Bitmap Fonts

A bitmap font defines a small image per character. This way they can be multicolored and support alpha transparency. In turn they can not be scaled and have a fixed size. The text creation tool lets you create text brushes based on bitmap fonts.
The fonts that can be selected there are loaded from image files that are stored in the "fonts" subfolder of the software installation path. If you want use other fonts then store them in this folder so that they are loaded by the text creation tool after next software restart.

Creating bitmap fonts

When creating a new project then select Bitmap Font as project type. This way the software knows that the image contents are supposed to be used as a font and it will show additional information concering letter positions within the image. As long as the project is open you will find it also listed in the font selection box when creating a new text brush.

When creating a bitmap font project you must define the image width and height according to the letter sizes you want to have. It is suggested to start with a much bigger image width first, so that you don't need to resize the canvas if the chars don't fit in it. The height must be one pixel larger because the first line of pixels is used as a character type indicator. If you somewhere need to insert or remove a pixel column or row, please place the mouse coursor there and use the shortcuts ctrl+shift+x, ctrl+alt+x (columns) or ctrl+shift+y, ctrl+alt+y (rows). See here to have a full list of keyboard shortcuts.



The pixel in the upper left corner defines the character separator. As soon as such a pixel appears in this line the software knows that the next character starts. After creating a new bitmap font project the upper left corner pixel is automatically filled with a pixel to define the start of the first character. The first character is the exclamation mark '!' having the ASCII code number 33. The character list follows the so called ASCII-Table:



Whenever you want to leave out a character just let the area be empty and continue setting the next marker pixel. The pixels just below the marker pixels are unused. They will not appear in the character itself. Also ensure that the last character you want to use is termited by a marker pixel. Otherweise the software does not know where it ends.
The width of the characters may differ, but you can also define fixed character sizes. Usually you would want to leave the rightmost pixel column of each character empty to use it as a horizontal gap between two characters.
In the main window you will see the character that is currently under the mouse cursor:



As long as the pixels in the first row are not set correctly (first pixel does not differ from the second one) you will see an "Invalid char" there.

This image based format is primarily used to define bitmap fonts because it's simple and you can view and edit the reulting image files with any viewer or graphic editor and you can use alpha transparency as usual with images. This format is also used by the Bitmap Font Writer and was actually taken from there.
There are other formats arround and another one that is supported is the Bitmap Font Format (bmf). You will find more information about that at http://bmf.wz.cz. There you will find tons of fonts for download and conversion tools as well as a detailed format description. You can also search the web for "bitmap font format". This format is supported for reading and writing. Because Pro Motion is an image editor, certain options of this special font format are skipped when loading it as an image, such as character position aligments. The disadvantage of this format is a limit to 63 colors. Also the colors may only be stored with 64 values per RGB channel instead of 256.


Related topics

Create Text
Contents
New Project

Last modified: 17 March 2017