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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.
In this movie, we'll copy the characters that we've created inside of Illustrator and we'll paste them into the font creation program, which in my case is Glyphs Mini, which is why I've switched over to the Mac. Now if you have access to my exercise files and you're working with Glyphs Mini, you can go ahead and open up this starter file right here, which contains all of the letters except for those in the word flame. Just so that we can do some of the work, but we're not faced with the tedium of pasting 26 different characters here.
Now, a couple things you should know about glyphs up front. First of all, when you create a new document by going to the File menu and choosing the New command, Glyphs Mini automatically creates placeholders for all of the uppercase and lowercase letters, but that's it. If you want to add a different kind of character, for example, let's say I want to add the number two. Why then, you'd go over to the left hand side here, to this Categories column. You would twirl open the Number item right there. Two is a decimal digit, one of ten, including the zero.
So, you right-click on Decimal Digit, and then you would choose two, and then click Generate, and you end up with a number two, down here in this new Number section. Now, I don't happen to want that, so I'll go ahead and click on my two, and click on the minus sign down here in the bottom left region of the window to get rid of it, like so, and then I'll click the Remove button. Also note that if you click on Number, you're going to see just the numbers. Right now we don't have any. If you want to see everything inside the font, you need to click on All.
Now, what if you don't really know what the name of your character is? For example, I want to create something like a question mark, but I just don't know, you know, exactly what it's called. Is it called question or question mark or what? Well, then you drop down to the little plus icon right there. Click on it, and you'll add this section called Other, and it'll say new glyph. You just want to double-click on that word right there, new glyph, and then just replace it with a question mark and press the Return key here on a Mac, and you'll create that new character, and Glyphs will automatically name it what it needs to be called, which happens to be question.
Again, I don't want it, I just want you to see how this works. I'm going to select it and then click on the minus sign to get rid of it, and I'll click on Remove as well. All right, now, lets say we want to paste in some characters. Well, we need a kind of place holder for alignment purposes. And, the best placeholder is the i. So I'm going to double click on either the upper or lowercase i, it doesn't matter. And typically, by the way, when you're creating an all caps font like this, you go ahead and fill both the uppercase and lowercase characters with the same thing. So both the uppercase and lowercase i are identical.
All right, I'll switch over to my little i right there, and I want to select the entire thing. In Glyphs Mini you do that by double-clicking on the item, and then I'll press Cmd+C in order to copy it, or I could go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command as well. Now, I'll go ahead and close the i, and I'll double click on the upper case A here, and I'll press Cmd+V in order to paste that guy, and now I'll switch back over to the Fonts tab right there. I'll double-click on the E in order to bring it up, and I'll press Cmd+V for it as well. I'll close both the E and the A, actually. Now double-click on the F and press Cmd+V and close it. And I'll double-click on the L and press Cmd+V and close it. And I'll double-click on the M and press Cmd+V and close it. Alright, so I've got i's in all of the flame letters. I'm not worried about the lower case characters right now, we'll take care of them later. All right, now let's paste the letters in, in the order that they appear in the world flame. So we'll start with the F, so I'll go ahead and double-click on that guy to open him up, and then I'll switch back over to Illustrator. I've restored the saved version of this document as you can see. So, I'll turn off the round layer right there, and I'll turn on the straight layer, twirl it open. I might give myself a little extra room to work here by collapsing the Color panel and you can see that that i shape is already selected here inside of Illustrator. I'll go ahead and turn on the E and F canopy path, as well as the E and F arm in order to select all of those paths, and I'll marquee them to select all three of them. Now, I can't just copy them the way they are and paste them into Glyphs Mini, because if I do, any overlapping areas will be treated as holes and you don't want that. So, what you need is just a solid filled path. It can be a compound path, such as an O, that has a hole in it. But, otherwise, it needs to be a single path outline. So, I'm going to go to the Window menu, and choose the Path Finder command, and then I'll go ahead, and click on the Unite icon, in the upper left corner, and we now have a united shape. Now I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command, or I can just press Cmd+C, and now I'll switch back to Glyphs and I'll press Cmd+V in order to paste that path. It's going to come in in totally the wrong location. Now I have gone ahead and sized these characters in Illustrator so that they're compatible with Glyphs Mini. If you're working with a different font creation program, you might find that the characters are too big or too small, what have you. And you may have to do some additional resizing. But in any case, mine's fine, so I'll go ahead and drag this guy until it snaps into alignment like so, with that piece of the i that was sitting there for alignment purposes. And now I'll double-click on this little bit of i right there, in order to select that entire i shape, and let me see if I got it. I did and so, I've dragged it off to the side. Now I'll just press the Delete key in order to get rid of it, and now I'll close my F and we, you can see we now have an F character. All right, now I'll do the same thing or something similar, anyway, with E. I'll double-click on it to open it up. I'll switch over to Illustrator, and I'll turn on this E and L base path right there, and I'll marquee these two path outlines, and click on this Unite Shape mode in order to unite them together. You can also, by the way, press Cmd+4. Cmd+4 or Ctrl+4 on a PC, will repeat the last path finder operation. All right, now press Cmd+C. Those of you working on a PC with some other software, of course, would press Ctrl+C, and now switch back over to Glyphs. Press Cmd+V in order to paste, drag this guy up so he snaps into alignment. Double-click in the old i, right there and press the Delete key to get rid of it. And I actually want to dial-in some specific side bearing values. Notice the L and R values, right here, they indicate the left side bearing and the right side bearing, which are these guidelines right here that determine how the characters fit together. Left is currently set to negative 50 which is fine, but I want the right side bearing to be negative 100, so I'll go ahead and enter that value and press the Return key, and then close the E. Need to do the same thing for the F, I just forgot. So, I'll change the left side bearing to negative 50. Tab my way over to the right side bearing and change it to negative 100, and then close the F. All right, now let's do that character that's related to the F and the E, and that would be the L. So I'll just go ahead and switch back to Illustrator, and let's undo those last couple of operations, just by pressing Cmd+Z a bunch of times. And then I'll turn off this E and F canopy path right there, and I'll turn on the E and L base. And I'll marquee these two path outlines, and unite them together here inside the Path Finder panel, and I'll press Cmd+C in order to copy them. And then I'll switch back over to Glyphs. Double-click on the L to bring it up. Press Cmd+V in order to paste. Drag this guy up until it snaps into alignment, double-click on the old i. Press the Delete key to get rid of it, and this time we want the right side bearing. The left side bearing is fine at negative 50. I want the right side bearing to be negative 80. And then I'll go ahead and close the L in order to complete that letter. All right, so that completes three of the letters, but we still have left the A and the M, as well as all of the lower case characters, which is why we'll fill those in in the very next movie.
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