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SmoothText 1.1.8


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Hi WildBill,

Thanks a lot for sharing the implementation details: I did suspect you had a very good reason not to force a perfect match in character placement. ;)

But if you can find some time to code this option, I would be really grateful.

And your idea sounds precisely spot on: an option to force a perfect match in character placement, plus a slider to tweak the font-width algorithm.

Thanks again.

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Hmm... WinRAR doesn't seem to like SmoothText very much.

While extracting an archive (any archive) WinRAR still refuses to work unless the mouse is moving over it's window. Or when I am pressing or holding down a button.

This behavior does not occur when SmoothText is not running.

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Version 0.7.4 is up, with lots of fixes and goodies. I'd be interested to see if any font-width issues are now gone as a result. By the way, has anyone tried this on NT4 yet?

I tried it on my installation of FreeCommander and both columns are being smoothed, by the way.

Edited by WildBill
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One more quick update: version 0.7.5. It adds a little more flexibility into configuring how SmoothText calculates what the font width should be. At this point it's hard to imagine adding much more font configuration without confusing people :whistle:

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Explorer font bug is gone, fonts are the right width now. :D

I completely understand your reasons for not forcing correct character placement; the text becomes harder to read. The given width modifier gives more flexibility, but shouldn't be restricted to the 80-120% range.

I'll get an animation of the menu problem soon.

Great work!

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Here's is another screenshot with smoothtext 0.7.5 and freeCommander.

The fonts in the right window are clearly not smoothed.


But if i'm the only one, i can live with that ;)

I still haven't been able to reproduce it. I'm using version 2009.2, and everything looks great. What version are you using?

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Hello WildBill,

i use the same version 2009.2 of freecommander. However i made a fresh clean install of freecommander and voila, also the right window is smoothed.

Thank you for all of your efforts :)

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The new option to force characters into the original cells works very well: in my opinion, it removes most of the font-width issues and it improves the overall quality of the text, because of the more regular spacing.

And I have yet to find any major, undesired side-effect, so for me this option is definitely staying on ;)

As for the witdh percent and width bias, I find that the default value is best for both.

Which brings me to one last rendering issue.

SmoothText distorts 10pt Arial in its vertical proportions, which also means all its lowercase letters are taller.

These are screenshots of eBay's Categories menu (obviously, 10pt Arial is used a lot also elsewhere e.g. Google, Yahoo! Mail).

The first one is the Windows 2000 default text.


The second one is SmoothText 0.7.6, Energy 10, Gamma 1.30, Force character placement On, with default values for Width percent and Bias (compare the "r" and "t" in "Art" with the original text, for example).


I guess this isn't expected behaviour, as the sub-pixel anti-aliasing only operates horizontally, and shouldn't impact vertical proportions.

The only way to fix this is to set the Width bias to its rightmost, Wide setting.

This, unfortunately, messes up the alignment of a lot of websites (e.g. a typical news site, spanning multiple columns and using several styles), so it isn't a viable setting for me.

Note that with the Width bias set to any value other than its rightmost Wide setting, the vertical distorion re-appears.

Edited by bob2000
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I've seen that, too. My guess is that it has to do with Windows' internal hinting, which is something that I can't control. It's definitely doing something to the x-height, and there isn't a setting for that.

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I've posted version 0.7.7, which I've verified works under NT4 (gah...I had no idea installing NT4 would be such a PITA. I have a whole new appreciation for Win2k, now). Overriding standard controls doesn't work right, but general font smoothing works just fine.

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Hi WildBill,

Here's an idea of how SmoothText could be customised even further (hopefully without confusing any user ;)):

I'm thinking of Tuning profiles.

Let's assume that SmoothText:

1) knows which application it's currently drawing text for (e.g. Explorer, Firefox, Word, etc.)

2) can change Tuning parameters (Energy distribution, Gamma, Width percent/bias, Force character placement) on the fly, with an acceptable performance hit.

If either of the above isn't true, then you can disregard most of this post...

On the other hand, if both assumptions are true, Tuning profiles would work like this.

The Tuning tab would have a pull-down menu at the very top, specifying the choice of profile.

Only two entries would be there, initially: "Default" (the catch-all profile that by default applies to all applications, unless specified otherwise in another profile) and "New profile..." (to create a new profile).

When a new profile is created, the Tuning tab would have an Include section, with two lists of applications side-by-side (the one on the left, full, the other, empty, initially) and "Add >>" / "<< Remove" buttons in between, in the same way that the Problem fonts tab already has at the moment.

Bottom line: when drawing text for a given application, e.g. Firefox, if that application appears in a profile, the Tuning settings defined for that profile are used. Otherwise, the default Tuning settings are used.


1) when creating a profile, checks would ensure that every chosen application doesn't appear in more than one profile

2) applications can only be associated with non-Default profiles]

Standard users would continue to use the Default profile for everything, and you wouldn't be introducing any mandatory extra configuration.

Advanced users would be able to customise the text appearance as much as they want to.

I realise that, even assuming all of this CAN be done, it would take quite a lot of coding effort.

But I think the benefits would be huge.

I know I'd be creating straightaway one profile for Explorer, one covering all web browsers and one for word processors.

This is because, in my opinion, Tuning settings which are ideal for one use very often are not good at all for others.

E.g. With the best settings for web browsing (E10 / G1.40, Forced character placement On), text on Explorer looks very thin, white-ish and irregularly spaced.

Instead, Explorer looks great with E6 / G1.00 and Forced character placement Off.

And choosing the best compromise settings just doesn't do either application justice, in my opinion.

Edited by bob2000
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