[mythtv-users] Want to help put the musical notes in captions?
Michael T. Dean
mtdean at thirdcontact.com
Thu May 17 20:47:55 UTC 2007
Ever been watching a show with captions enabled and noticed--as a song
starts playing--little square boxes around the words of the song? They
are there because the default fonts used by MythTV for captions--fonts
from the FreeFont package ( http://www.nongnu.org/freefont/ )--have no
glyphs for the appropriate characters. As a matter of fact, many
(most?) of the available free fonts have no glyphs for these characters
(including the Bitstream Vera fonts and more).
So, to make Myth look a bit more polished--now that captions are working
so well--I'd like to improve the font we're using. I have everything I
need to add the glyphs to the font--with the exception of the artistic
ability required to create good images to use for the glyphs.
Therefore, I'm asking anyone with any artistic talent who wants to see
"professional-looking" captions to create some images that could be
added as glyphs to the FreeFont fonts. If you're interested in helping,
please say so in a response to this message and let us know how much you
plan to do (which glyphs, which fonts, ...). You can e-mail images
directly to me (address at
http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/engine?user=1296;list=mythtv ). I
can post images on my website for feedback if you want. In the event
that multiple people create images for the same fonts I'll solicit
general feedback to help choose the best, but it's probably more
efficient for people to volunteer their efforts on specific tasks. And,
since all the fonts are in the same family, we'll need to maintain
Note, also, that there's no need to wait for your distribution to
include the updated fonts--you can copy them to the right place and
start using them by simply restarting the frontend--so you get quick
(although not necessarily immediate) gratification. :)
If others have found other free fonts (i.e. Bitstream Vera or whatever)
to be nicer for captions, I'm happy to help fix those up, too. However,
I really want to fix up the MythTV default fonts first (and I don't
think we can change to Bitstream Vera because of its license).
Missing Unicode Character/Name
266B/Beamed Eighth Note
266C/Beamed Sixteenth Notes
266D/Music Flat Sign
266E/Music Natural Sign
266F/Music Sharp Sign
If others have noticed other characters appearing in captions that are
lacking glyphs (i.e. you see square boxes and you know what they should
be), please let us know and we might be able to "fix" them,
too--especially if said person who noticed the box creates some glyphs.
:) The font covers ISO 10646/Unicode UCS (Universal Character Set), so
it's not a US-English-only thing.
FreeMono (distributed with Myth)
FreeSansBold (distributed with Myth)
FreeSans (distributed with Myth)
See http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U2600.pdf , page 4 for examples.
I put up a page showing the "examples" I used to create a test font (
http://misc.thirdcontact.com/MythCaptionFont/ ). Once I put the test
font in my /usr/local/share/mythtv directory and changed the caption
font (in TV Playback settings--I didn't replace the originals), I was
able to see my ugly little eighth note during the CSI theme song. I'm
not yet posting my test font as I really want it to have good glyphs,
first. As you can see from my examples, they're neither "sans" nor
"serif", so they need some serious artistic work. But I mention the
test as proof that my plan will work.
Note that the FreeFont fonts are GPL-licensed fonts, so it's important
that the image is licensed appropriately. In other words, please be
careful with any stock images you might use.
To do this right, we'll need images for all the fonts in the FreeFont
package (monospaced, sans serif, and serif fonts each in regular, bold,
italic or oblique, and bold-italic or bold-oblique styles). And each
should be made to "fit in" with the other glyphs in the font (i.e. no
"ransom note" look :). Myth distributes only three fonts, so those are
the most important, but if we can create glyphs for all the fonts, I can
probably get them added to the upstream distribution (so everyone can
Most any image format is acceptable (as long as I can read it with
GIMP). Vector formats could be used directly (EPS, SVG, GLIF, XFig, but
I prefer EPS, SVG or GLIF). For raster formats, I'll need to trace the
image, so it should be at least 100-pixels high, preferrably more, to
create a good outline. (The FreeFont fonts use 1000 units per em. I
got pretty good results from images about 300-pixels high.) Also, if
you can create all the images such that when scaled to 1000 units high,
the glyph is in the proper place (i.e. include appropriate whitespace
and for proportional fonts, please choose the appropriate width), that
would make me far less likely to corrupt your vision of perfection. :)
Disclaimer: I am neither an artist nor a typographer nor a musician (so
my examples may be musically incorrect). I have no skills in any of
those areas. However, I really want the musical notes in my captions.
If someone has skills/experience as a typographer he/she is welcome to
lead the effort. Otherwise, artists, I'm sure I can make your images a
useful addition to the fonts.
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