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Small text in graphics - getting a clean look.

 9:08 pm on Jul 2, 2001 (gmt 0)

Notice some of the text on the graphics. They have that antialiased washed out appearance to them:


(it wasn't for a lack of effort either - all but pixel edited them to get it that respectable)

Any tips? (paint shop pro).



 9:24 pm on Jul 2, 2001 (gmt 0)

BT - put the full images somewhere and I'll see if those resolution/sizes can't be sorted out.


 9:42 pm on Jul 2, 2001 (gmt 0)

The only thing I can think of off-hand (that would definitely work) is to leave the font aliased. With the right font, it looks OK, and certainly won't "wash out" like anti-aliasing can do:
You could use the "pixel fonts [atomicmedia.net]" so popular with Flash developers (mentioned in another Graphics thread)... or another option (that I've been using more often lately) is to hunt through your font collection and find one that looks nice without anti-aliasing.

Depending on the output size, I have good luck with Verdana, Trebuchet and Arial.


 9:47 pm on Jul 2, 2001 (gmt 0)

Less power is more power here. Use Microsoft's native pbrush.exe program. Erase the old text, lay on new (Arial 8 pt bold works on at least the fastest plane graphic). Save, exit, post, vrooommmm.


 2:17 am on Jul 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

Those are it FreeBee.

If I try to leave it standard Mivox, it ends up with a bad case of the jaggies. I guess it's either the washed out look, or the jaggies.


 4:54 am on Jul 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

Small text
Set in html (font face="arial" size="1")
Display in Browser
Screen capture
Paste as new file in Image Editor
Overlay existing graphic etc . .


 7:17 am on Jul 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

There's a free plug-in from Extensis called PhotoText that's a big improvement over Photoshop's text capability (5.0 anyway). It'll probably work in PSP - they generally do.



 9:37 pm on Jul 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

BT – break some rules for some interesting results.

Messed about with Thrust SSC using Arial, Verdana, Tahoma. It works best on Arial, without anti-aliasing at 11 pixels regular and bold. Then instead of saving as gif, try jpeg but add “smoothing”. Used Photoshop and Ulead Smartsaver to do the compression.

Result is 8,4kb vs 15kb – I reckon it’s brilliant, my better half reckons my version is positively pathetic...sorry chap!


 12:33 am on Jul 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

Have listened to this thread with MUCH interest. This problem of small texts and anti-aliasing has plagued me since the day I started developing. I have spent more time than I care to admit in trying to achieve those 'professional' looking fonts that you see on some of the more 'funded' and 'stylish' web sites. I have been pulling my hair out over it and had no one to ask about it.

I have tried some the the suggestions above with limited success:

1. Tried the "pixel fonts" - I downloaded the free sample called genetica - I then had to convert the font using another product, as the fonts were not TT. However, the results when I used the new font - in PSP - was not good as the letters did not line up properly.

2. Tried the size 1 html writing in arial and then capturing the screen shot - this is fairly handy as a small difference is noticed in the way the letters are rendered.

3. PBrush.exe (less is more) - could not see any difference between this and PSP so no joy here for me.

4. The extensis plug-in does not work with PSP.

So, as you can imagine, I am becoming highly frustrated. Can anyone help me on this and suggest what might be my problem. Am I using the wrong fonts? I know there are loads out there but I feel bad about paying for them after having bought some which proved to be a waste of time.

Another question - does anyone agree that the mac has the best fonts i.e. helvetica and geneva -

..maybe I need to convert to a MAC - oh please no..:(


 1:58 am on Jul 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

Of course I agree that Mac has the best fonts... and the best everything else... ;)

But any major font (Helvetica, etc.) should be available for both platforms, and Fontographer can convert fonts between platforms if not. At any rate, the idea of actually having to pay for good fonts is not entirely out of the question...

Larger print houses invest HUGE amounts of money on their in-house font libraries. The only reason web designers have been getting off cheap so far is the lack of any wide-spread font embedding technology... why have 5,000 different fonts if your visitors will only be able to see 5 of them?

One idea (untested... for what it's worth) would be to start with a larger resolution file (say 150ppi or higher), write out your text at that resolution, and then try to tweak it back down to web resolution. I always work from 72ppi for graphics, but for detailed font work, perhaps reversing the common wisdom is worth a shot?


 2:07 am on Jul 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

>Am I using the wrong fonts?

stavs, I believe this is a big part of it. I'm a confirmed fontaholic, used to spend hourss going through font archives and downloading.

This thread got me going, I've gone through practically every font on my system, and carefully scrutinized a few of the best I found. I'm in the middle of making some tiny web page buttons that need tiny fonts, and it's been awful getting the text right. It's extra hard with color backgrounds.

I grabbed the text off the first first graphic on that page and checked out a few in PSP6. There's quite a difference in different fonts, looking at smoothness, light or dark, shape, spacing. I did up a rough copy of a page to compare a few:


Don't mess with the text, just look how smooth some are, and how sloppy others are. No help, no matter how much they'd be worked on.

There are people who are professional fontographers, who spend their career in the study and development of fonts - it's a fascinating art. Daniel Will-Harris has some good info and links on the subject; he's one of my favorites:


Probably if someone does a lot of work with certain types of fonts consistently it might pay to buy one or two good quality ones that work well.


 2:14 am on Jul 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hi Mivox

Thanks for your comments.

Just looked at Fontographer - $349 - no thankyou!

I think money may be my problem, we are (and have been) spending in all areas to such a point where I cannot afford to purchase fonts, particularly as you dont know how they will actually look until you try them out.

I always seem to be in need of the perfect font - small, modern, capitalized and condensed.

I suppose if I was convinced of which font I need, I might pay up to $20 for it but there are so many out there.

Does anyone know why pixel fonts dont work on my system unless you use adobe type manager - which, when used, makes the font anti-alias which defeats the object of a pixel font :(


 7:56 am on Jul 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

OK then you guys want small fonts, very small and very clear?

Here ya go :)



 12:45 pm on Jul 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

Black Knight - Many thanks for the link - excellent fonts and all free - superb resource.

It got me thinking about the subject of pixel fonts and I found a MASSIVE list of free pixel font resources:


Think my quest is over :) - Thanks to all contributors.

Just as a last request, does anyone have a converted version of helvetica that I could 'borrow' ;)

Regards, Stavs


 1:33 pm on Jul 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

Black Knight??


 1:36 pm on Jul 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

Sorry about that - all thanks to Knighty - (not Black Knight).

another resource:


I'm on a roll!! :)


 6:46 pm on Jul 5, 2001 (gmt 0)

Just looked at Fontographer - $349 - no thankyou!

Understood... but you can also do a search for mac pc font converter on Google, and come up with a lot of resources for converting True Type fonts between the two platforms. (Oddly, mac windows font converter doesn't turn out nearly so well...)

More on font conversion going on in this thread [webmasterworld.com]...


 8:24 am on Jul 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

I haven't seen the Silkscreen font mentioned here, so I thought I'd let you knwo about it.

I use it loads, although it has problems if used natively in Flash. And it's free, which is nice :



 3:55 pm on Nov 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

newnewbie posted about this topic again, so it is due to get revisited to see if anyone has any more ideas.


 4:33 pm on Nov 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

the idea about capturing a sreenshot of small text in the browser mentioned above:

try using netscape for an even small size!

okay, not the tip of the century, but may help someone ;).


 6:08 pm on Nov 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

Photoshop now offers four choices for anti-aliasing: none, crisp, strong and smooth. It's worth playing around with these options, if you have them. Different results on different fonts at different sizes.


 6:14 pm on Nov 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

I've noticed that "crisp" and "smooth" are almost identical in most cases, and "strong" gives you a subtle bold effect... Very interesting to see how the effects change at different type sizes though!

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