Getting used to font rendering/smoothing in OS X

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by chaseychasem, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. chaseychasem macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    #1
    Any other former PC users find the transition to OS X font rendering/smoothing a bit rough, especially on an external monitor? I didn't notice it so much on the HR AG display of my MBP, but even after color calibration and forced font smoothing the 24" 1900x1200 HP ZR2440w seems just a smidge away from crisp. Maybe the less compressed resolution makes the particularities of OS X more apparent than on the 15" 1680x1050 HR AG? Whatever the case, my eyes feel a little strained.
     
  2. 537635 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #2
    Yes, I've noticed it too, but as you've stated - only on an external monitor.

    It might has something to do with a low pixel density...

    It's rough on a 1920x1200 24'' HP monitor, but it is fine on a rMBP (obviously) and also on a TBD.
     
  3. nontroppo, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012

    nontroppo macrumors 6502

    nontroppo

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    #3
    OS X and Windows use different strategies for sub-pixel rendering:

    http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/04/24/a-closer-look-at-font-rendering/

    Windows hints the font to fit in the pixel grid, this means slightly sharper edges at different font sizes at the expense of fidelity to glyph shape:

    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/06/font-rendering-respecting-the-pixel-grid.html

    When I moved from Windows, to be honest my first impression was that I much preferred the OS X font rendering. Although I program, I'm also a typography geek and hated Windows sacrifice of the glyph on the pixel grid alter. I did have to find a good font and font size for programming, however writing in a word processor was not an issue as changing view results in much better legibility IMO (the font design is actually used, not mangled). This is a subjective preference, and lots of Windows users hate OS X font rendering. EDIT: on the other hand enough windows users love OS X rendering that there are several projects completely replacing cleartype, for e.g. http://code.google.com/p/gdipp/

    Note that as pixel density increases, the OS X method becomes clearly superior. Glyph rendering on OS X on the rMBP is amazing, you can see very subtle differences in the font design, and it is buttery smooth to read.
     
  4. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #4
    At "standard" PPI, I definitely prefer Windows font rendering. Much easier on the eyes. At sufficiently high PPI, OSX looks great, though I don't have enough experience with Windows at high resolutions to draw any conclusions there.
     
  5. chaseychasem, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012

    chaseychasem thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    #5
    Why would it be better on a TBD? I avoided the latter because of price, and also because I don't want a mirror for a monitor.

    P.S. Thanks for your responses, everyone, but I'm familiar with the technical reasons/philosophies behind differences in rendering/smoothing between Windows and OS X. What I'm wondering is whether I'll get used to these, and whether the feeling of eyestrain will dissipate. Screenshot attached as well, zoomed-in webpage.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. chaseychasem, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012

    chaseychasem thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    #6
    Or maybe it's the AG coating on the ZR2440w interacting with how OS X does fonts?
     

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