Microsoft ClearType is good software. It's a font rendering option in Windows XP that makes things look better on LCDs. Between laptops and good desktop LCDs a lot of folks have LCDs. So go ahead, turn on ClearType! And get the tuner while you're at it.
The technology is surprisingly straightforward. LCDs are made up of lots of tiny red, green, and blue pixels. ClearType uses that structure by doing subpixel rendering of fonts, so instead of drawing a white pixel where you'd expect it draws a blue pixel next to a yellow one, which still looks white. You can see it above in the colour fringing; at normal resolution on the LCD it looks right. It reminds me of the old Apple ][ colour hack where they fit 6 colours per pixel in 1.14 bits.

Microsoft's implementation is quite robust. I was particularly impressed when I rotated my LCD 90 degrees and it still did ClearType, only in the Y axis. Still, Windows typography has a way to go. Apple's font rendering is still head and shoulders above anyone else's. I'd love to read an article that explains exactly why text looks so beautiful on a 12" Powerbook.

  2005-05-19 15:57 Z