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Font Expert Training

Discussion in 'Fonts and Typography' started by RiXaX, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. RiXaX

    RiXaX Member

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    Fred,
    I doubt that I'm the only one that would truly appreciate your help by typing a tutorial jump starting us into using this program. I still have not successfully figured out how to get my libraries recognized. I appreciate all your help over the years, but would like to learn to stand and walk on my own. Any chance of you finding time for this?
    Rick Sacks
     
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  2. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Not much of a chance Rick. Like a lot of people, I've been drastically effected by the economy and am buried by a workload not supported by employees any longer.
     
  3. RiXaX

    RiXaX Member

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    Fred, what type of program do you suppose that What the Font is using?
     
  4. The Vector Doctor

    The Vector Doctor Very Active Member

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    My question is this... what is the benefit of having Font Expert to ID fonts when you have whatthefont? Other than maybe recognizing an obscure font that myfonts.com does not have in it's own library and you yourself do.

    The only issue I see with whatthefont is that it does not recognize the thousands of free fonts that are readily available and not in the myfonts database
     
  5. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    I doubt that it is just one, but knowing how type professionals have done it for years, I would guesstimate that the primary method is based on earmark characteristics recognition. As the developer of FontFinder™, which was the first commercial program to to identify unknown typefaces, and as a former distributor of FontExpert, I will say that the single most useful aid i ever encountered to identifying type was a book named Rookledge's International Typefinder. In it Rookledge presents an earmark based classification system for type and subsequent recognition. Reading this book and then putting it's principles into use with your own archived fonts is very effective.

    Identifying fonts is much more an art form and a function of experience than an easy solution provided by a software program. When I identify type, depending on the condition of the art sample, I use both FontExpert for an automated search and Typograf to scroll through my preclassified archives looking for earmark matches.
     
  6. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    The main benefits of FontExpert are:


    1) It comes with a huge database of font comparison data which covers far more than Whatthefont covers, so you can get more identifications from it.

    2) You can build your own database of your own font archives which then run concurrently with the database that comes with FontExpert. This then will add to your success rate as well as alert you to the fact that you already have a matching font in your archives.

    3) Cloned fonts are a fact of life. Many fonts end up available under different names. When FontExpert makes an identification, it will identify most or all the fonts that are clones of one another in your databases. In addition, FontExpert has the ability to compare against its own databases. So I can select a font by name from the databases and then quickly generate a list of all fonts that match it.

    Some of the drawbacks of FontExpert are:


    1) It uses a pixel overlay to do it's comparing between the sample and the stored databases. So if the font being identified has been modified in any way such as slanting, stretching, etc. or if it isn't square to the baseline, then you will not get an accurate match.

    2) Building your own databases is time consuming and may take more time than your needs justify.

    3) A squared up scanned sample is needed for the program to work. Photographs are largely useless.

    4) The supplied database is no better than the day it was created and contains thousands of fonts from sources that are no longer in business. While it may be useful at times, often the reported matches are confusing to even the experienced eye if one doesn't have a working knowledge of the history of type and the players that have come and gone.

    What I don't understand is why, with a resource like Signs 101 and the many font experts in attendance here, people still recommend Whatthefont instead of using the available help right here.
     
  7. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

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    i'm pretty good with identifying them on my own....but i will use whatthefont before posting here....simply because i don't want to be troublesome and want to see if i can find it on my own first....
     
  8. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Nothing wrong with striving for self sufficiency and improving your own skills. But by asking Signs 101 members for help allows others here to benefit from the exercise without impairing the ultimate identification. Going to Whatthefont does nothing to help others here improve their skills.
     
  9. Cadmn

    Cadmn Very Active Member

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    Well when you put it that way Fred. ok there will be more tests soon I bet as most time I believed the same as Fenris
     
  10. The Vector Doctor

    The Vector Doctor Very Active Member

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    Remember the saying "the more you know, the more you forget..."? That's how I feel. I can ID fonts about 90% of the time by memory and usually have seen almost every font that has come my way, it's just that I forget the name. However as more and more fonts are released my skills are not way they used to be, especially with all the free fonts available that so many people are using. It was easierer when the only font co's that designers used were Adobe, ITC, Linotype, Bitstream, etc

    I usually go to whatthefont first. Agonizing over remembering the name takes longer than a few clicks at whatthefont. I also feel the same as others. I don't want to trouble the users here as we all have busy days as it is
     
  11. Arlo Kalon 2.0

    Arlo Kalon 2.0 Very Active Member

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    Me too.
     
  12. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    [​IMG] And, of course, none of us are getting any younger either. :ROFLMAO:

    And yet what makes a forum come together is activity. The problem for those of us that like to ID fonts is that everyone is just getting too fast to compete with. To me, identifying fonts gives me the same kind of mental exercising that one expects from doing a crossword puzzle or reading a whodunit novel.
     
  13. Biker Scout

    Biker Scout Very Active Member

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    I think some of the font zen masters on here actually get some sort of sick pleasure out of identifying a font in 5.3 seconds. It's like a little pat on the back that tells them it's OK to be a font geek. :corndog:
     
  14. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

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    and there's nothing wrong with that!
     
  15. RiXaX

    RiXaX Member

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    Asking for help on a regular basis seems like hitch hiking to work and never saving enough to buy a car or a bus ticket. We all drive our cars and somehow feel the need for independence. I don't mind asking for help after I've used my resources, but doing what I can first seems only polite. If asking here is serving others rather than becoming a burden, then I'll ask away!
     
  16. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    I think your original statement sums up how I feel. Try to do it yourself and if you meet with no success, then ask away.
     
  17. RiXaX

    RiXaX Member

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    Fred, I followed your instruction and have a library of all the fonts in my windows/fonts directory working. Will this work the same way with all the fonts that I have in other directories that are not installed? DO you install them and make a directory and then uninstall them? How do you get a comprehensive list without having thousands of fonts installed?
     
  18. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    The only fonts you can add to your private database are those which are installed. This is because the program uses the rasterizing features built into Windows. So it's a process of install, add to database and uninstall a few hundred at a time.

    Your database ends up as all in one place for all fonts added. What separates them is the source identifier you assign to each so you have some idea where they are in your archives when you run a search and get a valid result.

    My private database is a little over 5000 fonts and runs concurrently with the program's database of over 30,000 fonts. I haven't found the listed results to be too long particularly since they are listed in ranked order of probability of being a match. The closer to the top the greater chance it is a match. And the more matches I get from my own archives the less chance i will have to go out and purchase a font.
     
  19. RiXaX

    RiXaX Member

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    Fred, if I generate a data base on one of my computers, can I copy it to another and get working results? Can I do groups of fonts on different computers and blend them?
     
  20. Kwiksigns

    Kwiksigns wookie

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    I really like Extensis Suitcase. Not so much for identifying fonts but helps find them a lot faster when I do have to find one.
     
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