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Fonts & Crashes with Titler

Aug 18, 2009 8:07 AM

Tags: #photoshop #fonts #premiere #titler_crash #ps_crash

Fonts are a subject that comes up often. When things work fine, a user will often ignore them. When something goes wrong, or a font is not available in a program, the search for answers begins.


Where are the fonts?


Fonts can be in at least two places:


1.) installed on the system, and located in the C:\Windows\Fonts folder


2.) in separate folders, often, though not always, associated with particular programs


With Adobe fonts, they are now most often OTF fonts (Open Type Fonts), and most Adobe programs, that have fonts, will just install them into C:\Windows\Fonts folder. You will usually not see them elsewhere, i.e. they will not appear in any other folder, as they were installed on the system, when the program was installed. If, when you open Control Panel>Fonts, and see any OTF fonts, these likely came from your Adobe programs. This indicates that they are in C:\Windows\Fonts and are installed on the system. In the past, Adobe programs would locate the Fonts in the program’s folder structure, and would often install some/all onto the system. This became a bit confusing, if one had many Adobe programs, as each program could have separate folders of fonts - some installed, and some just residing on the system. Back then, computers were a lot slower, with fewer resources. Having any more fonts installed, than was necessary slowed things to a crawl. Adobe refrained from automatically installing all the fonts provided with the programs. Now, computers, in general, are more robust and with better handling of resources. Fonts do not strain a system, like they once did. [Too many certainly can, for even the most robust workstation, but in very general terms, most people do not have enough fonts to worry much about.this] Adobe also found that many people were purchasing suites of their programs, so having the same fonts in separate folders for, say Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Acrobat, Premiere and Encore was a waste of HDD space. Now, most included Adobe OTF’s are installed, and do not appear elsewhere - usually.


With some Adobe programs, there is often additional Functional Content somewhere on the installation DVD set, often in folder named something like "Goodies." This Functional Content can be things like 3rd party plug-ins (some totally free, and some in demo mode), additional Menus, Title Templates, and fonts. In the case of these "bonus" fonts, you need to copy over their folder from the installation DVD to the location of choice. Note: doing this will NOT install these fonts on the system. One would use Control Panel>Fonts to navigate to that folder to do this install. Control Panel>Fonts is the mechanism for getting fonts into, or out of the system. One can use it to remove installed fonts in two ways: uninstall the font, but leave the file on the system, or uninstall the font and remove the file from the system. The differences are obvious.

Usually, fonts are not thought about much, other than trying to pick the right one for a Title, or to use on a Menu. So long as one finds them when necessary, they are otherwise out of sight and out of mind. Then something happens. Titler crashes, or will not launch.


What has happened? Well, Titler, in both PrE and PrPro, is really a sub-app. nestled within the editing program. Unlike all other Adobe (and other software companies’) programs, that use fonts, it is VERY sensitive to any problem with a font that is installed on one’s system. Remember, those are the ones in C:\Windows\Fonts, that have been installed. When Titler starts, it surveys all installed fonts, not just the ones that you are likely to use - all of them. If one is corrupt, it can crash Titler in an instant. This most often happens when the sub-app. loads, and before it is even used. Some fonts, just do not work with Titler. Deja Vu, loaded by SunMicro Systems’ Open Office is one of these. Some do not display in Titler. This is a function of a poorly formed font, and these will usually not crash Titler, but just display boxes, or other cryptic symbols.

Now, there are a couple of ways to address corrupt fonts. This is only for the fonts that are corrupt. For the ones that will crash Titler, that are not corrupt, there is a method for them too, and it will appear at the end of this article.


1.) I use Extensis FontDoctor to locate, repair/remove corrupt fonts. For me, it’s part of my Extensis Suitcase suite. I use Suitcase to dynamically manage all of my fonts, so I only need a few hundred installed at one time, but still have access to over 12,000 residing on my system, but not installed. This font repair utility can scan the entire HDD structure, looking for any and all font files. I have the majority of my uninstalled fonts in a folder hierarchy below a main folder, Fonts. I have these grouped by type, PS Fonts, TT Fonts, OTF Fonts, etc. Of course, I also have my installed fonts in C:\Windows\Fonts.


There is a freeware program, FontFrenzy, that will also manage fonts, and has a repair utility in it, as well. I have not used this program, but it comes highly recommended. Note: there are other utilities, some freeware, and some for-pay. I have not used any current ones, so I cannot comment on them. Google will be your friend, as will recs. for various fora.


For problems with Titler, one is ONLY concerned with the fonts that are installed on the system, i.e. those in C:\Windows\Fonts. Now, I run FontDoctor on my entire system, as I do not want to dynamically install a font for a job, and have it crash Titler. I want clean, well-formed fonts only in any folder where I am likely to store my fonts.


2.) There is also a manual way to find corrupt fonts, but it takes some time, and one should exercise caution. First, there are fonts, and then there are fonts. Some fonts are "system fonts," and Windows relies on these being installed to run. You will want to make sure to NOT include these in this next operation. Then, there are "program fonts." These are fonts that are necessary for certain programs to run. They are almost as important as are the "system fonts." I advise one to exclude these from the next operation too. Unfortunately, there is not really any sign on these "special" fonts, when one is viewing C:\Windows\Fonts. One just has to poke around and try to decide which fonts are "system fonts," which fonts are "program fonts," and which are plain old fonts. It’s the latter that we want to address now. We will use the "rule of halves." I won’t explain that now, but you’ll see what I’m talking about in just a moment. In some ways, this is like Calculus, but with fonts.


To do this next operation, we will remove one half of the regular fonts in C:\Windows\Fonts. I recommend that anyone doing this first makes a copy of their C:\Windows\Fonts to a safe place. If we are careful to NOT remove "system," or "program" fonts, one of two things should happen:


1.) Titler will open and run fine. Then we know that our corrupt font(s) is/are in that half that we removed. More on tracking down the corrupt font(s) in a moment.


2.) Titler will crash, so we know that we have not yet removed ALL corrupt fonts. There could be a bad one in the group that we did remove, so we do not know if those are clean yet.


With #1 above, we would then replace one half, of the one half that we initially removed and test Titler again. If it still runs fine, then we go with one half of the remaining fonts. We do this, until we get the crash. Then we know that somewhere in that last batch is at least one corrupt font. We do the halves again, first removing one half of that last batch and testing. We then zero in, by using the "rule of halves." Repeat, until we have isolated any/all fonts that are corrupt.


With #2 above, we continue removing half of the remaining fonts, until Titler runs, and then using the "rule of halves," replace until it crashes. We narrow down that batch of fonts, until we have isolated the corrupt font(s).


As you can see, this is tedious work, and one has to remember to step around all "system fonts," and should stay clear of all "program fonts." Obviously, the hope is that one, of either sets, is NOT corrupt. Usually, if one of these is, the OS, or the program, that relies on them, will have already given you an error message. We will assume that all of these are good.


It should also be clear why I chose to purchase FontDoctor to do the "heavy-lifting" for me. Depending on the number of installed fonts, this manual process could easily take a full day. Also, it’s highly repetitious and if one get interrupted, they could easily forget which "half" they are now dealing with.


After one has isolated all corrupt fonts (remember, there can be more than one), it’s best to uninstall that/those font(s). Repair might be possible with a utility, but for now, we just want to get it/them out of C:\Windows\Fonts, so we can run Titler.


Now, this does not address those "problem fonts," like Deja Vu. The only way to track them down is to first look to see which program installed them, or again, apply the "rule of halves." This is not at all easy, as one usually has to look in the particular programs’ documentation to see if there is a font list - often there is not. Various fora will often yield clues as to which fonts cause problems for Titler. I picked up on Deja Vu from a post by Jeff Bellune in the PrPro CS4 forum. He had stumbled upon it after he installed Open Office and Titler always crashed afterwards. He tried repairing any corrupt fonts, but none were. He then had to systematically remove all new fonts (installed with Open Office), until he hit on Deja Vu. There could be hundreds, or even thousands of "problem fonts" out there. When installing any program, that also installs any fonts, or when installing fonts from any source, one should immediately check Titler to see how it behaves. Because of its high sensitivity to installed fonts, it will act like the canary in the coal mine, warning of a lack of oxygen and a presence of deadly gasses.



  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 2, 2012 9:13 PM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    I find if all else fails, this is usally the problem: There is a corrupt file in docuements/adobe/premiere pro/5.5/styles called workingset... Delete that and then start Premiere back up. Things should work.

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