  Hence,
 > > even if a font provides "wide letters", an enormous amount of
 > > work is required to make them accessible.

 > Is it not the case that some, if not all, of Thành's microtypographic
 > work has now found its way into XeTeX (either production or beta) ?

Only protrusion.  This only requires a change in TeX's paragraph
formatting routine.  Font expansion is done by changing PDF's
TextMatrix, but XeTeX doesn't produce PDF.  It just emits character
codes.  I don't expect a solution soon.

 > > I absolutely agree with Arno.  I'm convinced that if there is a
 > > reasonable solution at all, it's definitely LuaTeX.
 > LuaTeX is certainly one approach; I am unconvinced that it is
 > necessarily the only one.

It's the most reasonable one.  It's the only one which makes TeX's
internals accessible.


Reinhard Kotucha                                      Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                              mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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