Improving font anti-aliasing
August 29, 2006 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Is there any chance of improving anti-aliasing in Windows? ClearType is nice, but serif fonts often look too thin and weak. A comparison with the anti-aliasing in InDesign shows that ClearType is not as good as it could be. Screenshots inside.







Word on top, InDesign below. Compare for instance the figure 3: in Word the upper curve is bigger than the lower one. Useless bonus fact: the top image contains 24 shades of gray, but InDesign manages a better result with 16 shades of gray.

(I'm using Windows XP, an LCD display and yes, I've got the ClearType tuner.)
posted by Termite to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
 
Windows has pretty bad type rendering, by today's standards. You could try the Bitstream Vera family of fonts, which is popular with the Linux crowd -- the pixel versions of the font (which Windows will use automatically at normal/small sizes) is pre-antialiased.
posted by tumult at 3:49 PM on August 29, 2006


Actually, looking at that top image, ClearType doesn't seem to be in effect. Does it even work correctly with Word?
posted by tumult at 3:51 PM on August 29, 2006


ClearType Tuner. Give it a try.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:32 PM on August 29, 2006


Termite: "yes, I've got the ClearType tuner."

Civil_Disobedient : "ClearType Tuner. Give it a try."
posted by Bugbread at 4:38 PM on August 29, 2006


My understanding was that ClearType tuner affects the display driver, and only really helps with LCD screens because of this. Am I wrong?
posted by hatsix at 5:04 PM on August 29, 2006


Unfortunately, them's the breaks. InDesign's type rendering engine is simply that much better than Word's. It's not simply a matter of the individual characters (though InDesign's much better at that as well) but kerning, something InDesign handles very well, and Word (really most other applications) very poorly. Kerning is also outside the scope of ClearType, I believe, so issues like the bad kern between the i and c of "Dialectic" are never going to go away.
posted by chrominance at 6:25 PM on August 29, 2006


bugbread...

Totally, utterly missed that. Sorry.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:28 PM on August 29, 2006


Seconding tumult. If you actually had ClearType turned on, I'd expect to see some color fringing when I enlarged either of your jpegs. I don't. Are you sure it's actually on?
posted by flabdablet at 7:13 PM on August 29, 2006


Now that fladlabet points it out, thirded. See this page, for example, for examples of the fringe.
posted by misterbrandt at 9:40 PM on August 29, 2006


seriously, for example.
posted by misterbrandt at 9:40 PM on August 29, 2006


Seconding tumult. If you actually had ClearType turned on, I'd expect to see some color fringing when I enlarged either of your jpegs. I don't. Are you sure it's actually on?

Yes, it's on. I noticed the lack of colour fringing as well and this is what I found out, after making some more screen shots. There are colour fringes around the system font and in my browser - maybe ClearType doesn't work in Word? Well, it does, but not with all fonts. Georgia and Times have colour fringes, but not the font in the example above (Sabon) as well as several others. I guess that's why Georgia looks so much better on screen. ClearType - it's not for all fonts, apparently.

Unfortunately, them's the breaks.

Thought so. InDesign handles things its own way. No colour fringes around any font in InDesign, including Georgia.
posted by Termite at 10:18 PM on August 29, 2006




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