23 Replies Latest reply on Dec 5, 2016 7:35 AM by rob day

    Even space inbetween characters

    Aneesh012

      I want to fix 1mm space evenly in-between characters like below e.g.

       

      A n e e s h

        • 1. Re: Even space inbetween characters
          Derek Cross Level 6

          Have a look at tracking.

           

          Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 10.00.42.png

          • 2. Re: Even space inbetween characters
            Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Hi Aneesh,

            use kerning and change values until the character pairs are one mm away to each other.
            You may position a helper rectangle 1 mm wide at the edge of one character.

             

            UsingKerningAndAHelperRectangle.png

             

            It's up to you what distance 1 mm does exactly mean. Measured at the base line? Like in my example?
            Or do you prefer something differently? Maybe the average white space between the characters?

             

            Depending on the used glyphs and typefaces a distance of 1 mm could mean something different as you may see in my example with the character pairs "ab" from Minion Pro Regular.

             

            Using the same approach on "bc" might not work due to the shape of the glyphs:

             

            2-UsingKerningAndAHelperRectangle.png

             

            3-UsingKerningAndAHelperRectangle.png

             

            It lies in your "typographical" eye, if the distance between "ab" and "bc" is felt as even or not.
            In my eyes it's not.

             

            Regards,
            Uwe

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Even space inbetween characters
              Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Hi Derek,

              using Optical for kerning and changing the tracking values is a very good start.

               

              Thanks,
              Uwe

              • 4. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Wanted to add that to my post before:

                 

                4-UsingOpticalForKerningAndChangingTracking.png

                 

                Thanks,
                Uwe

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                  Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                  I would have a complete different solutions as my co-speakers had.

                  Adjust the paragraph style in the section Justification, which can help you to adjust spaces between characters and words and equalize them without loosing the original context.

                  • 6. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    You might also consider using a mono or fixed spaced font, (i.e, the Andale Mono system font)

                     

                    Monospaced font - Wikipedia

                    • 7. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                      Obi-wan Kenobi Adobe Community Professional

                      All what you talk about is called "kerning adjustment"!

                       

                      Again a great [and terribly redoubtable!] tool written by Peter Kahrel :  Scripted custom kerning tables | Peter Kahrel

                       

                      (^/)

                      • 8. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        All what you talk about is called "kerning adjustment"!

                        You may be right that the OP is simply trying to improve the font's visual spacing, which would happen via kerning. But I read it as wanting a meterically even amount of white space between the characters. Typewriter-like-monospaced font characters have more consistent widths—an I takes a similar amount of space as an M—so the whitespace between would also be more consistent and kerning pair adjustments would be less important and probably not needed.

                         

                        Andale Mono and Eureka Mono vs. Myriad

                         

                        Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 3.15.51 PM.png

                        • 9. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                          Aneesh012 Level 1

                          Thanks to Laubender and Derek for answer,

                           

                          But I want to make this in InDesign Script

                           

                          Thanks,

                          Aneesh

                          • 10. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                            Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Aneesh012 wrote:

                            …But I want to make this in InDesign Script

                            Then you are in the wrong forum.

                            Better ask this here:

                            InDesign Scripting

                             

                            Wheras I doubt, that it's easy to do what you want by scripting since your "typographical" eye decides if the distance you are doing between two characters is sufficient and even enough to show a good result.

                             

                            Changing the kerning to "optical" can be done by script. Also changing the tracking values. What you need is a handle on the shapes of the character pairs for measuring the distance. And that could be done by converting them to outlines as duplicates and measure from there.

                             

                            But the case that I showed by screenshots with "ab" is showing another obstacle.

                            A "blind" algorithm doing this with "ab" will lead to wrong results because of the serifs in the applied font.

                            However you could be successful with a sample of a pair of rectangular shaped character pairs like "||" (two pipes) perhaps.

                             

                            Regards,
                            Uwe

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              But I want to make this in InDesign Script

                              Also every font is going to have different side bearings and kerning pair qualities, so a script would have to be font specific. If you are getting poor spacing with tracked text it might be the quality of the font—you might be getting what you pay for.

                              • 12. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                A "blind" algorithm doing this with "ab" will lead to wrong results because of the serifs in the applied font.

                                Or even with a sanserif font you would have to deal with pairs that should be handled by the font like AV. A literal 1mm spacing with a font like Avenir would obviously produce horrible results. If good kerning pairs could be handled via an algorithm or script it would be built into InDesign and not the fonts themselves.

                                 

                                Screen Shot 2016-12-04 at 7.41.09 AM.png

                                Screen Shot 2016-12-04 at 7.41.17 AM.png

                                • 13. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                                  Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Hi Rob,

                                  that's the job for kerning method "optical". Then doing the appropriate tracking.
                                  If you do not trust in "optical" I think there is no way to automate this.

                                   

                                  Regards,
                                  Uwe

                                  • 14. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                                    Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    Derek's idea that I quickly adapted—thank you very much on this, Derek!—revolves around kerning method "optical" done with two characters that in most fonts are shaped rectangular like.


                                    Then you'd measure the distance of the two characters by using their outline shapes, change tracking until a distinct distance is reached and apply that tracking value to the whole range of characters you like to distance…

                                     

                                    Changing the tracking and measuring the distance would be an iterative method that could be done by a script.

                                    The question is: Is there a point in changing tracking where InDesign's method of "optical" kerning will fail?

                                     

                                    And are the two || pipe characters the right ones to start with? (My assumption.)
                                    Also that could depend on the used font. Just tested a 12pt Arial with "optcal" kerning and a tracking value of 80.

                                    It looks like the two || pipe characters are not ideal…

                                     

                                    Regards

                                    • 15. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                                      Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      Maybe a character pair like "in" is more appropriate:

                                       

                                      Arial 12pt "optical" kerning, 110 tracking.

                                       

                                      Arial-12pt-OpticalKerning-Tracking-110.png

                                      Better than using tracking value 80, but far from perfect. I would do the "tr" combination a bit differently. Also the number.
                                      So I think automating this to a pleasing visible result is hard to impossible.

                                       

                                      Either you trust the font designer's kerning values with kerning set to "metric" or Adobe's algorithm behind "optical" kerning.

                                      If you have distrust in both methods—and there is a good reason for this—you cannot expect good results by a script without your own universal optimization algorithm. And that could keep you busy the rest of your life. ;-)

                                       

                                      Regards,
                                      Uwe

                                      • 16. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        If you do not trust in "optical" I think there is no way to automate this.

                                        But the kerning pairs and side bearings are built into the font. So  a "free" or knock off font wouldn't likely have had much effort put into the kerning pairs and classes, which would be essential unless you want to spend your life manually kerning in the page layout program. A poorly built font will have spacing problems with either the optical or metric method.

                                         

                                        typography - What are some common kerning pairs? - Graphic Design Stack Exchange

                                        • 17. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          This post by Thomas Phinney seems like a good explanation of why metric is the default and the problem with poorly crafted fonts

                                           

                                          About Adobe’s Optical Kerning - Manage ThisFont Management, Digital Asset Management and Creative Info

                                          • 18. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                                            Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                            Thanks, Rob, for the link to Thomas Phinney's excellent (as usual!) posting. The clearest explanation I've read anywhere.

                                            • 19. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                                              Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              Hi Rob,

                                              thank you for the links. Ah! Donald Knuth was mentioned…
                                              Met his name the first time in the 80s when reading "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstatter.

                                               

                                              Back to our case here:

                                              For sure you will get in trouble with method "metric" with poorly built fonts.

                                              But I think, you would not get much in trouble when using "optical" kerning with a good kerned quality font.

                                               

                                              Nevertheless you have a point here…

                                               

                                              But that all is more or less academic.
                                              Let's see what Aneesh is thinking…

                                               

                                              In the meanwhile it seems that the discussion switched to InDesign Scripting:

                                              I want to fix 1mm space evenly in-between characters in indesign script

                                               

                                              Regards,
                                              Uwe

                                              • 20. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                                                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                Aneesh's question is a bit vague—maybe some screen captures would help.

                                                 

                                                Attempting to improve on the perception of even spacing in tracked text via scripting would be a rabbit's hole I wouldn't want to jump down. I have to assume if it could be done via the scripting API Adobe would have built it into their applications long ago. But the question might not be about the perception of spacing, it could be as simple as—I want to find the amount of tracking it takes to separate an N and an M at any point size by 1mm and apply that amount to all of the text—obviously that would be scriptable.

                                                • 21. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                                                  cbishop01 Level 2

                                                  You could add this to a character Style so that way anytime you want it done you just click on the desired Character Style and it does all your adjustments for you. Below are just a few examples.  You can adjust a bunch of settings in character styles.  Then all you have to do is have your Text/Text Frame you want to change and click on the Leading/Tracking/etc..  if you want to do this and not CHange Font size Create a character Style with the Fonts/Leading/Tracking ETC... and leave the* Point Size empty* then it will just change the Fonts/Leading/Tracking ETC... without changing font size.

                                                   

                                                  Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 8.42.33 AM.png

                                                  Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 8.44.01 AM.png

                                                  Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 8.43.49 AM.png

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                                                  • 22. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                                                    [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                                                    Much as I hate these "I want x, please supply" 'questions', here is a script that uses kerning on a selected text to achieve it.

                                                    for (c=1; c<app.selection[0].length; c++)
                                                    
                                                     app.selection[0].insertionPoints[c].kerningValue = 2834.64567/app.selection[0].characters[c-1].pointSize;
                                                    

                                                     

                                                    The calculation of the kerning value is based on its definition: in thousands of an em. Since the em size is relative to the font's point size, and the definition of a point, in turn, is 1/72 of an inch, and plodding further on with one inch is 25.4mm, we can immediately calculate how much kerning units we need to add to get 1 mm of extra space, using the size of the preceding character as a base (which is how InDesign's kerning works).

                                                    • 23. Re: Even space inbetween characters
                                                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      Right that's finding a same kerning value rather than a tracking value to apply to the text, which would work if you are not trying to visually "improve" the letterspacing appearance—you're not concerned about the space between Ko and IN being optically the same. My preference is to track for spacing and then kern for pair adjustments so it's easier to reset to a base value.

                                                       

                                                      The kern script doesn't seem to account for the sidebearings which take more space as the point size increases, 7pt vs. 70pt

                                                       

                                                       

                                                      Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 10.17.12 AM.png