Obsidian is a decorative, three-dimensional font created in a virtual environment that can simulate light falling upon any 3-D character in the set.
The result is a convincing set of 3-D characters that harks back to the early days of type-making, but without all the flowery curlicues and animals that often accompanied 19th century letters.
An ornamental font like this could take over a year to get right. So [Jonathan] Hoefler and senior designer Andy Clymer solved for this by creating custom algorithms that could help. Obsidian is created in a virtual environment that can simulate light falling on any 3-D character in the set, thus eliminating the need to draw tens of thousands of shadows, one by one.