Animating Variable Fonts in Real-Time with Coldtype & Python

Session 1

Thursday, 30 September 2021

11:30 AM CST – 12:30 PM CST




Variable fonts are very cool, but making them move in an animation isn’t easy — unless you’re using code to do the animating! Enter Coldtype: an open-source Python library with native support for high-quality typography and live-coded animations. Write a few lines of code, hit save, then — voila — there’s a string of text on your screen wiggling through a thousand permutations in real-time. In this workshop, participants will learn how to get Coldtype running and rendering real-time variable font animations — in as little as 5 lines of code (though I’m sure we’ll end up writing more than that). You’ll also learn about the “why” of Coldtype — as in, why is it so different from other creative coding platforms? Required materials: a laptop running a recent version of whatever OS you use. I’ve personally used Coldtype on Mac, Windows, and a few different Linuxes; hopefully (if your computer can run a Python>=3.7), then we can get it running on whatever machine you’ve got! Having some programming experience with a creative coding environment like DrawBot or Processing would be ideal, though the important thing for this workshop is a willingness to open up the command line, since Coldtype itself has no graphical interface. An open-source variable font will be provided to workshop participants as well if you don’t have any licensed for your own use, though if you do, you can use any font you’d like.
  • Rob Stenson

    United States

    Rob Stenson is a programmer and designer based in Los Angeles. Or is he a designer and a programmer? Hard to tell which is his primary occupation, since he always tries to do both at the same time. Lately Rob’s been working on Coldtype, an open-source programming library for making motion graphics with Python, with a particular focus on animated typography. He also plays guitar and banjo, and enjoys learning about the history of graphic design and photography.

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