Lets make smart guides smarter

Smart guides get a mixed response from the board, but I’ve been using them a lot lately, and getting to really like them. I’ve been creating some fonts, and it really is an extremely easy way to make sure that x-heights etc. are completely uniform.

But sometimes, with a lot of objects, the smart guides get a bit confused, and you find yourself waving an object about trying to get the guides to catch it.

So, I’m not suggesting a completely new feature, just wondering whether it would be feasible to create an inspector window, so that I can prioritise the smart guides. Things like,

on/off
look for nearest object
look for furthest object
touching object only
same layer only
layer x only
text only
strokes only
polygons only
etc.

I am sure that some way of organising these could be found, and then I would have a really powerful way of getting smart guides to work effectively for me.

Oh yes, and please could I have it so that a stroke can pick up a tangent from a circle at any angle, not just horizontal and vertical. At least give me 45 degrees.


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Hmm, no response at all. Am I the only person who uses smart guides? They really are worth a go. Once you get used to their strengths and weaknesses, and become sensitive to when they have done what you want, and when they have aligned with something extraneous, they become an essential feature.


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I’m sorry Max, I missed the start of your thread.

fwiw, I too am a big user of smart guides, as I tend to use Intaglio
like a DTP package, so yes, lets. I wholeheartedly agree (which brings
me back to my call about progression of the software- but I have also
had some negative responses, which I find a great shame).

Tom
On 23 Sep 2009, at 09:45, Max Roberts wrote:

Hmm, no response at all. Am I the only person who uses smart guides?
They really are worth a go. Once you get used to their strengths and
weaknesses, and become sensitive to when they have done what you
want, and when they have aligned with something extraneous, they
become an essential feature.


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“I’ve been creating some fonts”

Out of interest, how do you get the characters into the font editor—presumably FontLab or Fontographer?

Concerning Smart Guides, they’re a useful feature for aligning shapes quickly, but for me at least, for aligning multiple shapes, the Align palette does the job.

“Oh yes, and please could I have it so that a stroke can pick up a tangent from a circle at any angle, not just horizontal and vertical. At least give me 45 degrees.”

Why do you want to do this? At the moment, you can draw a 45 degree line with the Line tool—just hold down Shift while dragging. To align the line with the curve, just zoom in and drag it into place.


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I use TypeTool, which provides all the functionality necessary for someone who needs the fonts for his own purpose, i.e. does not intend to sell them. At $100, it is a bargain.

This map was issued in 1935 but the original and all known copies have been lost. All that remains is a poor quality monochrome reproduction from a 1935 railway magazine. The original was hand lettered, and without any suitable existing typeface to substitute, I decided I had to create my own in order authentically to capture the exuberance of the original:

“Why do you want to do this?”

Well, I could zoom in, which is a bit of a pain, because Intaglio won’t centre on where I click with the magnifying tool, and because I want to get it perfect, I need to zoom down to about 3200%. That way, I know all my arcs and lines are correctly aligned on something like this:


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I also do a little work with fonts and getting the letters from Intaglio into Fontographer isn’t easy. Can letters be dragged and dropped or copied and pasted into TypeTool, or does it recognise Intaglio PDFs/EPS?

The LMS map looks great—very authentic. It reminded me of how, one Friday, after …ahem…‘enjoying’ a pleasant evening in Acton, I changed trains at Willesden and ended up in Wembley. I wanted to go to Highbury!

I agree about zooming. If you want to zoom in and use the keyboard commands, Intaglio zooms to the centre of the document, not to where you’re working. That’s annoying.

The big map is real tour-de-force. Well done! I bet you needed a holiday after finishing that!


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I select each letter and export the selection as EPS. This gives me a pile of EPS files, which I then import in one by one into TypeTool (and therefore Fontworks, but perhaps not Fontographer). TypeTool is very fussy and accepts EPS from some sources but not others, and occasionally outlines need closing and paths reversing. Sometimes they all come in upside down, and scaling is necessary as TypeTool expects the outlines to be huge.

Glad you like the posters. George Dow was very clever, he managed to make Willesden Junction look exciting. This map is on my top 5 all-time great railway schematics. I do this sort of thing for fun, so you should see what the day-job does to me!


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