Chinese Text generation for LILYGO T5-4.7 inch E-Paper ESP32

There is a python script on the LilyGo-EPD47 GitHub for text generation. But the program is not optimized for Chinese words, one big reason is that the Struct GFXfont uses Unicode interval to provide a range of characters. We usually won’t import the whole Chinese dictionary into ESP32 because there are way too many words. Instead, we will search the Unicode for the corresponding Chinese characters and only import the words which will be displayed.

And that comes to a problem when using the Usually, those Chinese words we are using will not have a close Unicode number. Take 像素(pixel)as an example, these 2 Chinese words have a Unicode of U+50CF and U+7D20. And there are already 11346 words in between, a full set of fonts could easily cover more than twenty thousand characters which the esp32 just doesn’t have enough memory to handle.

I am using these two very useful links to inspect the font file and check the corresponding Unicode of any characters. For example, I want to import a sentence “最大像素 and esp32”, found out their Unicode: 0x6700, 0x5927, 0x50CF, 0x7D20 and sort them in ascending order. Finally, load them into a modified version of

from code import interact
import freetype
import zlib
import sys
import re
import math
import argparse
from collections import namedtuple

parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description="Generate a header file from a font to be used with epdiy.")
parser.add_argument("name", action="store", help="name of the font.")
parser.add_argument("size", type=int, help="font size to use.")
parser.add_argument("fontstack", action="store", nargs='+', help="list of font files, ordered by descending priority.")
parser.add_argument("--compress", dest="compress", action="store_true", help="compress glyph bitmaps.")
args = parser.parse_args()

GlyphProps = namedtuple("GlyphProps", ["width", "height", "advance_x", "left", "top", "compressed_size", "data_offset", "code_point"])

font_stack = [freetype.Face(f) for f in args.fontstack]
compress = args.compress
size = args.size
font_name =

# inclusive unicode code point intervals
# must not overlap and be in ascending order
intervals = [
    [32, 126],
    [160, 255],

    # (0x2500, 0x259F),
    # (0x2700, 0x27BF),
    # # powerline symbols
    # (0xE0A0, 0xE0A2),
    # (0xE0B0, 0xE0B3),
    # (0x1F600, 0x1F680),
newintervals = []

def norm_floor(val):
    return int(math.floor(val / (1 << 6)))

def norm_ceil(val):
    return int(math.ceil(val / (1 << 6)))

for face in font_stack:
    # shift by 6 bytes, because sizes are given as 6-bit fractions
    # the display has about 150 dpi.
    face.set_char_size(size << 6, size << 6, 150, 150)

def chunks(l, n):
    for i in range(0, len(l), n):
        yield l[i:i + n]

total_size = 0
total_packed = 0
all_glyphs = []

def load_glyph(code_point):
    face_index = 0
    while face_index < len(font_stack):
        face = font_stack[face_index]
        glyph_index = face.get_char_index(code_point)
        if glyph_index > 0:
            face.load_glyph(glyph_index, freetype.FT_LOAD_RENDER)
            return face
        face_index += 1
        print (f"falling back to font {face_index} for {chr(code_point)}.", file=sys.stderr)
    raise ValueError(f"code point {code_point} not found in font stack!")

for interval in intervals:
    if len(interval) <= 1:

for i_start, i_end in newintervals:
    for code_point in range(i_start, i_end + 1):
        face = load_glyph(code_point)
        bitmap = face.glyph.bitmap
        pixels = []
        px = 0
        for i, v in enumerate(bitmap.buffer):
            y = i / bitmap.width
            x = i % bitmap.width
            if x % 2 == 0:
                px = (v >> 4)
                px = px | (v & 0xF0)
                px = 0
            # eol
            if x == bitmap.width - 1 and bitmap.width % 2 > 0:
                px = 0

        packed = bytes(pixels);
        total_packed += len(packed)
        compressed = packed
        if compress:
            compressed = zlib.compress(packed)

        glyph = GlyphProps(
            width = bitmap.width,
            height = bitmap.rows,
            advance_x = norm_floor(face.glyph.advance.x),
            left = face.glyph.bitmap_left,
            top = face.glyph.bitmap_top,
            compressed_size = len(compressed),
            data_offset = total_size,
            code_point = code_point,
        total_size += len(compressed)
        all_glyphs.append((glyph, compressed))

# pipe seems to be a good heuristic for the "real" descender
face = load_glyph(ord('|'))

glyph_data = []
glyph_props = []
for index, glyph in enumerate(all_glyphs):
    props, compressed = glyph
    glyph_data.extend([b for b in compressed])

print("total", total_packed, file=sys.stderr)
print("compressed", total_size, file=sys.stderr)

print("#pragma once")
print("#include \"epd_driver.h\"")
print(f"const uint8_t {font_name}Bitmaps[{len(glyph_data)}] = {{")
for c in chunks(glyph_data, 16):
    print ("    " + " ".join(f"0x{b:02X}," for b in c))
print ("};");

print(f"const GFXglyph {font_name}Glyphs[] = {{")
for i, g in enumerate(glyph_props):
    print ("    { " + ", ".join([f"{a}" for a in list(g[:-1])]),"},", f"// {chr(g.code_point) if g.code_point != 92 else '<backslash>'}")
print ("};");

print(f"const UnicodeInterval {font_name}Intervals[] = {{")
offset = 0
for i_start, i_end in newintervals:
    print (f"    {{ 0x{i_start:X}, 0x{i_end:X}, 0x{offset:X} }},")
    offset += i_end - i_start + 1
print ("};");

print(f"const GFXfont {font_name} = {{")
print(f"    (uint8_t*){font_name}Bitmaps,")
print(f"    (GFXglyph*){font_name}Glyphs,")
print(f"    (UnicodeInterval*){font_name}Intervals,")
print(f"    {len(newintervals)},")
print(f"    {1 if compress else 0},")
print(f"    {norm_ceil(face.size.height)},")
print(f"    {norm_ceil(face.size.ascender)},")
print(f"    {norm_floor(face.size.descender)},")

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *