Cross platform TTF font render from Python [was: Load TTF from pycairo under Windows]

Robin Becker robin at
Fri Sep 18 12:05:59 CEST 2009

Laszlo Nagy wrote:
> Hi All,
> I need to render antialiased PNG images using TTF font files and UTF-8 
> text. It needs to be available at least on Linux and Windows. This is 
> what I have tried:
> #1. PIL - it has some problems and I cannot use it. Specifically, the 
> ImageFont.getsize() returns bad value for some fonts, and there are some 
> TTF fonts that are rendered incorrectly  (UTF-8)
> #2. pycairo - very sophisticated, nice features, knows and does 
> everything correctly. However, has no native support for libfreetype. I 
> could write an extension in C and use it from Linux. Not available on 
> windows.
> #3. gdmodule - I tried to install in under windows without success. No 
> binary installer available.
> #4. pygame - documentation looks great, it is cross platform. But the 
> first example program I had tried has been terminated, printing out 
> memory dump and complaining about double freeing some memory location.
the reportlab graphics renderPM(_renderPM) module does most things with T1 and 
TTF and works linux/win32. We use  freetype2 internally to extract the curves 
from ttf and then draw them with libart_lgpl which does anti-aliasing.

However, we don't render the fonts using freetype so hinting etc etc don't get done.

I think something similar could be done directly with PIL and the antigrain 

I'm surprised when you say that libfreetype isn't available on windows. It's a 
fairly hard road, but it can be travelled; certainly we built the parts of 
freetype that we needed into our extension. That required only a static library 
from freetype. I haven't needed to do this on windows since 2.1.5 so perhaps 
it's harder now.
Robin Becker

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