Home > Uncategorized > ClearType is for color blind people

ClearType is for color blind people

May 1, 2008

I was going to title it as ‘ClearType sucks’ but anyway.

ClearType uses a technique named subpixel rendering that absolutely sucks – at least for me. Say for example i have some black text on white background then the subpixel rendering will make some adjacent pixels have some colors. Take a example, Consolas, a font that works only with ClearType:
Consolas ClearType sample
That just looks painful for my eyes, i see every colored pixel in something that should had been only black and white (or gray at least) – it’s just friggin painful. If you don’t notice it (well, I might see better than you) look here:
What\'s with all the colors?!
And I’m not just running on crap hardware – I think a Dell 2407WPF-HC is good enough !

I’ve also tried to tune the ClearType a bit and it still looks like crap.

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  1. respawned
    July 26, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    I think it’s the eye that matters, not the display. I’m also in the minority that cannot stand ClearType because of the color halo around the letters. The halo is less annoying for me on darker backgrounds, but on white it is pure hell.

    Thankfully, on Linux, Pango can turn on anti-aliasing independently of sub-pixel rendering, so fonts can be smoothed without the color halo. Also, pango allows different settings for different fonts, so you can have some fonts smoothed (or even sub-pixel rendered) and some not. For instance, I configure the Vista fonts on Linux to be smoothed by auto-hinter, while the pre-Vista MS fonts (Arial etc.) to be hinted using the bytecode interpreter. This way each font performs the way it was designed, except that I leave out the halo.

    Adobe has IMO a better smoothing technology implemented in it’s products. No color halo. You can turn in on as described here: http://blogs.adobe.com/alshamma/2007/05/font_smoothing_in_reader_acrob.html. Small font becomes much more legible. There is a minor downside: letter positioning is altered a bit. So, if you want to see the letters positioned *exactly* as they will be printed, you want to use the default “monitor” setting instead of the LCD one.

  2. Skylar
    August 24, 2009 at 4:39 am

    Totally agree. The colour bleed is absolutely awful. If I could get XP style fonts on Windows 7 (ie: crisp & pixelated, with no smoothing), I’d upgrade in heartbeat.The font rendering in Windows 7 is the only thing keeping me from switching.

    • Mrs. Butterworth
      January 8, 2010 at 9:06 pm

      Absolutely agree!

      I have keratoconus which means severe astigmatism and attempting to focus on text that has been “enhanced” (*cough*bull$4it*cough*) makes me want to file a class action lawsuit to have it turned off BY DEFAULT (as in this should be a section 508 accessibility compliance issue).

      The Mac OS is just as blurry to me; in both cases it’s attempting to make more pixels out of nothing. An LCD monitor is great at 72pts/inch and that’s determined by Dot pitch- you want smooth characters at a higher point count/inch then get a monitor with a finer pitch – don’t try to gimmick it with software.

    • BobTurbo
      February 5, 2010 at 12:24 am

      I am pretty sure you CAN get XP style fonts in Windows 7. Turn off cleartype and font edge smoothing, and change the default font to XP fonts.

    • Max
      August 27, 2010 at 6:34 pm

      You should pick GDI++. The fonts will then have anti-aliasing instead of sub-pixel rendering. My computer looks like a Mac after doing this. Note: Works on most, but not all, programs.

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