I’ve been pondering this topic a bunch. My inclination for the moment is to not attempt what is by all accounts the hugely complicated task of automating the process.
Nonetheless, to try to educate myself about the snags involved, I tried manually converting a few free fonts to vector format. I have evolved a system that, while far from perfect, is perhaps useful. It enables me to convert an appropriate font to single-vector style in just a few hours. The strokes are completely manually performed in Inkscape, then the resulting .svg files are put through the wringer in a Visual Basic 6(!) program I wrote.
The output of the VB6 program is a line of text defining the font face in hershey vector format as used in a completely stock hershey.py. The text line can then be copied into a stock hersheydata.py.
The image below is of three different fonts I’ve vectorized, along with the stock Sans 1-stroke, and the picture comes from the attached .svg [whoops, I don’t see how to attach an svg, so we’ll ignore that for the moment.]
I feel that the manually transcribed vectors yield a perhaps more “supple” text effect than the standard Hershey fonts. Oh, I should mention that I took the liberty of pushing the Hershey envelope by going to higher precision. I think it’s this higher precision which gives the new text a less “pedantic” feel. I think the century has come when we can throw off some of the constraints Hershey worked within a half century ago.
I did _not_, however, change anything in hershey.py – so the new schema is as far as I know completely compatible.
What do you think – is this method interesting enough to pursue? Or should I just keep it for my in-house use.
Oh, rats, I see I can’t paste an image here without exceeding the allowed character count. I guess I’ll have to finally open a flickr account or something.
OK, let’s see if I’ve flickrized it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35400824@N03/shares/n1gH7X