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Type 1 to TrueType

For the first test, we each converted the New Century Schoolbook Roman Type 1 font with both Metamorphosis Professional and FontMonger. Dave had the following comments on his results.

"The real difference between the FontMonger outlines and the Metamorphosis Professional outlines shows up at small point sizes such as 4 to 8 points at 300 dpi on a DeskJet. The Metamorphosis Professional outlines are markedly heavier at all point sizes. To my eye, the FontMonger outlines seem to have a much more even appearance at this point size. The vertical stems, diagonals, and horizontal cross-members remain consistently proportioned at each point size. Another oddity – I just noticed that the vertical stem of the "t" in the Metamorphosis Professional conversion is heavier at 6 points than it is at 7 or 8 points! Weird!" (I noticed this as well.)

For my half of the test, I created a document of a text waterfall from 4 point to 18 point in both upper and lower-case characters. (A waterfall is a document containing text at increasingly larger point sizes for each line.) I then printed out the same document with the same font on the GCC BLP IIS and the GCC PLP IIS. For the same font, with font rasterizers from the same company, the original Type 1 font printed out surprisingly differently on the two printers which share the same hardware engine. The sample from the PostScript printer had consistently thicker line weights than the ATM rasterized type. For comparison, I printed the TrueType conversions on the same GCC PLP IIS rasterized with System 7’s TrueType engine. I then took the four printouts around to ten people who varied from end-users to graphic designers. The results? 8 votes for Metamorphosis, 2 for FontMonger.

More interesting than the results, though, were the various comments on the printouts. A number of times, people commented that both programs’ TrueType conversions were better than the original Type 1 fonts (chalk one up for Apple, Altsys, and Ares). The leading on FontMonger’s conversion was much larger than on the Type 1 originals – Ares chose the conservative route to prevent two lines from colliding. The leading on Metamorphosis Professional’s conversion was slightly smaller than the original, but did, in fact, have the problem with lines colliding. Regardless, the problem with leading isn’t a major one since most layout applications allow independent control of line-spacing. FontMonger produced thinner and more delicate strokes for the converted font – it looked very similar to the Type 1 rasterized with ATM. Metamorphosis Professional, on the other hand, produced thicker strokes, resembling the Type 1 rasterized on the PostScript printer.

Contrary to what Dave found, I thought that the color (uniformity and weight of the line of text) of FontMonger’s conversion tended to break down at small point sizes (4-6 point at 300 dpi) as a result of its thinner strokes, though these sizes seldom print well at 300 dpi anyway. Metamorphosis Professional seemed to hold its uniformity better at those sizes. Both fonts looked fine, though, once you reached 9-12 point sizes. By the time you reached 18 point, it was very hard to tell the difference. Most of the other comments were individual preferences for this letter vs. that letter in the two conversions – preferences there varied widely.

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