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Application: Fonts and Vector Images
Antialiasing also has something to do with why fonts and vector images always look good, even if they're really big or really small.  Actually, fonts are vector images, so that's a bit of a strange thing to say - but at any rate, vector images are simply a set of mathematical equations that describe the curves that make up a shape.  So, like the real world, the computer can "look at" these images with infinite precision.  Therefore, it knows enough about the shapes to behave like our eyes do, and approximate the way we would see the fonts and such if they didn't have to be on a quilt of pixels.

This is one reason why, in your editing tool of choice, you should generally try to resize text by manipulating the font size - not by using resizing handles like you would for other images.  Although some programs (notably Photoshop and LiveType) can handle either approach well, most editing software (I'm looking at you, Final Cut) will use the vector font to draw and antialias the text at its basic size - say, 16px.  Then, when you use the handles to resize that rendered layer, the software treats the 16px text as a simple quilt of pixels instead of a vector image.  You lose the "infinite" resolution that the font provides, and the computer makes sloppy guesses about how the scaled-up image should look.



B2B-AA-fcptext.jpg

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Antialiasing 2 (Back to the Basics Series) was the previous entry in this blog.

Audio 1 (Back to the Basics series) is the next entry in this blog.

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