Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Mar 2012 23:16 UTC
Windows Okay, so this one actually bothers me quite a deal in the Windows 8 consumer preview: the fonts in Metro look fuzzy - they look like fonts on Mac OS X. Because of the Mac OS X resemblance, I had assumed that Metro switched to a shape-accurate rendering method, like Mac OS X uses, but as it turns out, it's a little less exotic than that.
Thread beginning with comment 510399
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
I think it's probably gone...
by ba1l on Tue 13th Mar 2012 13:52 UTC
ba1l
Member since:
2007-09-08

I think it's probably gone for good. ClearType is a hack. A fairly clever one, and it works reasonably well, but it's not a general solution to text rendering.

There are a number of limitations to the technique, and Windows 8 runs into just about every one of them.

1 - It only works with a standard RGB stripe sub-pixel layout. For any other sub-pixel layout, it doesn't work at all. The standard RGB stripe layout is universal on desktop and laptop screens, but not phones or tablets.

2 - It doesn't work if the sub-pixels are rotated by 90 degrees. The idea behind ClearType is to make the vertical lines in text appear sharper. Making the horizontal lines sharper doesn't improve readability at all.

3 - It doesn't work if you can flip the screen by 180 degrees either. The sub-pixels are now backwards.

4 - It only really works well with black text on a white background, or white text on a black background. Metro tends to have coloured backgrounds.

5 - It doesn't work if you can rotate or scale the text. If you rotate the text, the entire idea behind ClearType (making the vertical lines in text look sharper) breaks down. If you scale it, you screw up the hinting. Metro does lots of this too.

6 - It's incompatible with alpha blending (transparency). Metro does plenty of this too. In fact, so does Windows 7 - if you look at the clock on the taskbar, you'll notice that it's using standard anti-aliasing, rather than ClearType.

All that said, from the documentation, it looks like it's still present, but the API falls back to standard anti-aliasing when ClearType won't work. Which, from the looks of the Windows 8 screenshots, appears to be most of the time.

Reply Score: 5

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

It was because most displays at the time of it creation were quite low res (1024x768 was standard laptop res in 2000 when ClearType prototype was created).

I think with the 300DPI ish screens it doesn't really need it.

Reply Parent Score: 2