Poor quality font rendering

John Hendrikx hjohn at xs4all.nl
Thu Aug 22 13:23:35 PDT 2013

On 22/08/2013 21:41, John C. Turnbull wrote:
> Hi Phil,
> I was actually aware that LCD text was disabled in this case but what I am saying is that I am seeing similar stark disparities between JavaFX fonts and native fonts even with LCD turned on.
> I think the screenshot shows what I am talking about though perhaps the quality is poorer than my case because of the LCD issue.
> The point is that there are still differences no matter what I do and to me at least these differences are very, very obvious.  I am trying to establish if what we have now is "as good as it gets" or if things are going to improve.
> Also, it's clear from this thread that not everyone agrees on what looks good. It would seem that John H is concerned only with the weird '2' and feels that grayscale text is better than LCD text whereas I am more concerned with resembling native rendering.
I made new screenshots with different combinations of settings if you 
wish to compare those.  The strange "2" is what jumped out at me as 
something that changed recently, but on closer inspection I see many 
bolded glyphs that look poor in the original screenshot:

The "1" has a rather big top edge.  The "H" is thicker in one leg than 
the other.  The "s" has a thick right curve.  The "/" in top bar looks 
uneven.  The "o", "0", "6", "9" and "5" glyphs hardly look bold at all.

I think the LCD smoothed versions looks quite good on my regular LCD 
monitor -- the problem is that it doesn't look good on the projector I'm 
using so I just turned it off for that.

Oh.. I forgot to say this, but...

Screenshots taken with LCD smoothing on are always gonna end up looking 
different on different monitors... if for example your monitor has 
slightly different spacing or a different order of the subpixels (or you 
rotated it), then the screenshot will look wierd.  I prefer to keep LCD 
smoothing off as I make screenshots / videos regularly and I donot know 
on what system they'll be viewed on.  So if one of shots has 
particularly bad colored fringes, it is likely you have a monitor that 
has a different configuration than mine.


> On 23/08/2013, at 5:21, Phil Race<philip.race at oracle.com>  wrote:
>> John T,
>> Per a couple of earlier emails in this thread John H is deliberately disabling LCD text
>> so has grey scale, hence you can't compare directly with a native app since they all use LCD.
>> Any comparison has to be
>> 1. Using the same string
>> 2. Rendered in the same fashion : LCD or greyscale, hinted/unhinted.
>> 3. Using the same font (face, size etc)
>> 4. Using the same colours (fg&bg) and watch out for the UI controls - they used
>> to tweak your text colour so that (eg) black became dark grey, reducing contrast
>> which reduced legibility, thus also invalidating any  test. I am not sure if this is still the case,
>> but contrast is very important for text and you should make sure its as high as possible.
>> -phil.
>> On 8/22/2013 11:35 AM, John C. Turnbull wrote:
>>> Am I the only one who looks at that screenshot and thinks that the fonts look really bad and obviously different from a native app?  Its not just the Plot section, its all text on the screen.
>>> This is what I am talking about.  I wouldn't even describe the differences as "subtle" as to me there is a dramatic difference in quality.
>>> Can this be fixed or are JavaFX apps always going to stand out for all the wrong reasons like this?
>>> On 23/08/2013, at 0:05, John Hendrikx<hjohn at xs4all.nl>  wrote:
>>>> Those are all normal controls, the plot section is just a Label for example.
>>>> On 22/08/2013 13:39, John C. Turnbull wrote:
>>>>> John H, it may be just me but pretty much *all* the fonts in your screenshot
>>>>> look quite poor and noticeably different from native font rendering.  If you
>>>>> look for instance at the text in the "Plot" section, to me that text looks
>>>>> awful.
>>>>> Is that inside a WebView or some other control?
>>>>> -jct
>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>> From: openjfx-dev-bounces at openjdk.java.net
>>>>> [mailto:openjfx-dev-bounces at openjdk.java.net] On Behalf Of John Hendrikx
>>>>> Sent: Thursday, 22 August 2013 17:29
>>>>> To: openjfx-dev at openjdk.java.net
>>>>> Subject: Re: Poor quality font rendering
>>>>> I took another good look, and I see what is bothering me is mostly how the
>>>>> glyph "2" is rendered on my system (it has a thick appearing curve attached
>>>>> to the base).  I've included a screenshot of my application that uses
>>>>> several different sizes fonts, but it seems only the ones in the top bar are
>>>>> rendered somewhat wierd.
>>>>> http://ukyo.xs4all.nl/Digit2RenderedPoorlyInTopBar.png
>>>>> I'm on Windows 7, JavaFX 8b99, 32-bit, using D3D pipeline (I get this stuff
>>>>> in log in an infinite loop, so must be D3D I think):
>>>>> D3D Vram Pool: 129,613,674 used (48.3%), 129,613,674 managed (48.3%),
>>>>> 268,435,456 total                   --
>>>>> com.sun.prism.impl.ManagedResource.printSummary(ManagedResource.java:134)
>>>>> 75 total resources being
>>>>> managed
>>>>> -- com.sun.prism.impl.ManagedResource.printSummary(ManagedResource.java:153)
>>>>> 4 permanent resources
>>>>> (5.3%)
>>>>> -- com.sun.prism.impl.ManagedResource.printSummary(ManagedResource.java:154)
>>>>> 2 resources locked
>>>>> (2.7%)
>>>>> -- com.sun.prism.impl.ManagedResource.printSummary(ManagedResource.java:156)
>>>>> 43 resources contain interesting data
>>>>> (57.3%)                                                             --
>>>>> com.sun.prism.impl.ManagedResource.printSummary(ManagedResource.java:158)
>>>>> 0 resources disappeared
>>>>> (0.0%)
>>>>> -- com.sun.prism.impl.ManagedResource.printSummary(ManagedResource.java:160)
>>>>> I also have this in main, before Application.launch is called:
>>>>>       System.setProperty("prism.lcdtext", "false");
>>>>> In .root in CSS I have:
>>>>>     -fx-font-family: "Arial";
>>>>>     -fx-font-size: 16px;
>>>>>     -fx-font-weight: normal;
>>>>> So all the fonts you see should be Arial (but the sizes and weights are
>>>>> tweaked depending on location).
>>>>> --John
>>>>> On 21/08/2013 20:51, Felipe Heidrich wrote:
>>>>>> John H:
>>>>>> In JFX we decided to go with sub-pixel positioned text (as opposite to
>>>>> pixel grid aligned).
>>>>>> That said, on Windows for grayscale text, we are not doing that (yet). Are
>>>>> you running Windows, with D3D pipeline ?
>>>>>> I would need to see a picture to be sure I understand the problem you
>>>>> describe.
>>>>>> Felipe
>>>>>> On Aug 21, 2013, at 10:19 AM, John Hendrikx wrote:
>>>>>>> I think I also noticed a change in font rendering around b99 somewhere...
>>>>> the fonts seem to be thinner than before, or perhaps more poorly aligned
>>>>> with pixel boundaries.  I'd prefer glyphs laid out in the same way each
>>>>> time, ie. letters are always on a new pixel boundary, so the same letter
>>>>> will look the same regardless of what preceeds it.  I have LCD rendering
>>>>> turned off as I donot appreciate colored fringes on my glyphs.
>>>>>>> On 21/08/2013 14:53, John C. Turnbull wrote:
>>>>>>>> I have only really tested JavaFX extensively on Windows so my
>>>>>>>> comments here apply mainly to that platform.
>>>>>>>> It seems that even with a font smoothing type of LCD, font rendering
>>>>>>>> in JavaFX is not at the same level of quality of native
>>>>>>>> applications.  My current experiences are with JavaFX 8 b103 and I
>>>>>>>> find that all rendered text in JavaFX appears of a significantly
>>>>>>>> poorer quality than that which I would see in Word for example or
>>>>>>>> even in IE10 (which I believe uses the same text rendering engine).
>>>>> Also, these observations are based on text in "standard"
>>>>>>>> controls and the quality of font rendering is dramatically worse
>>>>>>>> within the Canvas control.
>>>>>>>> I am not an expert in font technology but I have read many times
>>>>>>>> that the levels of antialiasing for text that can be achieved in a
>>>>>>>> GPU-based renderer are always going to be less than that achieved in a
>>>>> CPU-based renderer.
>>>>>>>> This is often explained on the basis of graphics card drivers being
>>>>>>>> optimised for performance and the rapid rendering of triangles
>>>>>>>> commonly required in games rather than for rendering quality when it
>>>>> comes to text.
>>>>>>>> Is this the reason why JavaFX font rendering appears less legible
>>>>>>>> and of a lower quality than native apps?
>>>>>>>> If so, how does IE10 for example achieve a higher quality of
>>>>>>>> rendering when it seems to also use DirectWrite?
>>>>>>>> Is the quality of JavaFX font rendering ever going to improve?
>>>>>>>> Thanks,
>>>>>>>> -jct

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