Friday, May 21, 2010 Dina TTF

If you're looking for the Dina TTF Download, it's here.

zvolkov asked what's different about the Dina TTF from the version at
The way I created the TTF version of Dina is really just a big hack. True Type Fonts are composed of vectors that describe the font instead of a pixel by pixel drawing of a bitmap font. However there is a feature of True Type Fonts that allow Bitmap Font information to be embedded. See here under the East Asian Text heading. I embedded the 8pt, 9pt, and 10pt raster fonts which is why the font only works at those sizes.
I don't actually know how Nathan did it but I would venture to guess that he opened the Dina.fon file with a program like Font Forge, let it approximate the Vectors, tweaked it until he got it to a usable state then generated the .TTF. This created a "true" TTF font which has good and bad aspects.
The Good
  • It's Scalable. This is one of the primary features of TTF. The geenat version works at 6pt to 72pt+.
  • It's available in a wider range of programs.Not every text rendering API supports the bitmap font embedding. I noticed Java Swing on Windows doesn't render the embedded version. 
The Bad
  • Scaling at many sizes causes visual artifacts to appear. At smaller sizes many of the lines blur together.

  • Anti Alias/ClearType: Bitmap fonts do not anti alias or get clear type applied to them. They are strictly monochrome, the color doesn't have to black of course but there is no lightened color in the angles to provide a soft look. Bitmap fonts are designed for this and they tend to look a little funny when these effects are applied.Visual Studio 2002-2008 will always apply these effects according to the Windows Settings. It would be great if Windows was more granular and could apply different settings on a per app basis or even by window class. Here are some examples:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Visual Studio Color Scheme Gallery

Pretty new site with user submitted VS (2005-2010) Color Schemes downloadable in .vssettings format. People can vote on them too. This site was sorely needed especially after Ning screwed over IDE Hot or Not.

It also includes a web based editor that is way more intuitive than the one in the options screen of Visual Studio. I have both a light and dark scheme I intend to submit.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dina font for Visual Studio 2010

Updated: I've verified it works with VS2010 Release as well.
Thanks to the hard work of Erik Olofsson decoding the mystery of Embedded Bitmap Fonts I was able to convert one of my all time favorite programming fonts Dina into TTF usable by Visual Studio. The beauty of this technique is that it preserves the bitmap glyphs perfectly and the text rendering does not try to apply anti-aliasing or cleartype. See?

Visual Studio 2010
*bonus* I found that this font can also be used with any .NET application (WPF or Windows Forms) that normally can't handle raster fonts. Here's Dina used as the Grid font for SQL Server Management Studio

Download from my File Cabinet If anyone wants to re-host this file let me know and I'll update the link

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cool motion blur

I ran across this picture while backing up Katie's phone. It's of me and Gracie at the vet. Gracie was just a tiny baby here and apparently I'm headbanging. The motion blur is pretty neat looking. It almost makes me look like I have Donald Trump hair.
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