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Behind the heavy work of making Chinese computerized characters

But there are thousands of Chinese characters, and the 5-by-7 grid was too small to be seen. Chinese requires a 16 grid by 16 or more, for example, 32 byte memory (256 bits) per type. If one can imagine a font containing 70,000 Chinese characters, all memory requirements exceed two megabytes. Even a form with 8,000 well-known Chinese characters would require about 256 kilobytes to save bitmaps. This was four times the memory of most computers that were on the shelf in the early 1980’s.

Although the complexity of the memory was great, the most disturbing challenges faced by the lowest Chinese records in the 1970s and 1980s were the decoration and the design. Long before anyone sat down with a program like Gridmaster, the lion’s share was done on a computer, using a pen, paper, and tap water.

Developers have for many years been trying to create bitmaps that meet the memory requirements of archives and have a very clear interface. Some of those who made this, whether it was Chinese manuscripts or Gridmaster, were Lily Huan-Ming Ling (凌焕銘) and Ellen Di Giovanni.

Drawings of Chinese leaves on the Sinotype III genre.


A major problem the manufacturers encountered was the distinction between two very different ways of writing Chinese: handwritten, made with a pen or brush, and bitmap glyph, made with several pixels made of two axes. Designers have to decide how they will try to re-create Chinese handwritten notes, (such as inbound strokes, strokes, and outgoing strokes.

In the case of the Sinotype III font, the process of setting up and modifying Chinese bitmaps was not well documented. One of the most impressive artifacts of the past from now on is a grid full of handwriting drawings all over the place – graphics that are later converted into bitmaps for thousands of Chinese. Each of these characters was carefully placed and, in most cases, replaced by Louis Rosenblum and GARF, using tap water to remove any “pieces” that the editor did not object to. Above the first set of green markers, that is, the second set of red hashs showed the final ranking. That’s when the data entry process started.

A small price drawing of the price (背, back, back) to display the changes using the water correction.


Given the amount of bitmaps the team needs to make — at least 3,000 (and many more) if the machine is expected to meet customer needs — one would think that the manufacturers have found ways to limit their performance. One way they could do this, for example, would be if they imitated Chinese superstitious weapons — the original of the codex — if they appeared in one place, size, and shape from a different color. Using a number of well-known Chinese characters with the “woman radical” (女), for example, a group at GARF could (and, in a sense, be) create a single bitmap, and re-insert it into each person where that great expression appeared.

He did not select such an idea, however, as history shows. On the contrary, Louis Rosenblum insisted that the designers change any of the elements – often in subtle ways – to ensure that they matched the existing design.

In the bitmaps a juan (娟, gracious) and @alirezatalischioriginal (娩, to save), for example – each with an overweight wife – this has been gradually changed. His qualities juan, the middle part of an adult woman has a height of six pixels, compared with five pixels per character @alirezatalischioriginal. At the same time, however, the woman’s right line strongly expands just one pixel over and over again. @alirezatalischioriginal, and form juan the stroke never spreads.

The bitmap notes of juan (娟, grace) and mian (娩, to give) from the Sinotype III genre, reprinted by the author.


In all cases, the correct measure was the law and not the opposite.

When we draw bitmap graphics against their final form, we see that some of the changes have been made. In the experimental type of around (Language, collect, pay), for example, left-handed stroke descends at an angle of 45 ° before entering a digitized type of explosion. In the end, however, the cage is “flat,” starting at 45 ° but then descending.

Comparing two types of luo flooring ((, collection, net).


While there were seemingly few places where manufacturers had to work, they had to make a few choices. And each of these choices affects every other decision they make on the other person, since adding one pixel often changes the horizontal and vertical connection.

Unsatisfactory growth of the grid is affected by the work of manufacturers in other ways, unexpectedly. We see this clearly in the demonic problem of achieving equality. The clearest form – found in Chinese characters – was very difficult to stand on in the low sense because, according to the laws of mathematics, making connections requires parts of incomprehensible parts. Bitmap-type groups with a larger size (such as a 16-by-16 band) made comparisons impossible. GARF was able to achieve its uniformity, in most cases, using a single grid component: a 15-by-15 component within a 16-by-16 grid. This reduced the amount of usable space beyond that.

Symmetry is the asymmetry of the characters shan (山, mounting), zhong (中, middle), ri (日, sun), and tian (田, field).


The issue becomes more complicated when we start comparing bitmap scripts made by different companies or developers. Consider the fluid (氵) as seen in the images of Sinotype III (below and right), in contrast to the ancient Chinese version of HC Tien (left), a Chinese-American psychologist and businessman who experimented with Chinese computing over the years. 1970 and 1980.

Comparison of excess water (氵) as reflected in the Sinotype III font (right) as opposed to the original Chinese font developed by HC Tien (left).


Small as the examples mentioned above, each represents another (by the thousands) idea that the GARF production team has to make, either at the time of writing or the digitization phase.

The slightest change has not been “low” for a long time, yes. Advances in computing have led to fewer bitmaps, faster speeds, and lower memory costs. In our modern day 4K resolution, eye form, and more, it can be difficult to recognize the art – decorative and technical – that was developed in the original Chinese bitmap characters, as few as it used to be. But it was a solution to a problem like this that ultimately led to computers, new publications, and the Internet making up about one sixth of the world’s population.

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