[R] How to get special (Hershey) font symbols into plot axis labels?

Joe Mazzarella mazz at ipac.caltech.edu
Thu Mar 14 03:39:18 CET 2002

Dear Paul,

>>The bad news:
>>Although this looked fine in the default X-window plot device,
>>using the Postscript device via
>>   postscript(file="LumFunc.ps",horizontal=FALSE, onefile=FALSE,
> paper="letter")
>>   #above plot commands...
>>   dev.off()
>>produces an x axis label with a "fuzzy" or "grayed out" appearance
>>(the vector font lines are not solid black) which is unacceptable
>>for publication. If I use vfont only for the faked Solar subscript,
>>then the rest of the text is solid black but the Solar
>>subscripts is fuzzy.
>>Any ideas how to "un fuzz" vector font text in the Postscript device?
> Hmmm.  I don't get this on my setup and I'm not sure what would cause it.
> Just to check ... is this "fuzzy" appearance on the printed output or only
> viewing the postscript via ghostview or something?  If the latter, then
> maybe you are just seeing antialiasing -- its a long shot, but worth
> checking :)

You are correct. The "fuzziness" of the vector font is only when
viewed on the monitor using 'gv'. When the Postscript file is printed,
the symbol made with the vector font prints solid black
just like characters using the normal default font.
However, since so many science publications are now presented digitally
in online journals and preprint services, many readers increasingly view PS
or PDF files on their computer (e.g., while working on their own
research papers) and don't always bother to print hardcopy.
Paper is fast becoming a secondary medium of choice.

Interestingly, I find that if I convert the PS file to PDF (on Linux) via
  ps2pdf LumFunc.ps LumFunc.pdf
and view with 'xpdf LumFunc.pdf', the vector font symbols still
appear fainter/fuzzier than the rest, but less so than PS viewed in 'gv'.

Many thanks to you and others who responded.
R is a great package for data analysis and sci/tech graphics,
and support through r-help is fantastic.
Your dedication to this work is much appreciated.

Best regards.


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