PXR + Cufon = Pxfon

Back in 2006 I created (but never released) PXR, a pixel-based alternative to IFR. I built a tool that could convert specially prepared gifs into a format that could then be used by the PXR JavaScript to generate and layout the pixel typeface. It was cute but impractical.

Fast-forward three years. Cufón is sIFR’s heir apparent. But in my quick tests Cufón wasn’t up to the challenge of generating a font.js from any of my pixel fonts. Even if it had, the result would probably have been marred by a pixel’s worst enemy, anti-aliasing.

So yesterday I cracked open a couple of Cufón-generated font.js files and the un-minified cufon.js to figure out how the pieces fit together. I was able to successfully reverse engineer the format and modify my original PXR generator to output Cufón-compatible font.js files.

You can play around with the generator on Pixel Portraits. I haven’t added any sort of error checking and the current outline tracing algorithm is remedial at best; it can only see characters one row at a time. That means it’s especially inefficient on larger pixel typefaces (anything greater than 18px tall). But it’s good enough for me.

With Pxfón I might even be able to carry over the pixel aesthetic from my new splash page to the entire site. That would be sure to confound the average Googler.

Previous
Trent Reznor
Next
Garrett Murray on App Store approval woes
Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
April 17th, 2009 at 11:10 am
Categories
CSS
Design
Inman Flash Replacement
JavaScript