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Wed 16 Apr 2003

OS X Graphics and Font Management

Category : Technology

Graphic designers contemplating the conversion to OS X ought to take a look at these two Apple documents - Using and Managing Fonts in OS X, and Quartz Extreme - to get a feel for what they're missing.

Imagine not having to deal with Adobe Type Manager (ATM), screen fonts, printer fonts, QuickDraw, or even Postscript (for drafts).

OS X works with Postscript Type 1 fonts, Mac TrueType, Windows TrueType, Adobe Multiple Masters, Apple's .dfont (introduced in OS X), and the emerging standard, Open Type. It has a built-in font rasteriser with advanced typographic capability that can render stuff like this :

Quartz, which draws everything you see in OS X, is resolution-independent. It will take advantage of higher resolutions wherever it can (e.g.,it will draw at 600 dots per inch when given a 600 dpi printer). If you present it with a Postscript printer, OS X has a built-in Postscript rasteriser that will do the conversion. All you need to use a Postscript printer is a PPD file (the exact same ones used by OS 9). This is needed to tell OS X about the features that are supported by the printer. There's really no need to supply an OS X machine with third-party Postscript drivers.

What this means is that OS X users have a much wider range of printers to choose from. From my observation, OS X output produced on non-Postscript printers is about 80-90% of the quality of the same output produced on Postscript printers, quite unlike the days of OS 7, 8 and 9 when non-Postscript printers were virtually unusable with a Mac.

There's so much good in OS X that designers really ought to switch, and fast. Wait for Quark at your peril.

Posted at 12:22AM SGT | permalink


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