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The clearest distinction between fonts is serif and sans serif. Featured are two faces from the Chank Company: BrainGelt and Mingler.

Serif versus Sans Serif

There are two major distinctions when dealing with fonts: serif or sans serif. For instant clarity, serif fonts (such as Times, Gara-mond, or Concorde, the text font of this book), have small strokes at the end of the larger strokes of the text. The alternative is sans serif fonts (such as Helvetica, Arial, or Univers, used for this book's chapter headings), which have a cleaner style comprised of generally even-weighted lines.

When working with serif fonts, be careful with the thickness of each character. Because serifs often come to small points, it is essential that the type is thick enough, or you will get shimmer. Serif fonts are much more likely to vibrate on video, especially at light weights and small sizes. Many clients prefer serif fonts because they are more traditional and are considered by many as easier to read in print. There are often more serif fonts to pick from because serif type has a long history. Serif fonts are modeled after many handwritten texts as well as the initial type used in printing presses.

Sans serif fonts are a more modern development. It is often possible to compress more text into a smaller space by using a sans serif font. These fonts are also more likely to be optimized for on-screen viewing. For video purposes, sans serif fonts are often easier for an audience to quickly comprehend, and they read better in smaller point sizes.

PROS

CONS

PROS

CONS

Serif • Increased readability

• Thin lines can cause

• More traditional

problems for low-

• More options available

resolution printing

due to longer history

or applications like

video and Internet

Sans Serif • More modern

• Letter shapes not

• Can compress more

often as unique

information into a

• Can be harder to

smaller space

read if too stylized

• Optimized for

screen usage

The x-height is the distance from the top to bottom of a lowercase x. The x is measured because it is a clean letter with a distinct top and bottom. The height of the x does a lot to define the character of a font. The visual distinctiveness of a font is a combination of its x-height and the ascenders and descenders that grow from that center space. This height is perhaps the second most distinctive aspect when comparing two fonts.

Text Tool Presets

^ If you have a specific type of text combo that you use a lot (say Bookman Bold at 45 points with a tracking value of 50) you can save it. Just enter all of your text settings as you need into the Character and Paragraph palettes. Then, in the upper left corner of the Opti ons bar, click on the drop-down menu. You can add new Tool Presets (just click the pad of paper icon).

Select Text without a Highlight

^ When you double-click on a text layer to select it, Photoshop inverses the text with a black highlight to indicate a selection. This can be distracting. Once you have an active selection, press ^^+© (L+h) to hide it.

Font Weight

The most useful fonts are those that have multiple weights. A font will generally have a book (or roman) weight. A font family may also include Light, Medium, Bold, Black, Italic, and more alternates. These alternates are helpful in designing effective screen graphics because you can cut down on the number of fonts used and stick with one font family.

Appearance on Screen

Some fonts are meant for printing only. This fact is easier to accept if you remember that the print industry has been around a heck of a lot longer than the television industry. Test your fonts. If they are too busy or have too many elaborate serifs, make them inactive or remove them from your system.

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Many modern fonts look particularly good on screen. Some recent additions include Georgia, Verdana, Myriad, Impact, Treb-uchet, Gill Sans, Helvetica Neue, and Futura. These are just a few of the fonts that have been optimized for viewing on computer displays. Any font marked as optimized for Web output is also well suited for video work.

Style

Ask your client to describe the video. I generally ask for 10 to 20 adjectives that describe the company or product being featured. I then dig deeper and ask what the new video is supposed to accomplish. With this knowledge, you can make sound aesthetic decisions and impress your client with your good taste. Remember to use a distinctive display font for titles or headlines. Text or body fonts should be used for bullets or smaller copy.

Check out the interview with Chank Diesel at the end of this chapter (page 136) for great advice on how to make style decisions, as well as to get a better perspective on what goes into making a font. Different goals need different fonts to communicate.

Using the Character Palette

The Character palette provides you with total control over the appearance of text in your graphics. To get started, call up the Character palette by selecting it from the Windows menu or by clicking on the palette's button in the Options bar when you have the Text tool selected. Next, select the Type tool and click in your document to add a type layer. Single-clicking will enable point type, or you can click and drag to define a block for paragraph type.

There are many fields in the Character palette. The easiest way to understand them is to quickly run through each field's function. Feel free to jump ahead if you are comfortable with a particular area. I will mention shortcuts wherever possible.

Field 1: Set the Font Family

Here's where you pick the font to use. You can quickly cycle through fonts by clicking in this field and using the up and down arrows. Add the ^S key and you will jump to the top or bottom of your font list. Press the Tab key to move to the next (and subsequent) fields. If your preferences are set correctly you can click to see the font list in their actual typeface.

Field 2: Set the Font Style

If a font has multiple styles, such as a bold, italic, or black version available, this will make it quickly available. These too can be cycled with the arrow keys. It is always more desirable to use the actual bold or italic version of a font rather than the Faux Bold or Faux Italic buttons.

Field 3: Set the Font Size

It is possible to set the font size to any unit of measure. The standard is points, but you can type in a number followed by px (for pixels) if that is easier for you. The up and down arrow keys will increase 1 point each; add the ^S key and you will jump 10 points. For an additional shortcut, press IX + SS + 3 or Q (L + + 3 or Q) to decrease or increase font size.

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You can click on this toggle button to open and close the Character and Paragraph palettes.

You can click on this toggle button to open and close the Character and Paragraph palettes.

Field 4: Set the Leading

Leading (pronounced "ledding") is a term derived from the days of a printing press when the printers inserted actual pieces of lead between the typeset characters. It refers to the space between the two lines of type measured in points. It is measured from the baseline, which is where the lowercase x sits in a line of type (see the previously mentioned x-height).

You can generally trust the auto setting for standard leading. Type is usually set with leading being 120% of the point size. For example, 24-point type would have 28.8 point leading. You can choose to adjust this manually, or pick from a drop-down preset list. If you haven't noticed the pattern, the arrow and Tab keys work here, too. A problem often arises with setting the leading for lines of text at different point sizes. Often descenders from the top line will cross ascenders from the lower line. These occurrences are called tangents. They are usually undesirable if they form accidentally. A tangent will draw your viewer's eye to the intersection. Since video graphics are often visible for only a short time, you don't want your viewer getting stuck. Adjust the leading or kerning to avoid tangents.

Field 5: Set the Kerning Between Two Characters

The space between two letters is called kerning. This is the most subjective area of typography. You'll need to develop a sense of visual balance. The goal is to have the text appear evenly weighted. Proper kerning allows the reader to easily recognize word shapes and lets them keep reading without having to pause on a word.

While you can edit kerning from the field, it is far easier to use the keyboard. Move your cursor using the arrow keys. When the blinking I-bar is between the two letters in question, hold down the (A key and use your arrow keys. The left arrow will pull the text closer; the right arrow will push it further apart.

The space between two lines of type is the leading. This term dates bach to the traditional printing press days, when strips of lead were inserted between lines for proper spacing.

Faux Bold?

it—| That's just another way of L*J saying Fake Bold. Always choose a true bold or ital ic typeface from the font menu before invoking the faux options of the Character palette. The true bold and italic versions created by the font's designer will always look better.

How To Create Your Own Video Product

How To Create Your Own Video Product

Now YOU Can Finally Learn All the ins and outs of Creating Your Own Video awhile about creating your own video products.

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