gesturing paths → introduction

gesturing paths → introduction

Main intro

Rediscovering fonts through their skeleton, the gesture of the body and their translation by digital tools.
The starting point for this worksession is the notion of skeleton, line, path and stroke. This approach of drawing interests us particularly because it returns without any doubt to the first ever trace of movement: the line left on the soft ground by the movement of a part of the body, and then of a tool. Are then immediately brought into play gesture, body, movement, distance, constraint, tool and then the trace and with it the possibility of reading.
As a technical construction, intellectual and cultural, software embodies specific conceptions of the objects they manipulate (here, stroke and shape). The PostScript programming language, commonly used in fonts, describe glyphs by their outline rather than by their skeleton, hence leading to a particular conception of the letter. The Metafont language rather describes the skeleton of the letter, trying to return to the gesture of the hand and the thickness of the nib.


Clone the project:
git clone

A list of potential exercises : 

Pre-intro notes

Notes for the intro for Gijs, Pierre & Colm

Nice to be after “Can it Scale to the Universe?” because we could be an example of how to scale toghether.
Proposing small blocks, then modules, then piping these toghether, to build  bigger blocks that would end up being characters, then again the building blocks for an alphabet.
Shapes and their awareness. The example of the letter A: three lines, bound together through their bones.
Then bringing this idea to look at a text, in a bigger typographic sense.
Decision to go on a Q&A model, lead by Gijs. Involving all and displaying the mindset for the workshop/worksession.

Presentation notes

Simon Egli : previous work with Metafont

Working as groups within the workshop, instead of individual works.
Sébastiens project: working on a model of cartographic drawings, a metafont without the Metafont program.

Raster images with Metafont!!!

[Executes two actions with two softwares one after the other, only if the first works; thr first one transforms the file into postscript (the extension is not in the name of the file but it is a poscript), the second one will open the latter]
mpost && evince drawG.1[Opens the file in a text editor in the terminal]
nano[It opens a text-editor in the terminal, you can edit]
[At the bottom of the file are a series of commands (ex: ^G Get Help)]
[To quit] ^X 
[It asks if you would like to save?] 
[Yes: save and quit] Y
[Where you want to save it, under which name]

To push the modified files back to the Git, see [[cheat-sheet::git]].

From MetaPost to Metafont

FYI the files reffered to are located in the “Gesture” folder at the base of the “relearn.gesturing-paths.git”.

How do we integrate and pipe our glyphs into a font format to use in TeX or even Open Type Font?
Weve been drawing our glyphs using MetaPost to enable EPS outputs to see our results.
To translate the .mp files into .mf files, the syntax is basically the same.
The basic idea is that you package all of your glyphs inside a file named
The specificities of a font (glyph size, brush options) can be determined in this file, or they can be determined one by one inside each glyph file.
All the glyph specifics are specified inside their own .mf file, so the structure:

Draw glyphs (you could use metapost to check your glyphs) and save as
Specify sizes inside and include all of your glyphs using input

input a input b input A input B
This now can be used inside TeX and all of its brothers and sisters.
Also, note that the mf2pt1 package can be used to convert Metafont files to Postscript Type1 fonts.
Youll need to meet the requirements and install the package located here:

The script will need to be modified as follows:
In the section# Create a FontForge script file.

Then running this command will output your font file otf/ttf:

Sometimes when youre overwritting the same .mf file and export it as a font over and over, it doesnt seems to change, so its better to delete the .tfm file after you create a new version.
It can be done by: 
rm file.tfmOr directly in the same command line while youre creating the font files:
rm file.tfm && perl
To generate the .eps files of the font that youre creating in Metafont file:
mpost "&mfplain \mode=localfont; mag=100.375; input"

So much to say

A first time in Python. Thank you Eleanor for your patience.

With bits and pieces of other codes, this script manages to get the amount of characters from web pages and translate it to a visual graphic. For instance from the three main workshops of this week:

Once the figures are added for each workshop they are scaled down to allow these figures to become coordinates.
These coordinates, spread horizontally one next to the other, are transformed by MetaPost (mpost) and generates an image.
The next step that I didnt work out was to change automatically the name file, using the date, so that this script could be run every day, or every hour and generate a new image.

The Python script and first genarated images are in the Git repository of Gesturing Paths.;a=blob_plain;f=iceberg/SoMuchToSay-Screenshot+from+2013-08-30+10:10:52.png;

*Multi-drawing/Git merging

What we say

The latest 10 commits, excluding the merges. There is a delay of an hour…