Ino Detelić

Font anti-aliasing technique in Chrome changes after 48px size

Google Chrome does render fonts with subpixel anti-aliasing but the text looks more jaggy than in other browsers, because it only supports horizontal anti-aliasing.
The jaggies are specially visible on the top and bottom of the curved letters, like S, O and C, while looking fine on the sides of these letters.

Look at the screenshots of some letters with the Georgia font at 48px:

Chrome Georgia 48px ver18.0.1025.100 beta-m

Google Chrome 18.0.1025.100 beta-m - Georgia at 48px

Can you notice the jaggies on the top of the letters in Chrome?

But after a certain font size, Chrome does some other method to render fonts. In Georgia font, that size is 49px:

Chrome Georgia 49px ver18.0.1025.100 beta-m

Google Chrome 18.0.1025.100 beta-m - Georgia at 49px

The letters are no longer jagged!

If we take a closer look, we can see that while it does look better, it’s not using sub-pixel rendering, but monochromatic anti-aliasing for both the vertical and horizontal directions.

Here’s a closer look at the fonts rendered above, amplified at 500%:

Chrome Georgia 48px ver18.0.1025.100 beta-m.png at 500 percent zoom

Chrome - Georgia 48px @ 500% zoom

Chrome Georgia 49px ver18.0.1025.100 beta-m.png at 500 percent zoom

Chrome - Georgia 49px @ 500% zoom

 

Conclusion: for now if you’re using a big font-size for headers or page titles, consider font-size: 49px to get the smooth edges on Chrome, at least until they use subpixel for horizontal + monochrome for vertical anti-aliasing like the other browsers.

 

More information about font rendering:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subpixel_rendering

http://blog.typekit.com/2011/07/26/new-from-typekit-improved-font-rendering-on-windows/

http://www.basschouten.com/blog1.php/font-rendering-gdi-versus-directwrite

 

For browser comparison, here’s how the same text is rendered in Chrome 18 beta, Firefox 11.0 and Internet Explorer 9:

Chrome Georgia 48px ver18.0.1025.100 beta-m

Chrome 18.0.1025.100 beta-m - Georgia at 48px

Chrome Georgia 49px ver18.0.1025.100 beta-m

Chrome 18.0.1025.100 beta-m - Georgia at 49px

Firefox Georgia 48px ver11.0

Firefox 11.0 - Georgia at 48px

Internet Explorer 9 - Georgia at 48px

ant the close-ups:

Chrome - Georgia 48px @ 500% zoom

Chrome - Georgia 49px @ 500% zoom

Firefox 11.0- Georgia 48px @ 500% zoom

Internet Explorer 9 - Georgia 48px @ 500% zoom

 

Posted on March 16th, 2012 under random

Quick response to pandodaily’s The Clipboard Data Privacy Scandal post.

Trevor Gilbert clearly does not understand the real issue of this privacy breach, but what made me write this post was this thing he says:

That’s what the Internet is based upon. Trust. Trust in larger technology companies, in the developers, and in each other. Sure, that trust can be breached now and again with less-than-honest developers and profit-obsessed companies. In the view of the larger picture, though, think of all of the services that you use that actually don’t do anything wrong with your data. Yes, they do things without asking your permission. In the end though, they do it to simplify your life.

– Trevor Gilbert, Verified: The Clipboard Data Privacy Scandal

Trust?

If the internet history has taught us anything, by the way made even more evident with this address book privacy issue, is NOT to trust larger tech companies, developers or anyone else.

When our information is being used without our knowledge or permission, how can there be trust?

Posted on March 2nd, 2012 under random

Middle click on links: another google+ annoyance

Since the dawn of tabbed browsing, middle click opens links on a new tab, usually a background tab so you can click a few of them quickly without going back and forth.

If you middle-click a link preview, the little image near the link someone posted, it opens in a background tab like it should, but it also starts the pan mode that usually happens if you middle-click the page background.

This is annoying because its against the standard way that links work and the way we’re used to clicking on links.

Bottom line: if you’re linking to some webpage, showing a preview and making the mouse turn into a hand over the preview, please make it behave like a normal link.

(Behind the scenes, what’s happening is that the image isn’t inside an <a> anchor tag, but the link is triggered through a javascript event.
But the link above it, the title of the page is a normal link so it works perfectly.)

Posted on March 2nd, 2012 under random

Designer’s mantra

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

– Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Posted on February 20th, 2012 under random

Draftsight has a problem printing images to .pdf

It’s a bug in the V1R1.3 version.

You setup yout print, everything looks normal on the print preview, but when you print to the .pdf file, the images disappear.

To solve it, upgrade to V1R1.4 but first backup your preferences or you’re going to lose them all. This pdf from www.3ds.com has instructions on how to backup your files before upgrading.

Posted on February 9th, 2012 under CAD

Press Freedom Index 2011/2012

Portugal came out in 33rd, up 7 positions since 2010. When you have freedom of speech and press but all the media that can reach to the public is controlled by corporations with political ties, you can feel something smells bad. It’s selective choice. You can switch channels or newspapers but the emphasis stays the same.

Example from TV: The corrupt politicians are allowing the monopolized energy market to rip us even more and we’re telling you that in a 15 second segment, but first here’s a story about a famous football player whose son needs a bone marrow transplant. Don’t worry, we’ll be repeating the story for two weeks and giving it a third of the entire news airtime so you can feel bad about not donating.

Press Freedom Index 2011/2012 – selected countries:

1 – Finland / Norway
28 – United Kingdom
33 – Portugal
39 – Spain
47 – United States of America
61 – Italy
68 – Croatia
70 – Greece
99 – Brazil
142 – Russia
178 – North Korea
179 – Eritrea (last position)

Full list – http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2011-2012,1043.html

Posted on January 30th, 2012 under random

Images on social network sites

Facebook owns all the content you put there. On Google+ you own the content and they just host it. All that is fine, because you agree to the terms and for the average user it is an easy way to show your photos to friends, family, and even to the whole world if you want.

What I don’t like is that for every social media site you have to upload the pictures and if they’re public they get scattered and repeated throughout the web. If you invested a lot of time into arranging your photos into albums and care about the comments left by your friends, it will be harder to abandon that particular social media site, and while the end of facebook seems imposible in the near future, the history has a tendency of repeating itself, as many impossible-to-fall sites have dissapeared from relevancy.

Another thing that comes into mind is the quality of the uploaded pictures. On facebook, in the beginning the uploaded images were resized to a width of 604 px, then later that changed to 720 px, and up to some six months ago facebook started to support images of up to 2048 px. Now I have many photos I care about that are 604 and 720 px wide and I’d like to upload the full sized ones but I can’t. I mean I can reupload the larger images but then I’d lose all the social life they have – the comments. And that’s what matters the most there, isn’t it? The social interactions between people those photos engaged.

That’s why I’ve stopped relying on facebook for anything other than what it does best: engaging with friends and family, and everything there is small talk.

 

Another thought, P.S. if you wish:

It’s great that non-technical people can upload pictures of their lives, but what if you want to own your content? I’d love if I could have all my pictures on one place and all the social media sites and services could pull that info to populate albums on their sites with some universal API, and the comments and social reactions would be registered in this one place.
The problem with that approach is: who would be the authority to hold those photos? You could chose a service or do it on your server by installing some script.

Posted on January 21st, 2012 under random

Facebook’s dumb messaging system: other messages

There’s a chance you have missed personal messages on facebook like I did several times.

Check the “Other” on the menu on the left side, after you click on “Messages”. I hope you didn’t miss anything important.

If you did, you have the right to be angry. Facebook doesn’t notify you of every message you get.
What they do is chose what messages they think are important enough to notify you, and send the rest silently to this “Other” message box. It’s misleading. Even though I know about this, I always forget to check them.

 

Facebook help documents read:

“Your Other folder contains messages sent to mailing lists and broad distribution groups, along with messages from people who aren’t friends or friends of friends.”

I’m OK with separating spam messages but I want to be notified of all personal messages. Or at least give me an option to chose what goes where.

Posted on January 19th, 2012 under random

Designs we take for granted

I just saw this excellent video from AT&T Archives, 1970 Saul Bass’ Pitch Video for Bell System Logo Redesign.

It’s impressive how relevant and up to date all the aspects of the corporate identity redesign presented here are relevant today.

It also made me think how many things we take for granted, for example before this redesign all the people installing and repairing telephones at this huge company did it with their own clothes, with only a tag on their shirt distinguishing them from plumbers, electricians and other workers.

Posted on January 18th, 2012 under random

I’m afraid of getting near the new google logo.

One of the untold rules on the web is that if you click the logo, it takes it to the home page. This is inprinted in my brain.

I’ve had the newest google redesign, with the menu on google logo hover for over a month now, and I still haven’t adapted to it.

I’m at the phase where my cursor avoids it like the plague and when I remember to actually use it, I get a strange feeling like some Pavlovian reaction knowing I’ll get beaten if I get near it.

 

Four days ago, I changed my personal browsing to Firefox after a couple years on Chrome just because of the font rendering.

You see, I love fonts and beautiful letters matter to me, and Chrome only does horizontal sub-pixel antialiasing while Firefox does that plus vertical antialiasing, resulting in smoother font edges, specially noticeable on the top and the bottom of curved letters like O and S where they appear jagged on Chrome and smooth on Firefox.
I’ve also noticed that on Firefox the kerning, the space between the letters, is less accurate but I’ll leave this for another post.

 

Back to the google redesign – Now that i’m on Firefox, the google apps gmail, google+, calendar and others are shown with the second newest design, with the black bar on top. While I’m not a big fan of it either, I feel so much better without the fear of putting my mouse near the dreaded logo because it doesn’t have the rage inducing and Pavlovian dog beating hover menu.

The new google apps have a refresh button that I’ve been using more, specially on reader, because of the fear of the logo. And now that I have the choice between the logo and the refresh button, I press the logo with a strong sense of revolt and pleasure, like a dog when he’s destroying a pillow he shouldn’t. He knows he’ll get beaten but the pleasure is much greater so he defies the rules and does what his instinct tells him.

Posted on January 6th, 2012 under random