Font Creator & additional "swashy" characters

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4 months 2 weeks ago #585 by LindeeG
I've created all the "standard" characters in a font that has extra "fancy" characters that I have yet to digitize.

1. Is there some preferred or recommended way of keeping them with the font?
2. Would I do that with a user-refined letter?
3. And what happens to a font like that when used in Hatch? Would they be on the Insert Character list?

Previously I've had to create the special characters as an entirely separate font, which makes them a pain to use.

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4 months 2 weeks ago #586 by Pascale R.
Hi Lindee,
You are creating ESA files, correct?

Depending on how many swashy characters you have, you can assign them to numbers (if your font doesn't already have numbers) or to specialty characters (~!@#$%^ etc) that way all the characters are in the same esa font.

Hatch will be able to use the esa fonts that you create in Wilcom e4. I think this is true unless you used a special feature within e4 (with AS DIGITIZED) that Hatch does not have. For example, if you created a font using the Satin Raised fill, I don't think it would work in Hatch or e3 & lower (since I don't believe they have a satin raised fill). <<<< I COULD BE WRONG HERE >>>

I don't think User Refined letters will work for you in this case. For instance, if you had a user refined "e" with a swash, when you typed "Lindee" and checked the "Use saved version", both "e"s would have the swash -- probably not what you had in mind.

I can't remember if Hatch has the "insert character" (but it makes sense they would ??). Just in case they don't -- here's an idea. Since I can't remember all the characters for specialty letters, I created a file of the Fancy Monogram and wrote down the corresponding characters (it sits on bulletin board right above my computer for fast visibility). So far, it's been nice that the Wilcom esa font creators I've purchased from use the same format for all-upper-case monograms. You could create such a file and save as PDF for your customers to refer to.

In this example, you see that the "used saved version" is checked ... that's because I made slight changes to some of the curves to some of the letters ... it is not for using a different character (ie left letters)


I hope that helps!
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4 months 2 weeks ago #588 by LindeeG
Thanks Pascale that does help clarify some things.

Yes, I'm creating an ESA font. I haven't actually gotten to the part of making it into font, I've just digitized the characters and test sewn them.

I have a lot of fonts (100s) I've created in my old software over the past 25 years and wanted to redo some of my favorites to use in both Hatch and e4. Still trying to sort out the best process as e4 is very different from Punto. I'm normally not a big fan of autodigitizing/converting TTF although some of my trials using it turned out surprisingly good. I might have to rethink that and not be so snobbish about using tools that make life easier.

This morning I tried the Settings > Convert TrueType with extended characters to see what happens. I typically digitize all the available keyboard characters in a set so I guess I'd have no extras for the "Insert Character" option. I'm still not clear how you actually create those if you're not doing the extended character thing.

Hatch does have an "insert character" feature and it has "3D satin." Is that what you mean by "raised satin"?

Great tip on the monograms!

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4 months 2 weeks ago #589 by Pascale R.

LindeeG wrote:
Hatch does have an "insert character" feature and it has "3D satin." Is that what you mean by "raised satin"?


I suspect raised satin & 3D satin are the same thing ... I've attached a screenshot of what the raised satin tool in e4 looks like and what the finished satin looks like .. is that what it looks like in Hatch?

You've done all the hard part if you've already digitized the letters. Creating the actual esa file/font is easy! Here are the steps I do to create an esa file.

If it is a TTF, I use Corel to type the alphabet in the size I want it digitized, making sure the
baselines are correctly positioned.

In this example, my template is a purchased BX file that I am manually redigitizing. The pink letters are the ones I have already completed and saved in the esa file. I create letters as I need them. I like to have the ability to resize, use the underlay of my choice, density, pull comp etc.

If using CLOSEST JOIN (CJ) manually digitize the letter (do not use underlay --- underlay will be applied by Wilcom user). And, avoid using many run objects. If using AS DIGITIZED (AD), then you would create letter exactly as finished product, using the appropriate pathing, all the variables you want; density, underlay, etc.

Select all objects of your letter and group them (it makes it easier for me to find it later in the Color Object list if I need to edit). Go to the Object menu & select Create Letter. If it is a new alphabet, use CREATE, name it and be sure to assign it CJ or AD. Then, it's simply a matter of typing in the letter and its size (the size needs to be consistent throughout the entire alphabet), then it will ask you to provide the Start & reference line. You will do this for each letter.

And that's it :)

Some TTF do well with auto-conversion, but sometimes there will be something that doesn't look right. If it takes a lot of fiddling with nodes etc to change it (and/or many letters are goofy), I will manually create esa file, again, just digitizing the letters as needed.

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4 months 2 weeks ago #590 by Pascale R.
Oh!!! I just thought of something else. Do you know how to change colors of letters within one text object? You can do the same thing & change the font of a letter!

Since you've said you typically digitize all the characters of an alphabet and don't have any additional 'characters' to save your extra swashes, you could do this:

Create a second esa for the swashes (as you suspected).

In Wilcom, you can EASILY swap fonts within a TEXT OBJECT, like this (sorry, I don't have an esa font with swashes to demonstrate)



I wish I could do video to show this :(
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4 months 2 weeks ago #591 by LindeeG
Yes, 3D satin is the same.

I'm still getting the hang of e4 after using Hatch for a little over a year. I got frustrated that my old software wasn't being upgraded comparable to its competitors. Also, as a Mac user (some might say a Mac bigot…) it was a hard switch for me.

I did the same thing with laying out the font only I did it Illustrator. I also used Illustrator to create the swashy characters that are in the OTF set; haven't digitized those yet. I'll tackle Corel later. I have way more fonts installed on my Mac than in Windows. Seems silly to duplicate.

I've also done that same font (Grandma's Garden), not sure if I ever got it BX'd. Those BXing steps are tedious and boring plus you really need to make multiple sizes and adjust the stitch attributes accordingly. The font I just did is for a customer who needs it as a BX so I saved a version that has all the UL added. It really needed to have a little extra column width applied to sew it at the smaller sizes. I figured it would be a good excuse for me to learn the Font Creator. There is a short video on how to create the font on the Wilcom channel.

I'll try the trick you mentioned in the next reply about swapping in characters. I'm working on Hatch videos now so maybe I'll do one for that when I get to it.

Thanks for all the tips!

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4 months 2 weeks ago #602 by Pascale R.
Lindee! I think I was wrong when I said you wouldn't be able to use the User-Refined settings to make swashes. I think you can!!!!

Look at this: I fooled around with this esa font and made a goofy hump and a swash on the c. I just haven't figured out how to make two different versions of the letter appear in the same text object:



Brenden ... In the last example, I selected the first 'c', and selected the hump version (and hit OK), but it doesn't switch it. What am I doing wrong?
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4 months 2 weeks ago #603 by LindeeG
Pascale, that was kind of how I was thinking it might work but I haven't gotten that far to test the theory. I have another big project on my plate at the moment. I did finish the BX version - here's a screen shot. At this point I just have the basic character set.

On the subject of fonts since you seem to be very knowledgeable about them… The manual says you should under/overlap segments, which I used to do in my old software. But I only ever stitched left to right unless I significantly edited to reverse the type. I was thinking if I there are underlaps, and then you stitch right to left, won't the underneath piece end up on top?

I noticed that if you do Settings > Convert TTF it will do some overlaps but in looking at some fonts I have from John Deer, there are no overlaps on some sets; segments just butt up to each other at right angles. I guess he's counting on compensation to avoid gaps?

I have noticed that on some fonts if I manually change an exit point on a letter, the overlaps can reverse and end up on top.. In that case, it would seem that abutting segments would be a good idea if you can stabilize & compensate for pull.

That kind of layering is something I never worried about with making BX fonts since they are "frozen" into stitch files and I was the only one who ever used the original object based versions and I knew how to manipulate them. I think too many basic users expect fonts to work like a word processor with no tweaking and get frustrated if it doesn't work the way they think it should.
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4 months 2 weeks ago #608 by Pascale R.

LindeeG wrote: … The manual says you should under/overlap segments, which I used to do in my old software. But I only ever stitched left to right unless I significantly edited to reverse the type. I was thinking if I there are underlaps, and then you stitch right to left, won't the underneath piece end up on top?

I noticed that if you do Settings > Convert TTF it will do some overlaps but in looking at some fonts I have from John Deer, there are no overlaps on some sets; segments just butt up to each other at right angles. I guess he's counting on compensation to avoid gaps.


Oh goodness, I'm not so knowledgable with the fonts at all. I do like creating them though. I think the Wilcom staff will be able to answer your questions!

Convert TTF is an automatic feature, and, in my opinion, may not always generate in the best way. How it generates will also depends on how the TTF was created in the first place. I don't know if I would necessarily 'take lessons' from how a font is generated using the "convert TTF". Personally, I would study John Deer's digitizing (assuming it is manually done) over an auto-generated font.

Thinking about this .... I don't overlap segments if they butt up to each other (capped corners or straight columns, for example), but I do have pull comp setting turned on. I overlap segments if I want a segment to partially sew first (to make it appears as though it sewed below the 1st segment). I also overlap corners when creating overlap mitre corners, tucked mitre corners, or segmented tucked corners (techniques learned from taking Digitizing Theory classes from Tom Moore).

However, when using Closest Join, the system determines the sequencing and sometimes changes things around (not as I intended). Maybe Brenden can elaborate on this ????

AS DIGITIZED will sew out exactly in the sequence you digitized, so in that sense, you have more control over the final stitch out. I have only used AS DIGITIZED to make large monograms, but I haven't made very many.

I hope others will add their thoughts to this topic.

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4 months 2 weeks ago #611 by LindeeG
Pascale, I'm not sure I would use Convert TTF to make a complete ESA font but I do like to see how things work in the program,

I did a bit more experimenting last night. Two different people whom I consider experts told me about the possibility of leveraging all my old fonts by opening the EXP master. That didn't produce any results I cared to sign my name to so I had the brilliant idea of opening the original vector version in my old digitizing software, stripping off the stitches, saving as an eps file and importing it to use to redigitize.

The logic here is that the artwork is already prepared for digitizing so "all" I'd need to do is to work through it reapplying stitches object by object.

However… when I import the artwork directly into e4, the artwork is not smooth - it adds a lot of extra nodes and instead of curved points they are straight.

When I import through Corel and tell it to preserve the artwork (not convert to stitches), the artwork looks good but when I switch back to WIlcom, objects have been broken apart into lines. In the attachment, the top letters are the ones imported via CorelDraw and the bottom are a direct vector import.

I tried using both an eps file and an AI. When I look at the objects in Illustrator, they're closed shapes.

I realize I'm moving off the original topic here, maybe this should be better under a new one like "Moving Images to WIlcom from CorelDraw causes breaking apart"

Is there something I need to do to prevent CorelDraw from breaking apart objects into Lines?
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