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The new image-based flair is using ClearType for the text. ClearType should never be used in images for general usage. It assumes that you are using a monitor with each pixel composed of red, green, and blue subpixels, in that specific order, arranged horizontally. This is not true for all users. On some monitors, the pixels are arranged blue-green-red (this is why Microsoft has the option in the ClearType Tuner). On mobile devices, the orientation of the subpixels depends on the orientation of the device. I'm not sure how CRTs handle this (I haven't used one in about five years).

If these assumptions are not met, the image looks bad (especially in the case of monitors with blue-green-red subpixels).

From Wikipedia:

when images are prepared to be display-independent (that is, when they are prepared for distribution, and not just for display on the computer with which they were prepared), ClearType should be turned off if rendered text is part of the image. For example, screenshots should always be prepared with ClearType turned off. Image-editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Paint Shop Pro bypass ClearType when rendering text directly, for precisely this reason.

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+1, some of us even abuse "normal" monitors by cranking them around into portrait orientation. (Although, in the interest of fairness, I should say that I haven't noticed any problems with the image-based flair on my portrait-oriented monitor. Probably because I don't give a whit about it and so I didn't look too closely at it.) –  Pops Sep 23 '10 at 14:37
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+1 for standards compliance and accessibility. –  Jon Seigel Sep 23 '10 at 17:02
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Hmm, not so sure. Text doesn't look nearly as good with just regular anti-aliasing. Should it looks sucky for everybody or just those few that have non-standard hardware? –  Uphill Luge Sep 23 '10 at 20:16
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@hans, no I haven't. I told Ubuntu my monitor actually had a VRGB pixel configuration and screenshotted the result. VRGB is the standard order rotated 90 degrees -- basically what you get when you rotate your monitor. Think smartphones and suddenly this doesn't sound so absurd anymore, eh? –  badp Sep 25 '10 at 23:01
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I definitely regret responding. What's the 'smartphones' angle, do the pixels sound differently? I got Bose headphones, that's all I know I'm afraid. –  Uphill Luge Sep 25 '10 at 23:39

1 Answer 1

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Fixed. Flairs are now antialiased without cleartype:

alt text

This is live on stackexchange.com (network flair), and will go out to the rest of the sites later tonight.

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Very nice; I'd upvote this for the low turnaround time alone. –  Pops Sep 23 '10 at 23:50
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Hm... It doesn't look nearly as good now as it did when pure text was sent, and not a bitmap containing text... –  Andreas Rejbrand Sep 25 '10 at 23:39

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