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Using custom fonts in iBooks Author

963 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Jan 15, 2013 2:18 PM by Tom Gewecke RSS
rajeshfrompalo alto Calculating status...
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Jan 13, 2013 12:02 AM

I have a book in South Asian (Indic) script. The encoding is Unicode. I wanted to see how different fonts would look on iPad. Using iBook Author i created two different versions of the book. One used Gujarati MT, Apple supplied font. The second used open source TTF font. It checked out fine by MacOS when I installed it. The rendering of conjuncts (which would use additional glyph present in the font file) on iBook Author  looks good. When I use "preview" function of iBook Author to see how the content would look on iPad, conjuncts dont use special glyph but only standard character (I guess GSUB is not utilized). I tried the same experiment with Arial Unicode MS and Shruti both are standard fonts provided under Windows. it appears that only Apple supplied fonts have correct glyph substitution on iPad.

 

Is there a way to fix it?

If the issue is with iBook Author, I can use another software. My book is plain text so Author is an overkill. I was using it to test embedding of custom fonts because Author is easy to use.

If the issue is missing definition in the font that is required by iPad rendering engine, I can get the font author to enhance the font.

 

I attach four images. First two are from iBook Author where rendering is correct. The next two are from iPad where rendering using non Apple font is messed up.

Gujarati MT on MacOS iBook Author screen shot.pngPadmaa on MacOS iBook Author screen shot.pngGujarati MT on ipad.pngPadmaa on iPad.png

iPad (3rd gen) Wi-Fi, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,865 points)
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    Jan 13, 2013 5:12 AM (in response to rajeshfrompalo alto)

    OS X and Windows use different technologies (AAT vs OpenType) for handling complex Indic scripts, and in general you must use the Apple-supplied fonts to get correct display on an Apple device.  Fonts supplied with Windows or which you download from the internet will not work right (except possibly in the TextEdit app).

     

    The important thing is not what app you use to create the file, but how things are displayed by iBooks on the iPad.  I think you have to use the Apple font.

     

    When testing, make sure you also try exporting to the .ibooks format and reading that in iBooks.

  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,865 points)
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    Jan 13, 2013 5:43 AM (in response to rajeshfrompalo alto)

    rajeshfrompalo alto wrote:

     

     

    If the issue is missing definition in the font that is required by iPad rendering engine, I can get the font author to enhance the font.

     

    PS  That might be an option if the font author knows how to create an AAT version of the font just like Gujarati MT.

  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,865 points)
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    Jan 13, 2013 8:31 AM (in response to rajeshfrompalo alto)

    PSS I see that iBooks Author now does support Windows Indic fonts, even though Pages (with which iBA shares large amounts of its code)  does not.  Unfortunately the iOS iBooks app still behaves like Pages.

  • K T Level 7 Level 7 (23,215 points)
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    Jan 13, 2013 9:05 AM (in response to Tom Gewecke)

    It's not iBooks...it's iOS.

  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,865 points)
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    Jan 13, 2013 11:28 AM (in response to K T)

    K T wrote:

     

    It's not iBooks...it's iOS.

     

    You may well be right.  Unfortunately there's no way to test it by adding a Windows Indic font to iOS and then seeing whether Pages or Notes or some other app can use it properly.  Safari can use embedded fonts like iBooks does and it behaves the same way in this particular area.

  • K T Level 7 Level 7 (23,215 points)
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    Jan 13, 2013 11:36 AM (in response to Tom Gewecke)

    The point, I think, is to not count on iBooks or iOS Pages to change unless iOS changes.

     

    As a dev I can add custom fonts to iOS for my apps, with certain caveats, leading me to put the burden on the font package and not so much iOS, which at least for my purposes has so far proven capable for my particular font needs. If I need a certain font and the one at hand doesn't comply, I move on and look for another.

     

    Bottom line....use modern, iOS-compatible fonts that offer a specific name for 'preferred family'.

  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,865 points)
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    Jan 13, 2013 12:45 PM (in response to rajeshfrompalo alto)

    rajeshfrompalo alto wrote:

     

    Is comment about enhancing the font to support AAT still relevant? Are you saying that iOS needs those AAT extension that macOS does not need? Is this mostly around MORX table?

     

    iOS (and OS X) comes with two Gujarati fonts, Gujarati MT and Gujarati Sangam MN.  So the easiest thing to do is to use one of those.   Other platforms will probably have their own default Gujarati fonts with different names.

     

    If you want to embed a different Gujarati font in your .ibooks format book, then you will indeed have to convert that font from OpenType to AAT before iBooks will display it correctly.   It's not true that OS X no longer needs AAT Indic fonts -- Pages for example still cannot use Opentype Indic fonts.

     

    To convert an Opentype Indic font to an AAT Indic font I think someone will have to add a morx table along the lines of what is contained in Gujarati MT.

     

    Bear in mind that iBooks Author creates a format that can only be read on an iPad (unless you want to export to PDF).  If you want to produce books for all platforms and readers, then you need to use .epub format and a different app, like Pages or Indesign.   With epub format you would probably not normally try to embed fonts but just  rely on the reader to supply whatever Gujarati font is already on the device.

  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,865 points)
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    Jan 15, 2013 4:52 AM (in response to rajeshfrompalo alto)

    rajeshfrompalo alto wrote:

     

    Since the readers don't have local Gujarati font

     

    All iOS devices and OS X devices do have local Gujarati fonts, so no embedding is needed for them.  

     

    I would expect all modern Windows devices to have such a local font as well, but I don't have any to test.

     

    If you need info on embeddig fonts in epub, a google search will generate quite a few articles, like

     

    http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com/2011/04/embedding-fonts-in-epub-ipad-iphone-an d.html

  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,865 points)
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    Jan 15, 2013 2:18 PM (in response to rajeshfrompalo alto)

    rajeshfrompalo alto wrote:

     

    I am going o get the font developer to extend the font

     

    One developer I know of who is expert with AAT fonts is

     

    http://www.xenotypetech.com/

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