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MAC help needed


EllenG
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I just got an eMAC desktop running OS-X. My application was developed in FMP 6 on a PC. I ported it to the MAC. The good news is: everything seems to be working; it even automatically changed my Send Message commands to Send AppleEvent. However, everything is very "grainy" in appearance. This surprised me, as the MAC is supposedly better in graphics and display. But, my background and all my characters are grainy and "diffused", whereas on the PC they are crisp and sharp.

I tried to use a standard font so the application could be ported. I am using mostly Arial. Not only are the characters not sharp, but all my background colors (and colors in general) are not "clean". Even the left side (Toggle Show on) is grainy in appearance. I went through the color setup several times, but I can't seem to get much improvement. And, finally, many of the buttons I'm using fade out almost completely on the MAC! (The buttons were from Classic Images freeware for FMP.)

Am I doing something wrong; or is there some other configurations I need to do? The application is useable (except for some of the buttons that will have to be switched out), but I'm not really happy about the appearance.

Any suggestions?

Thanks

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Ellen, the color problem I'm not too sure about unless the color/screen resolution that you have selected is too low compared to what you had on the PC side.

As for the fonts, what sizes are you using? There are default settings under the system preferences that tell the system how to display fonts of certain sizes - specifically, small sizes will generally not display very nicely.

Try selecting a different font and size for one or two of the screens and see if it improves. If so, then the Arial may not be transferring properly. Even though they are the same name, fonts are still the one thing that everyone seems to have problems when doing cross platform stuff. PCs are typically using TTF (True Type Fonts) while the Mac is moving to OTF (Open Type Font). You can look these up on Adobe's web site for more info.

Unfortunately, I'm at work now and not at my Mac or I'd be able to give you a better idea where the font preferences are. I'll check this again when I get home and see if you've gotten any better help from some of the other people here.

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Hi Angelo. Thanks for the reply. I am using font sizes from 8 and up. The larger fonts do look cleaner, but I can't use larger fonts on all the screens. I tried all the different screen resolutions. The best seems to be 1024x768, but it is mostly the same for all (which is probably a good thing, since I don't know what my potential clients will be using.)

What is interesting to me is that it isn't just my application. FMP "show" bar is very grainy and the color selections, too. Even the desktop icons and folders have that same grainy/fuzzy quality. Which definitely makes me think I need to do some other configuration somewhere?? I tried the "calibrate" function, but I can't seem to make it any better then the default eMAC profile.

Well, if anyone has some other suggestions or ideas??

Thanks.

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Hi Ellen,

Font size 10 and up should look just fine on both platforms. As far as the font itself, I use Times New Roman. That seems to work best for me on both platforms. Now the fuzzy look you have and the color problem. Are you sure its set to 1024 X 768? It almost sounds like its set on 800 X 600. Now the color issue. Under system prefs>Displays>Color tab what is the display profile set to and how many colors are chosen? This is where I would start. HTH

Michael

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Display is definitely at 1024x768. Colors: Millions My Color setting is aMac Calibrated (I ran through the calibration and it is slightly better then the standard eMac profile.) Characters (especially, as you indicated, at 10 & up) are OK, but still kinda "fuzzy". I guess the best way to describe my color pallette is "faded", but also "grainy". Except for some buttons that are completely faded out, the rest is still usable. Anyway, now that I have it on a MAC, I can create a runtime and try it on another MAC (my son can take it to work and try it for me there.) Maybe it will look cleaner on other MACs?? It just surprised me. I mean, the graphics card on my PC laptop is not the best, but the quality on my screen is way better then on the eMac!

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On OS X, there is such a thing as font-smoothing, which can be fuzzy. And there's no going back, 'cause turning it completely off makes fonts pixelated. It has improved and is quite bearable on 10.3.2, which is definitely the fastest OS X system.

If however all your graphics, not just fonts are grainy, you may actually have some kind of problem. Some earlier eMacs did; I haven't heard of any lately. Mine is bright and sharp. You might want to take it to someone to check out, especially if it's still on warranty.

If you want to attach a zipped Clone of a file to a post, or a screenshot that shows the problem if the file is large, we'll tell you if the graphics have a problem.

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OK. I'm sending just 2 screens.

In the first screen, the "Save" buttons appear as white boxes only on the eMAC. The "NEW" buttons next to sire and dam, and the "Change" button are very light and barely visible on the eMAC.

In the second screen, the words "Click to Select" are barely readable on the eMAC. The background on the eMAC is a washed-out grey, and the navigation buttons look alomost like white with fine black dots or lines, rather than a sharp darker grey.

Also, as indicated, even the status area is faded and grainy looking, so it's not just my application.

So, if you can look at these screens on your MAC and let me know... thanks!

Herd Clone.zip

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Yeah, it's pretty washed out. But it could be easily fixed. I'm not surprised that the tabs don't stand out; their line color is the same as the background graphic box. Just darken the line a bit.

As far as the Save buttons, the text is white. The box (or button) also looks white. In Layout mode, the box/button is supposed to be transparent. But it obviously isn't. It was probably created in an old graphics program and pasted in.

I'd say this interface was created in FileMaker 3 or 4, before "3D" objects were supported, and probably on a PC. It's from the FileMaker Solutions Framework (by Matt Petrowsky I believe, a long time ago). So recreate the buttons with modern 3D ones and this problem will go away.

Macs have a different screen resolution, 72 to PC's 96 (normal). Most fonts look a bit smaller on Macs. Arial size 9 is just too small, except for capitals, which seem fine. Verdana size 9 is fine on both, but is a bit bigger. Verdana is about the only font that looks good at pretty much the same size on both. The perfect cross-platform screen font is like the holy grail, hoped for, but not to found anywhere.

There are some other visual differences between platforms, gamma settings are brighter on Macs. But there are differences between laptops, LCD's and CRT's within the same platform also. It's best not to get so subtle that a slightly brighter or duller monitor makes your interface unreadable.

Yeah it's annoying. I like a subtle interface, but have had to change a few things also, to make a little more contrast for dull or washed out screens.

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Oh, the Status area does look a little textured. It's probably a light dose of the "Aqua" lines. If you look close it's fine horizontal lines. Just be glad it isn't "brushed metal." I never noticed it before. You must have good eyes.

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Thanks for taking a look. I originally used Verdana in my appl, but I was afraid that would not work on the MAC, so I changed it all to Arial!! Se la vie..

I will look for newer buttons; maybe I can find some good ones on the sample FMP 6 templates.

Thanks for the help.

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You can also just use FileMaker's button tool. It draws a basic 3D embossed button. It's actually the same as drawing a 3D embossed rectangle then attaching a script. You can change the color and line, easily type and edit text on it.

With Verdana I sometimes cut the text off the button and reposition it manually. The only real problem with Verdana is that its baseline is very low, even aligned center it sits on the bottom. It's also a little wide, and just a bit clunky, but very readable.

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The main thing that I noticed is the body background is a rectangle set to light grey and also with a 50% pattern. I have found that using patterned backgrounds tends to make things like fonts look grainy. Nowadays, there's rarely any reason to use a 50% grey pattern considering the colour gamut that's available on current machines. I would pick a lighter colour of grey and get rid of the pattern altogether.

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  • 2 months later...

Same thing happened when I converted FMP5.5 files on a Windows 2000 box -- the graphics look grainy and the fonts look blurry. I turned off font smoothing and it did not fix the problem.

Also, in the converted file, I selected all fields on a layout using CNTL-A, then used SHIFT-CNTL-B to unbold them, thinking that perhaps the fuzziness was due to some sort of bolding the conversion caused. This bolded all the fonts and made them more unreadable, so I did SHIFT-CNTL-B, again to revert them back to un0bolded, and voila! the UPPERCASE mask on all the fields was also removed!

I was able to repeat this by CNTL-Z-ing and then SHIFT-CNTL-B-ing a few times. Only after I set the mask to Uppercase using FM7, did it "stick".

I am beginning to appreciate the subtleness of Filemaker's soft-spoken suggestion to re-do everything from scratch, in their literature...

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