Jump to content

 
Photo

Dynamic letter spacing in Illustrator

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1
Peter B

Peter B

    Newbie

  • Validated Member
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • No Country Selected

Hi,

I'm learning Illustrator, with Freehand background.

Now I'd like to create names which are spread along a path letter by letter. There is a partial solution, if I have only one word in the name: I can set the paragraph to "justify all lines", and then, as the name is the single word on the single line, it is spread nicely. But if there are more than one words in the name, then only the spaces are growing. I'm looking for something like a "letter justify". (I'm not sure if I'm using the correct terms.)

Other similar problem: if I have a simple type object (not on a path), and I resize the envelope, I don't want the font's size to be changed in any ways, but the letter and baseline spacing. Is it possible?

(Both of these worked in Freehand.)

Thanks!
Peter

#2
frax

frax

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,308 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stockholm, Sweden
  • Interests:music, hiking, friends, nature, photography, traveling. and maps!
  • Sweden

I am not sure exactly what you are after in your first question, but I would play with the different options in the character palette (not the paragraph palette) - there you can justify the word spacing as well as the letter spacing.

For you second issue, maybe you should try area type instead? That doesn't change the letter and baseline spacing though - I don't think you can do what you are asking for. Personally I hate point type, and I try to use area type wherever possible - I like to have my fonts in specific classes with specified sizes, with point type they easily are all over the map...
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
Twitter

#3
Peter B

Peter B

    Newbie

  • Validated Member
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • No Country Selected

Hi,

I am not sure exactly what you are after in your first question, but I would play with the different options in the character palette (not the paragraph palette) - there you can justify the word spacing as well as the letter spacing.

Yep, I found that, and the setting of the letter spacing does the trick, but it's really a pain to set it up manually, so that a text on the path fits the whole path. I'm attaching a picture, that makes it more clear what I'm thinking about.

- I like to have my fonts in specific classes with specified sizes, with point type they easily are all over the map...

I like it too, that's why I don't want the size of the font to be changed, just the spacing, so it still fits a given area.

So here is the picture:
Attached File  illustrator_text_on_path.png   19.44KB   36 downloads

These are four objects, all selected. The first one is an area text, and after entering "United States", a chose "Fit headline" from the Type menu, and that sets the letter spacing, so that the line fits the width of the area. It's nice, but it's still not automatic: if I'm resizing the area, or changing the text, I have to reset the letter spacing, and use the "Fit headline" again.

The second is a simple type on path, aligned to left. The third is justified, with "Justify all lines", but as there is two words in the line, only the space between them is expanded.

The fourth is just like the third, but with just one word, so it is expanding the letter spacing to fit the line to the available area. Now that is the effect that I am looking for. But in a way that works with multiple words on a path too.

I hope my problem is clear now :)

Thanks,
Peter

#4
frax

frax

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,308 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stockholm, Sweden
  • Interests:music, hiking, friends, nature, photography, traveling. and maps!
  • Sweden

I would try to post this on the Adobe Illustrator Forum. It is not possible to do in Illy, out-of-the-box, but there are some truly smart people on that forum, that knows how to push the boundaries (using e.g. javascript).
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
Twitter

#5
BEAVER

BEAVER

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 185 posts
  • Location:Middletown, NY
  • United States

I would try to post this on the Adobe Illustrator Forum. It is not possible to do in Illy, out-of-the-box, but there are some truly smart people on that forum, that knows how to push the boundaries (using e.g. javascript).

Where is the best Illustrator forum?

#6
frax

frax

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,308 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stockholm, Sweden
  • Interests:music, hiking, friends, nature, photography, traveling. and maps!
  • Sweden

I am not sure about the best forum, I mostly watch the Adobe User to User Forums: http://www.adobeforu...webx/.3bbf2755/, and that is what I was referring to.
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
Twitter

#7
Unit Seven

Unit Seven

    Legendary Contributor

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 266 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Zealand
  • New Zealand

Appears you can't have a non-breaking space in Illy and setting the space to be non breaking in the character palette doesn't help any.

How about creating a hyphen with no fill or outline and copying and pasting this to replace the spaces? Although I imagine this would mess up indexing if required. Perhaps use an underscore as this would be an easy find and replace in the index.
S a m B r o w n

U N I T S E V E N
unit.seven@gmail.com

Miramar, Wellington
N E W Z E A L A N D

#8
Adam Wilbert

Adam Wilbert

    Legendary Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 274 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bellingham, WA, USA
  • United States

To get what you're looking for in the first part of your question, start with the text set to "full justify" as you have in the last "United States" example. Then click the fly-out options menu on the paragraph panel, and select "Justification." In the dialog box that comes up, change the Letter Spacing maximum from 0% to 100%. You're golden!

Attached File  justification.jpg   43.41KB   48 downloads

Setting this option also solves your second question about a regular type object, assuming its an "area" type object and not "point" type object. To create area type, click and drag out a text box before typing. If you just click once and start typing, Illustrator creates a point type object. I might be wrong, but I don't think there is an easy way to convert point type to area type or vice versa.

PS: The Adobe User to User forums are a mess. As a company that caters to graphic designers and usability experts, I can't image the shame that Adobe must (hopefully) feel about hosting those! If anyone has a favorite Illustrator forum, I'd also like to hear recommendations!

Adam Wilbert
CartoGaia.com & AdamWilbert.com
Lynda.com author of "Up and Running with ArcGIS"


#9
frax

frax

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,308 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stockholm, Sweden
  • Interests:music, hiking, friends, nature, photography, traveling. and maps!
  • Sweden

Adam, thanks for correcting me on how to do this, you always learn something!
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
Twitter

#10
Andrew Patterson

Andrew Patterson

    Key Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 99 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Toronto, ON
  • Canada

To get what you're looking for in the first part of your question, start with the text set to "full justify" as you have in the last "United States" example. Then click the fly-out options menu on the paragraph panel, and select "Justification." In the dialog box that comes up, change the Letter Spacing maximum from 0% to 100%. You're golden!


Wow, that's quite a handy trick to know! I'm going to pass that along to our the guy who does our labeling engine, it might be a future option in MAPublisher :) Thanks!

Setting this option also solves your second question about a regular type object, assuming its an "area" type object and not "point" type object. To create area type, click and drag out a text box before typing. If you just click once and start typing, Illustrator creates a point type object. I might be wrong, but I don't think there is an easy way to convert point type to area type or vice versa.


There isn't even an easy way to do it in code, really. Incidentally, the internal terms for the three types of text are 'point text', 'text-on-a-path' and 'text-in-a-path' -- the latter being the 'area' text you're talking about. To convert them in code you'd basically have to create a new piece of text & copy the text contents & styling -- there's no way to just switch the type & nothing else. Not unlike, really, how you'd do it in userland frankly.

PS: The Adobe User to User forums are a mess. As a company that caters to graphic designers and usability experts, I can't image the shame that Adobe must (hopefully) feel about hosting those! If anyone has a favorite Illustrator forum, I'd also like to hear recommendations!


They are quite bad, but I've been trying to build up the AI SDK forum. Not that I think that's much relevant for most of the users on this forum ;)
Andrew Patterson
Lead Software Architect
Avenza Systems Inc.

email: andrew@avenza.com
phone: 416.487.5116

#11
Rick Dey

Rick Dey

    Legendary Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 302 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Santa Rosa, CA
  • Interests:Illustrator, MAPublisher, GIS, Street Maps
  • United States

That is a great tip.
Now can someone explain to me the bizzare activity that occurs when using letter spacing in the Type on a Path Option?
Rick Dey

#12
mike

mike

    Legendary Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 320 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Toronto, ON
  • Canada

Nice tip! Thanks!

#13
natcase

natcase

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 572 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Interests:cartography
    aeshetics
    cartographic design
    John Bartholomew
    road maps
    large-scale mapping
  • United States

Setting this option also solves your second question about a regular type object, assuming its an "area" type object and not "point" type object. To create area type, click and drag out a text box before typing. If you just click once and start typing, Illustrator creates a point type object. I might be wrong, but I don't think there is an easy way to convert point type to area type or vice versa.


There isn't even an easy way to do it in code, really. Incidentally, the internal terms for the three types of text are 'point text', 'text-on-a-path' and 'text-in-a-path' -- the latter being the 'area' text you're talking about. To convert them in code you'd basically have to create a new piece of text & copy the text contents & styling -- there's no way to just switch the type & nothing else. Not unlike, really, how you'd do it in userland frankly.


You can't shortcut it (because it's a scripts), but I use Nathaniel Kelso's script for "convert to point type" daily. He also has one for convert to area type and a bunch more besides. Yay Nathaniel!

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#14
Andrew Patterson

Andrew Patterson

    Key Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 99 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Toronto, ON
  • Canada

You can't shortcut it (because it's a scripts), but I use Nathaniel Kelso's script for "convert to point type" daily. He also has one for convert to area type and a bunch more besides. Yay Nathaniel!


Yeah, those are nice scripts, but reading them illustrates my point: if you look at how he does it, he does it by copying the text into new artwork. You can't change an artwork's type once it's been created, and Illustrator treats point text, text-on-a-path & text-in-a-path as different types of art. I find it amusing how easy it is to convert to area text contrasted with the amount of hoops you have to jump through to emulate either text-in/on-a-path as point text -- just look at the difference in those two scripts!
Andrew Patterson
Lead Software Architect
Avenza Systems Inc.

email: andrew@avenza.com
phone: 416.487.5116




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

-->