#distance-field #msdf #graphics


A pure-Rust implementation of multi-channel signed distance field generation

7 releases (4 breaking)

0.5.0 Jun 13, 2024
0.4.0 May 6, 2024
0.3.0 Oct 18, 2023
0.2.0 Oct 15, 2023
0.1.1 Aug 26, 2023

#103 in Graphics APIs

Download history 5/week @ 2024-03-11 38/week @ 2024-04-01 2/week @ 2024-04-15 17/week @ 2024-04-22 131/week @ 2024-05-06 9/week @ 2024-05-20 8/week @ 2024-05-27 185/week @ 2024-06-10 5/week @ 2024-06-17

190 downloads per month

MIT and maybe CC-PDDC

3.5K SLoC


A pure-Rust reimplementation of multi-channel signed distance field generation.

This implementation mostly follows Victor Chlumský’s master thesis. Although it is not an exact translation of the C++ msdfgen library, it does follow it for some parts of the code.

fdsm also uses code adapted from msdfgen-rs for its tests.

Crate features

  • ttf-parser: import glyphs using ttf-parser
  • visualize: helpers for visualization


use fdsm::bezier::scanline::FillRule;
use fdsm::generate::generate_msdf;
use fdsm::render::{correct_sign_msdf, render_msdf};
use fdsm::shape::Shape;
use fdsm::transform::Transform;
use image::{GrayImage, RgbImage};
use nalgebra::{Affine2, Similarity2, Vector2};
use ttf_parser::Face;

// First, acquire a [`Shape`]. This can be done by procedurally
// generating one or by loading one from a font:

let face = Face::parse(notosans::REGULAR_TTF, 0).unwrap();
let glyph_id = face.glyph_index('A').unwrap();
let mut shape = Shape::load_from_face(&face, glyph_id);

// Prepare your transformation matrix and calculate the dimensions of
// the resulting signed distance field. As an example, we set this up
// using ‘shrinkage’ (font units per texel) and ‘range’ (number of
// texels for the margin) values.
// Note that since font files interpret a positive y-offset as
// pointing up, the resulting distance field will be upside-down.
// This can be corrected either by flipping the resulting image
// vertically or by modifying the transformation matrix. We omit
// this fix for simplicity.

let bbox = face.glyph_bounding_box(glyph_id).unwrap();

const RANGE: f64 = 4.0;
const SHRINKAGE: f64 = 16.0;
let transformation = nalgebra::convert::<_, Affine2<f64>>(Similarity2::new(
        RANGE - bbox.x_min as f64 / SHRINKAGE,
        RANGE - bbox.y_min as f64 / SHRINKAGE,
    1.0 / SHRINKAGE,
let width =
    ((bbox.x_max as f64 - bbox.x_min as f64) / SHRINKAGE + 2.0 * RANGE).ceil() as u32;
let height =
    ((bbox.y_max as f64 - bbox.y_min as f64) / SHRINKAGE + 2.0 * RANGE).ceil() as u32;

// Unlike msdfgen, the transformation is not passed into the
// `generate_msdf` function – the coordinates of the control points
// must be expressed in terms of pixels on the distance field. To get
// the correct units, we pre-transform the shape:


// We now color the edges of the shape. We also have to prepare
// it for calculations:

let colored_shape = Shape::edge_coloring_simple(shape, 0.03, 69441337420);
let prepared_colored_shape = colored_shape.prepare();

// Set up the resulting image and generate the distance field:

let mut msdf = RgbImage::new(width, height);
generate_msdf(&prepared_colored_shape, RANGE, &mut msdf);
correct_sign_msdf(&mut msdf, &prepared_colored_shape, FillRule::Nonzero);

// As a test, try previewing the distance field:

let mut preview = GrayImage::new(msdf.width() * 10, msdf.height() * 10);
render_msdf(&msdf, &mut preview, RANGE);


Currently, fdsm has the basic functionality of generating MSDFs and generates correct distance fields for the glyphs A to Z in Noto Sans. However, it does not have all of the features present in msdfgen.

  • Error correction
  • Error estimation
  • Sign correction
  • Shape simplification (cf. Section 3.1 of (Chlumský, 2015))
  • Alternative edge-coloring algorithms
  • Benchmarks against msdfgen


~85K SLoC