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Chrome DirectWrite

DirectWrite Analysis

Google Chrome DirectWrite text rendering is so bad that I had to make some kind of analysis to discover how to proceed with development and to stop my eye pain because of Chrome heavy antialiased text.

Google Chrome DirectWrite uses antialiasing with subpixel, I did not test grayscale antialiasing because it is worse on contrast.

Advanced Chrome GDI and Firefox method is GDI + antialiasing, without antialiasing looks very squared and blocky.

Advanced Chrome DirectWrite method uses antialiasing with custom mask.

The following examples use the same HTML with the same font color across the same row.

Lets compare the first set of Sans-Serif from wikipedia:

Advanced Chrome GDI: Google Chrome DirectWrite: Avanced Chrome DirectWrite:
Advanced Chrome GDI Google Chrome DirectWrite Advanced Chrome DirectWrite

Lets compare the second set using Open Sans:

Advanced Chrome GDI: Google Chrome DirectWrite: Avanced Chrome DirectWrite:
Advanced Chrome GDI Google Chrome DirectWrite Advanced Chrome DirectWrite

Lets compare the third set using Verdana and Numbers:

Advanced Chrome GDI / Firefox: Google Chrome DirectWrite: Avanced Chrome DirectWrite:
Advanced Chrome GDI Google Chrome DirectWrite Advanced Chrome DirectWrite

Lets compare the fourth set using Verdana:

Advanced Chrome GDI / Firefox: Google Chrome DirectWrite: Avanced Chrome DirectWrite:
Advanced Chrome GDI Google Chrome DirectWrite Advanced Chrome DirectWrite

For me it is clear that Google Chrome DirectWrite is very weak in contrast and also heavy antialiased, text is very blurry and very light.

Firefox uses GDI and renders in the same way as Chrome GDI, this method is the sharpest but it renders some webfonts badly or maybe is that some webfonts are really bad designed, the Open Sans set above looks terrible on GDI.

Advanced Chrome DirectWrite method is better in most cases with more contrast and proper render of webfonts.

Lets do some closeups:

Advanced Chrome GDI / Firefox: Google Chrome DirectWrite: Avanced Chrome DirectWrite:
Advanced Chrome GDI Google Chrome DirectWrite Advanced Chrome DirectWrite

The font color in the closeups is HTML font black 100% rgb(0,0,0)

Google Chrome DirectWrite renders towards purple rgb(127,0,127) and there is lack of contrast between antialiased borders and main font line, this lack of contrast between colors is the culprit and makes text appear blurry.

Advanced Chrome GDI and Firefox is sharp and good contrast, even if the black is more towards dark blue rgb(67,67,146)

Advanced Chrome DirectWrite method is high in contrast with blacks toward dark purple rgb(82,0,82) and is the best in all example sets.

Opera developers are lazy and they use the same setup as Chrome, people at their forums are asking about this subject and they answer: We can't do anything about it, is the way chrome renders and we are following the trend, we dump presto because we don't want to code anymore...

Why Google ends up with this blurry render? The answer is simple but scary, they just like it blurry.

Does Google listens to users feedback? No, Does Google cares about their users? No.

For me, there is absolutely no way I am going to work with blurry text.

I don't have any high DPI retina display available to test but if you do, feel free to share your thoughts at the forum.