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  #1  
Old 12-28-2021, 04:02 PM
Laurence Finston Laurence Finston is offline
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Lettering

This is something which also has an application to paper modelling.

Over the years, I've occasionally done some work involving lettering and I've been doing some again, lately.

I've made two YouTube videos of animations using letters and uploaded them in the last few days.

This one is a computer animation:

Stop Motion Letter Board Titles, Kaleidoscope 2 - YouTube

This one is a stop-motion animation using a letterboard. It's best viewed at 2x normal speed:

Titles Nr. 1, Moving Letters - YouTube
(In other words, I made it too slow).

I've uploaded "flipbook" versions in PDF format to my personal website:
Laurence Finston's Website

It's not a shop, that's just the name of the domain.

For many years, I've used TeX for typesetting and MetaPost for graphics. I've also used METAFONT, which MetaPost is based on. For some projects I have in mind, I've been wanting to modify some METAFONT fonts and use them for displays. MetaPost provides a way of extracting the outlines of PostScript fonts, including METAFONT fonts that have been converted to PostScript, which is what I need as a first step..

I've only just started working on this. My results so far are in the attaached files.
Attached Images
Lettering-ttemp065.jpg 
Attached Files
File Type: pdf ttemp.pdf (50.1 KB, 23 views)
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  #2  
Old 12-28-2021, 06:52 PM
Burning Beard Burning Beard is offline
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You can modify lettering very easily in Corel Draw, which is a vector program, and I imagine Inkscape (though I don't use it). Anyhoo, type what you want in the font that is closest to what you need in true type or postscript, then convert it to curves and manipulate the nodes to your desired output. It can be a little tedious but it is not difficult.
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Old 12-28-2021, 10:06 PM
Laurence Finston Laurence Finston is offline
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Thank you for the suggestion. However, part of my goal is to use only Free Software. All of the software I've used for my videos is free software. I also have a particular interest in TeX, METAFONT and MetaPost. Finally, one of the next steps will be to make "3D" letters using my program (i.e., I wrote it) GNU 3DLDF, which I can do by modifying the program slightly so I can adapt the MetaPost code to it.

This is where paper modelling comes in, because the most obvious thing to do is to make plans for paper models of 3D letters, which I will probably do at some point. Hobby stores do sell papier-mâché letters in various sizes, but it would probably be expensive to buy enough to "typeset" with them and they're not available in many different shapes. And anyway, part of the point of hobbies is to do things oneself.

The attached images show wax letters that I've been making over the last couple of days. I've started with encaustic painting (that is, painting with hot wax) recently. I'd read something about it and realized I could use my oil paints to color the wax. I haven't painted in oils since I moved to my current apartment over 20 years ago because of the smell of the turpentine and the storage requirements. Neither of these things is a problem with encaustic.

So far, I've been using cookie cutters to make the letters. Soon, I plan to start using letters from METAFONT fonts as models. The three images DSCF0020.JPG, DSCF0021.JPG and DSCF0023.JPG show some of the letters on photo board, photographed using a small repro stand (a recent purchase).
Attached Thumbnails
Lettering-dscf0005.jpg   Lettering-dscf0006.jpg   Lettering-dscf0009.jpg   Lettering-dscf0017.jpg   Lettering-dscf0018.jpg  

Lettering-dscf0020.jpg   Lettering-dscf0021.jpg   Lettering-dscf0023.jpg   Lettering-encaustic29.jpg   Lettering-dscf0015.jpg  

Lettering-dscf0004.jpg   Lettering-encaustic14.jpg   Lettering-encaustic26.jpg  
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  #4  
Old 12-28-2021, 11:40 PM
Laurence Finston Laurence Finston is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence Finston View Post
This one is a computer animation:

Stop Motion Letter Board Titles, Kaleidoscope 2 - YouTube

This one is a stop-motion animation using a letterboard. It's best viewed at 2x normal speed:

Titles Nr. 1, Moving Letters - YouTube
(In other words, I made it too slow).

Sorry, it's the other way around. "Moving Letters" is a computer animation and "Letter Board Titles" is stop-motion.
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2021, 04:21 AM
Laurence Finston Laurence Finston is offline
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Here a few more photos. For the letters, I'm using paraffin. For the white ones I used a tube of oil paint from the company Lukas. For the red ones, and for more colors that I haven't done yet, I bought a set of very inexpensive oil paints.

For the color charts I use beeswax and the expensive oil paints from Schmincke, which I will also be using for paintings, when I start working on them. I always make color charts for all of the media I use.

When I bought these paints about 30 years ago, all of the art supply stores in the town where I live carried the Mussini line from Schmincke. Now, the only dedicated art supply store is gone and the others only carry their less expensive lines. They won't order them for less than 3 tubes per color, either. So now I have to use mail order. Somehow, having had a taste of the better colors (so to speak), I don't want to downgrade.

I've even got a couple of colors that have been discontinued in the intervening 30 years. They are all as good as new, though.
Attached Thumbnails
Lettering-encaustic01.jpg   Lettering-encaustic08.jpg   Lettering-encaustic14.jpg   Lettering-dscf0009.jpg   Lettering-dscf0010.jpg  

Lettering-dscf0011.jpg   Lettering-dscf0012.jpg   Lettering-dscf0013.jpg   Lettering-dscf0014.jpg  
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Old 12-31-2021, 11:53 PM
Laurence Finston Laurence Finston is offline
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While the cookie cutter letters have a certain charm, they wouldn't be appropriate for most purposes, so I've started working on another approach:

In the attached photos, the letters are from the font AMS Euler designed primarily by Hermann Zapf for the American Mathematical Society and first used in the book "Concrete Mathematics" by Donald Knuth. The attached PDF file ttemp.pdf shows outlines of all the letters and numerals.

I've poured wax into a little wax tablet (10 X 9.5cm) I made a long time ago when I still had my woodworking shop. I printed out the letters onto 160g/m2 paper, cut them out and pricked around the outlines with a carbide scribe. Then I used carving tools to separate the letters from the waste wax.

One of the next things I want to do is to make plaster molds using the letters so I can cast them instead of pricking and carving them out. In the past, I've only ever made waste molds, which are, well, wasteful. This time, I want to try making multi-piece, reusable molds, for which I bought some alabaster molding plaster.

For this, I need some shims, so I bought a couple of cans of "Eppelwoi" (apple wine) and cut them up with a pair of tinsnips (after drinking the Eppelwoi). The most important thing about this method is to try to avoid slicing one's fingers open on the very sharp edges. For this reason, I would really prefer to buy some store-bought shims, but there's nowhere to do this around where I live.
Attached Thumbnails
Lettering-dscf0002.jpg   Lettering-dscf0003.jpg   Lettering-dscf0004.jpg   Lettering-dscf0005.jpg   Lettering-dscf0006.jpg  

Lettering-dscf0007.jpg   Lettering-dscf0008.jpg   Lettering-dscf0009.jpg   Lettering-escf0001.jpg   Lettering-gscf0001.jpg  

Lettering-gscf0002.jpg   Lettering-gscf0004.jpg   Lettering-hscf0001.jpg   Lettering-hscf0002.jpg   Lettering-hscf0003.jpg  

Lettering-jscf0001.jpg  
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  #7  
Old 02-06-2022, 12:18 AM
Laurence Finston Laurence Finston is offline
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For this project and a couple of others, I need some modelling material. I have some plasticine which has long since dried out and reconstituting it sounds like too much trouble. I've never really warmed up to plasticine, anyway. After considering the various alternatives, I decided to go for the best kind of modelling material, in my opinion, namely clay.

The problem with clay is that it makes a big mess and is fairly labor-intensive. On the other hand, it's one of my favorite materials to work with. So I got the bag of completely dried-out clay from my basement that's been sitting there since I moved here in 1999.

I reconstituted it and it's as good as the day it was deposited several million years ago.

I cast a slab of plaster for drying out the clay "soup" using a pie pan (no longer available for baking). It will continue to give off moisture for a couple of days, but when it's completely dry, it will suck the water out of the clay like nobody's business. Even now, the clay is drying pretty fast. (DSCF0010.JPG: This slab will never be so clean again.)

The font I'm using for the second linoleum block is also from the Euler family, namely Euler Fraktur, i.e., black letter or Gothic (in the sense of "cathedral" rather than "heavy metal"). I plan to cut the linoleum blocks into individual letters and attach them to a wooden backing with a handle to make stamps.

With two letters, I accidentally cut out the letters rather than the space around them, but I've found that I can use wood filler in the form of a stick of colored shellack to fix them. I melted down my only stick of this material so I made a photo of it in a little saucepan that I bought for encaustic painting. I used to be able to buy this material in a store in the town where I live, but now I found one online shop (for furniture restoration supplies) that carries it.

The Fraktur "L" is a reversed negative plaster cast for use with sealing wax, or more precisely, sealing lacquer. It's meant as a present, so I haven't tested it. The "C" is a non-reversed negative for making a reversed positive cast, which I want to try printing off of. I'm not sure whether printing from plaster will work. I will let the cast dry completely (for about a week), sand it and possibly coat the top surface and maybe the sides with shellac. If I do, I will leave the bottom uncoated to let any remaining moisture escape. Plaster will continue to absorb moisture from the air and give it off again forever. It's another one of my favorite materials and can be polished to an extremely smooth finish, like an eggshell, and/or painted or even gilded. Ordinary plaster also costs next to nothing and even special plaster, like alabaster, is reasonably priced.

I carved the wooden ornament over 25 years ago. I found it recently in my basement and plan on using it for printing. I also want to make a version for casting. It's made of linden wood, of which two varieties are used for carving: The North American variety is also called "basswood" and the European variety ("Linde" in German) is universally used for carving in Europe. Wood carving is a big thing in Germany, but not so much in Northern Germany, where I live.

One of the online art supply stores I order from here has linden plywood specifically for woodcut. I ordered some and tried it out and it is very nice. By and large, I prefer it to linoleum and it's even cheaper than the latter, which is already an inexpensive material. For some things, linoleum is better, though: the grain of the wood can force curved or diagonal lines into a different direction than was planned. This is often desirable, but not always. In general, I've been pleasantly surprised at how well it works to cut fine and precise lines in both the plywood and the linoleum.

I have a block of linden and I could cut off pieces for woodcut, but it seems like a better use of a limited resource to use plywood for this purpose. Linden is by no means endangered, but we may are probably the last generation that will be able to buy nearly any kind of wood we want, as long as we're willing to pay the price.

Incidentally, after some searching, I found an online shop that sells (low temperature) casting metal and I ordered a small amount for testing. It's primary purpose is for casting tin soldiers and wargame and fantasy figures, but it's similar to type metal, though without antimony. What I ordered is 56% lead, 9% tin and 35% bismuth. I want to try casting some letters in metal. Actually, I'd like to try building a Monotype machine in my kitchen, but there's not enough room. I'm not sure that it's possible to cast lead alloys in plaster molds, but I don't see any reason why not. I do know that it's possible to use papier-mâché, which I could also do. I found another store that also sells casting metal, but only lead-free alloys. If I could, I'd stock up before the EU bans lead alloys for consumers completely.
Attached Thumbnails
Lettering-dscf0006.jpg   Lettering-dscf0008.jpg   Lettering-dscf0010.jpg   Lettering-escf0001.jpg   Lettering-escf0004.jpg  

Lettering-escf0005.jpg   Lettering-escf0006.jpg   Lettering-fscf0004.jpg   Lettering-fscf0005.jpg   Lettering-fscf0006.jpg  

Lettering-fscf0008.jpg   Lettering-fscf0009.jpg   Lettering-fscf0003.jpg  
Attached Files
File Type: pdf euler_fraktur.pdf (19.4 KB, 3 views)

Last edited by Laurence Finston; 02-06-2022 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 02-11-2022, 03:25 PM
Laurence Finston Laurence Finston is offline
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I got the casting metal today. I can't wait to try this. I plan on casting a stereotype: Stereotype (printing - Wikipedia)
It will be of the TeX logo (see photo). I need to adjust the positions of the letters.

As it turns out, you can use plaster molds to cast type metal, however, they say that the mold is destroyed when removing the cast. I don't know if this would be true for only 3 display-size letters. However, to be on the safe side, I will make a reversed positive plaster mold, like the final metal cast, so I can cast as many non-reversed negative plaster molds from it, which I can use for making the final casts. This means I also have to start from a non-reversed negative wax model.

The procedure with papier-mâché involves making multiple layers and gluing them together and beating the resulting "flong" into the mold, which in this case is a frame of handset type. This doesn't sound practical and wax probably wouldn't stand up to having something beaten into it.
Attached Thumbnails
Lettering-dscf0001.jpg   Lettering-dscf0002.jpg   Lettering-dscf0004.jpg   Lettering-dscf0005.jpg   Lettering-tex_logo.jpg  

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  #9  
Old 02-11-2022, 03:52 PM
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Don Boose Don Boose is offline
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What an interesting thread!

I enjoyed reading about your materials and methodologies, looking at the images of your typefaces and resources, and viewing your stop action films.

Thanks you for sharing this information and these visuals.

Don

Last edited by rickstef; 02-11-2022 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 02-11-2022, 08:35 PM
Laurence Finston Laurence Finston is offline
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It's only 3:30 AM here and you've already made my day! Thank you very much for your kind comments, on this thread and the "Linoleum Cut" one.
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