Designing a Retro-Style Superhero
Illustration by John Hersey

Generating an OpenType font (Mac only)


Designing a Retro-Style Superhero

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Generating an OpenType font (Mac only)

In this movie we're going to generate an open type font from Glyphs Mini and then we're going to install it on the Mac because we saw how to install a font on the PC using the font control panel in the previous chapter. Now generating a font at least from this program, is a three step process. The first thing you want to do is go up to the File Menu, and choose the Font Info command or you can press command+I for info. And the reason you want to do this is you want to give your font a Family Name.
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  1. 41s
    1. Welcome
  2. 13m 6s
    1. Masking a person from a white background
      8m 20s
    2. Smoothing out the edges of a jagged mask
      4m 46s
  3. 28m 52s
    1. Adding power and motion with Liquify
      8m 21s
    2. Puppet warping the legs closer together
      6m 36s
    3. Applying a perspective-style transformation
      5m 34s
    4. Smoothing and removing details with Liquify
      8m 21s
  4. 28m 34s
    1. Filling and stroking the silhouette
      3m 47s
    2. Drawing with the Pen and Brush tools
      7m 56s
    3. Hand-painting the face
      8m 56s
    4. Refining brushstrokes with Median and Minimum
      7m 55s
  5. 39m 2s
    1. Adding complementary colored clouds
      5m 28s
    2. Drawing a handful of spikes in Illustrator
      8m 34s
    3. Creating a burst pattern with Transform
      9m 36s
    4. Adjusting the spikes for a better effect
      7m 20s
    5. Bringing the burst pattern into Photoshop
      8m 4s
  6. 51m 4s
    1. Creating the extreme paths for the grill lines
      7m 31s
    2. Blending the grill lines in Illustrator
      9m 42s
    3. Correcting potential blending problems
      9m 58s
    4. Bringing the blended paths into Photoshop
      8m 27s
    5. Simulating pressure when stroking paths
      5m 35s
    6. Contouring the grill lines onto the face
      9m 51s
  7. 23m 47s
    1. Drawing a hand with the Pen tool
      9m 29s
    2. Converting the hand path to a shape layer
      6m 2s
    3. Finishing off the hands and gloves
      8m 16s
  8. 28m 49s
    1. Blend, scale, and rotate photographic flames
      6m 17s
    2. Filling in gaps with symmetrical flames
      7m 15s
    3. Shooting flames out of the hero's hands
      7m 34s
    4. Stroking the composite flames
      7m 43s
  9. 19m 13s
    1. Drawing cartoon flames as a shape layer
      5m 56s
    2. Enhancing the flames with layer effects
      5m 32s
    3. Adjusting Puppet Warp and Expansion
      7m 45s
  10. 16m 56s
    1. Installing a free comic-lettering font
      3m 59s
    2. Formatting the monologue text
      5m 43s
    3. Drawing the talk balloons (a.k.a. speech bubbles)
      7m 14s
  11. 43m 10s
    1. Selecting a font-creation software
      5m 17s
    2. Drawing consistently rendered letterforms
      9m 10s
    3. Pasting the letters into Glyphs Mini (Mac only)
      8m 11s
    4. Copying capitals into lowercase positions (Mac only)
      6m 45s
    5. Generating an OpenType font (Mac only)
      7m 56s
    6. Stylizing the custom font in Photoshop
      5m 51s
  12. 4m 24s
    1. Time lapse of the retro superhero
      3m 4s
    2. Until next time
      1m 20s

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Watch the Online Video Course Designing a Retro-Style Superhero
4h 57m Intermediate Jun 30, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Learn what it takes to design and create your own custom silver-age superhero. Join Deke as he starts by tracing a photo to create the hero's body and then jumps into Illustrator for the creation of the final effects. Finally, Deke takes us through the steps to lay out our own custom type to complete the comic.

Topics include:
  • Turning a person into a silhouette
  • Adding power and motion with Liquify
  • Drawing with the Pen and Brush tools
  • Creating a dramatic background
  • Adding grill lines and flames
  • Inserting talk balloons
  • Creating a custom comic font
Illustrator Photoshop
Deke McClelland

Generating an OpenType font (Mac only)

In this movie we're going to generate an open type font from Glyphs Mini and then we're going to install it on the Mac because we saw how to install a font on the PC using the font control panel in the previous chapter. Now generating a font at least from this program, is a three step process. The first thing you want to do is go up to the File Menu, and choose the Font Info command or you can press command+I for info. And the reason you want to do this is you want to give your font a Family Name.

In my case I'm calling mine Fire Up. You want to name the Style. And this happens to be a bold version of this font, for what it's worth. And it is a bold version of the regular font where I had to create such a font, and I'll show you what that looks like in a moment. But you do want to name your style. It doesn't matter what you name it, you can call it anything you want. But you do want to give it a name and you can go ahead and decide that it's going to be the bold version or the italic version, what have you. Go ahead and credit yourself. Throw URL in there, if you want to.

You might want to add a copyright statement, as well. Here on the Mac, the copyright symbol is option+g, as in George. On a PC, you press and hold the alt key and dial in 0169 on the numeric keypad. In any case you just want to mention this information is here and you can close that info tab. Next you want to test your font to make sure everything's working properly. Now, I promised to show you how to make a plain version of the font, just in case you're interested. Here is what you do, I'll go ahead and double click on the capital O for example.

And you'd want to do this in a separate file of course. So you want to make a duplicate which you can do by going on to the file menu and choosing the duplicate command which creates a duplicate of the font file on screen for you. And then presumably, this would be your plain version of the font of course. You'd go ahead and double-click on each of these outlines. Double-click on one, shift double-click on the other, that is to say. And then notice this, you can go up to the filter menu and then choose offset pass. And notice if you enter positive values, you make the character thinner.

And so you can offset by different values horizontally and vertically, which gives you a lot of control. So for example, I could decide I want to offset horizontally 20 and then vertically 25 and you can see the old outlines plus the new ones. So this would potentially serve as my plain font. And then if I wanted a heavier version of the font, then I could enter negative values in for both the horizontal and vertical values. So it's actually more capable than the offset command inside of Illustrator.

I'm going to go ahead and cancel out. Just want you to know that's there. All right. The next thing that you want to do is make sure your characters are interacting properly with each other. Now, this is also helpful when you're trying to figure out your side bearing, so that your characters are spaced properly. I'm going to double-click on the S, in order to bring it up here. And then, I'm going to switch to this text tool, up here, in the horizontal toolbar. And, I'll click after the S and I'll enter TOP. And now I'm going to change the side bearing that's associated with the O, if only temporarily.

So click before the O as I've done, and then I'll change the left value. Notice it's currently 17.75. I'll change it to negative 100. And then I'll change the right value to negative 100 as well. And everything seems to be working just fine, even though the characters are smooched together. But t hey look just fine up here in the main portion of the window. But if you look down here at the preview at the bottom, you can see that we've got some problems and I'm just going to go ahead and lift this bar up here so we can see the problems even bigger on screen.

And notice how the paths are interacting with each other improperly. So the O is cutting holes in the P, in the T. And the S is cutting a hole in the T as well. And this is going to happen inside Photoshop and Illustrator and Microsoft Word, anything where you use this font. This is going to be a problem. And basically, the fonts are cutting holes in each other because they're winding the wrong directions. And so what you need to do is switch back to the font tab here. And I will go ahead and double-click on the O to open it up, so that we can see the O independently.

And I'll go ahead and get my arrow tool here, and I'll drag this guy back down. And what I want you to see is the direction of the path. Notice that it's going clockwise, because of that little arrowhead here. And then the interior's going counter-clockwise. This is what's known as the non-zero winding rule. It's really an old rule. But it is a postscript rule and it needs to be reconciled. A counter-clockwise path will cut a hole in the clockwise path. That's a good thing. So these two guys are set up properly.

The problem is, everybody else except for the S is going in a counterclockwise direction. So as a result, the O is cutting holes in its neighbors. That may be very well and interesting, right? But how do you solve the problem? Well, very easily. You don't have to do what I just showed you. I just wanted you to know, that's the problem. All you have to do is just go ahead and close that O, click on the A, and shift+click on the Z, so that everybody's selected here, the final Z. And then just go up to the Glyph menu, and choose correct path direction.

Could not be easier. You just need to know this command is here. So you choose this command and then that just goes and corrects everybody. And now if I switch back to the word stop here, you can see that the letters are no longer cutting in to each other. So the problem is no probably solve. And that is because if I go ahead and switch up here, notice that the direction of the O has been switched. It's now going in a clockwise direction around the outside and a counterclockwise direction in the inside, that's what we want. So the problem is solved. All right. I'm going to go a head and close the stop tab now.

And the final thing you want to do is generate that font. So go up to the final menu and choose the export command. You also have that shortcut command E. And I want to go ahead and leave all these check boxes on. And my export destination is going to be the desktop. And so now I'll just go ahead and click the next button. And Glyphs Mini goes ahead and generates a font, then automatically names it, by the way which is great, and it's doing so based on the info that you enter into the font info dialog box.

All right. Now, I'm going to click in my desktop to switch to the finder. And I'll press command+option+H in order to hide everything so I can see just the finder. And notice, there's my new font, it's an open type font, so it will work on either the Mac or the PC, which is such a great thing. Now, we want to put it in the proper location. And this is generally the best way to work. Go up to the go menu and chose home. And then, with your Home folder displayed, you'll probably see your name right here. Go up to the go menu again and choose go to folder and this is the text you want to enter.

Tilde, which is that key directly below the escape key, in the upper-left corner of an American keyboard. Shift+tilde is what you need, really, to create the tilde character. Then, /library/fonts. And each word gets an initial cap, and then click go. And it may be that you don't have a single font in this folder, as I don't. And that's because all your fonts are sitting in a different folder that's available to everyone. The great thing about this folder is it's only available when you log in as you. You can go ahead and copy that font into that folder.

And what I tend to do is press the Option key, as I drag and drop this guy into place, so I create a copy of it, instead of moving it, and that's it. You have now managed to create an Open Type font that it's compatible with any computer platform, and I've also managed to copy it to my system. In the next movie, I'll show you how to employ this font in our final Photoshop composition.

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