Photoshop: Improve font antialiasing

Please please please add sub pixel aliasing to fonts! When creating a mock UI I can never make it look great, especially when working with body text / smaller fonts.
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  • Chris Cox (Sr. Computer Scientist) April 06, 2011 00:03
    I truly hope that you mean antialiasing.

    And by "subpixel" antialiasing - do you mean CoolType/ClearType color filter antialiasing that everyone is abandoning? It only works if you know the exact layout of the color components of the display being used (and never rotate the display), and doesn't apply across different displays. Newer displays will be making that style of antialiasing even more difficult to support -- so OS vendors are quickly moving away from it.
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    • Chris Cox (Sr. Computer Scientist) April 06, 2011 03:51
      We're already using a more recent version of that same type engine (and have been since Photoshop 4 or so).
    • Chris: d'oh... I wish I had access to the length FR discussion from 2-3 years ago... you were a big contributor to the discussion, and many good points were raised... so forget about my ATM comments... still, some improvements would be nice to the (small) font rendering.
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  • 2
    yes, antialiasing. I did mean the clear type but wasn't aware people were abandoning it. Forgetting the technical terminology, basically I want body text on photoshop to look as good as it does on Webkit. :-)
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  • 3
    I posted this request for previous PS releases, I think way back for the CS3 release, basically asking for a more OS-like or browser-like font rendering, especially for people who need to mock-up websites and other interfaces. I am glad that this request have come up again, and it would be great to see this in PS CS6, especially since I heard the same reasoning why it couldn't be done back then.
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  • 2
    Check out Flash's new TLF font rendering. It's subpixel and it's awesome. 9pt Arial looks sharp and legible. Adobe should just use the same font rendering engine for Photoshop.
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    • What if you made it optional? The same way there's multiple rendering options such as sharp, crisp, strong, and smooth.

      Or is there a way to at least fake it like there's a faux bold and faux italic?

      Not sure if any of these options goes against what you just said.
    • There's a way to fake it with this script here: http://www.tutorial9.net/tutorials/ph... but honestly, I don't see enough of a difference.
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    I support the idea of adding features that make it possible to render text as per ClearType.

    Comments that "it's becoming obsolete" seem short-sighted.

    There are specific uses for this today, regardless of whether it generates text that might look wrong on some monitors.

    I've even gone so far as to render type in WordPad then screen grab it on the occasions where I've needed a rasterized version that looks proper on LCD monitors with RGB orientation.

    Before you start questioning why, don't forget that there can be times when things already captured need to be matched!

    -Noel
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  • Custom settings for for text render:

    < Soft Light — Smooth — Hard Pixel >

    This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
    Subpixel text render.
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  • 1
    Today, i was starting to design webpage in CS5
    and saw horrible issue! This feature must have in CS6
    Smth like additional option "subpixel-sharp" in Antialias drop menu near Sharp Crisp etc
    See pic below
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  • A question also worth asking: Do you see the same disparity with IE or Firefox?

    -Noel
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  • 1
    Second try! I made another test, it looks like font Arial in Cyrilic not properly aligned
    By reading other forums ( http://graphicdesign.stackexchange.co... )
    It is due ClearType antialiasing, and due some patent issues. Are there any other workarounds ? Seems like Adobe Flash guys with TLF Text antialiasing solved that problem

    Here is test 2

    • It looks like Adobe PS team just does not want to ever implement this wonderful subpixel rendering technology. I bet it's too much of work for the little benefit or something.

      Either way, I hope high resolution displays start arrive fast because there is no need for *any sort of anti-aliasing* in those displays. :)
    • Chris Cox (Sr. Computer Scientist) September 09, 2012 20:38
      Or we have investigated it and figured out why it doesn't work in an image editor, and talked to the OS vendors about why they are abandoning the concept. Yes, it would be a lot of work, for no or negative benefit.
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  • 2
    Chris, I think it's clear that there is public demand for subpixel rendering of smaller text (9px-13px).

    Everyone who creates mockups for the web (72 dpi) needs this and the demand is not going to go away.

    Regardless of the reasons why it can't be done we insist you find a way. We don't care if you need to create a new file format or image mode. We don't care if it will only be compatible with certain monitors or operating systems. Web designers are chomping at the bit for this feature more than anything else in CS6.
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  • Chris Cox (Sr. Computer Scientist) April 14, 2012 01:38
    Has anyone looked at Photoshop CS6 type antialiasing?
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  • 1
    I have. They're all good, and I'm not sure which I like best.

    While you don't have options for ClearType-style color-assisted font smoothing, the smoothing you have implemented looks very nice.

    How have you changed it between Ps CS5 and CS6?



    -Noel
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    • Something I don't understand is "OS vendors are moving away". Windows still uses it and has used it for ages. When we start to have high resolution monitors the demand for any sort of anti-aliasing will be gone, but there will always be a place for ClearType on Windows for non-high resolution displays.
    • Windows 8's Internet Explorer 10 does not use color-precompensated subpixel antialiasing. See the post immediately below for screenshots clearly showing this.

      I queried Microsoft specifically on this and they responded that it's being done on purpose, but would not say why. I am only left to assume that it's being done to more easily facilitate rotation on a tablet display. It does degrade the user experience for folks with mere 100 ppi desktop monitors.

      Note that as higher resolution displays (think "Retina display") become ubiquitous, tricks like the color-precompensation to allow the font to light up just 1 or 2 of the 3 LCD color bars won't be needed. There will simply be enough resolution that either the grayscale smoothing or even no smoothing at all will be required as it will be done optically.

      -Noel
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  • I understand completely about the color filter antialiasing. I note that IE10 doesn't do it at all, though the rest of Windows 8 still does. Frankly I think it seems a bit silly that the OS makers are driving away from this - it's a little too soon. I don't blame you for not implementing it for image prep though - one simply can't know what the target monitor is like.

    If only the hardware makers would provide us with 200+ ppi display options on real monitors, because the color filter antialiasing really DOES work when there's insufficient resolution... Right now we just don't have an alternative.

    Consider the following blow-ups and actual macro photos of same as displayed at original size on my monitor:





    If that doesn't make it obvious (to the OS makers) why color filter antialiasing is still needed on today's monitors, I don't know what would. Maybe they figure a demand for better monitors will emerge if they stop compensating.

    -Noel
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    • All good points, but...

      It's better to eliminate the complexity rather than just make the tech work right? Is this the theme of the new millenium? "It's too difficult, just forget it." Sad if true.

      Who's to say it wouldn't make a high resolution display look even better? When did "what's not obvious won't hurt you" become the proper philosophy?

      Here's hoping the next few years really do bring 200+ ppi displays.

      You realize you really are going to have to fix the Photoshop menus to be resizeable, don't you? :)

      -Noel
    • Chris Cox (Sr. Computer Scientist) April 14, 2012 19:47
      The complexity can get too large to manage, and the tech can't always work well (like in image editors that don't know the final layout).
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  • 1
    I was hoping for better anti alias options in CS6. The problem isn't really sub-pixel sampling at all. It's more the blurriness of the fonts. Windows cleartype shows the fonts pixel-perfect, not blurred.

    See the attached image. First is Photoshop crisp (or sharp I forgot). Second is roughly retouched by me to make the font more pixel-perfect (but far from perfect ;-).
    • Chris Cox (Sr. Computer Scientist) July 26, 2012 22:03
      And Photoshop CS6 does have better font antialiasing.

      But Windows snaps the font stems to pixel boundaries, resulting in distorted but sharper type in some cases. (and they get dinged all the time for the bad composition and spacing)

      Photoshop's font engine does a little bit of that, but errs on the side of overall composition and appearance rather than making each letter sharp.
    • I understad, but for web-previews this still would be very useful :-)
      It will likely take 5 years or more before 'retina' displays become common.
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  • When I use the type tool on Photoshop CS6 for Mac OS X, I can never get the text's anti-aliasing to look exactly like the system's (some of the options look similar, but ultimately doesn't 'feel' the same as that on OS X). Below is a comparison:


    Is it possible an additional smoothing option labelled perhaps "System" could be added?

    This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
    Photoshop on OS X: Add a new "System" font-smoothing option?.
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  • The system anti-aliasing for type has been enhanced in Photoshop CC: http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/usin... anti-aliasing option for type
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