Sea of Faces



One of the most anticipated additions to iLife ’09 and iPhoto ’09 is the Face-recognition feature that identifies within your photo library pictures of the same people and gives you the opportunity to quickly identify and locate pictures of friends and family. This innovative concept seems adapted from the facebook idea of ‘tagging’ people in photos, but Apple has taken it one step further with the face recognition program that can search your database and find pictures without you having to locate and ‘tag’ every photo.

This application takes some getting used to and some set up time. When you first open Faces, you must go through and identify people individually in your photos. This can be an arduous process, but after tagging a person in 20 or so photos, iPhoto will composite a selection of photos for you to choose from that confirm that the person you are selecting is in those pictures as well. The program can recognize pictures where people have aged (sometimes within a ten year span, more if you vary the pictures that you select of that person) and then stores the person and their list of photos on a ‘corkboard’ that you can access and scroll through to locate certain individuals. Faces will even try to locate faces in a video from your digital camera.

This creative new program is not without its drawbacks. Macworld says, “The Faces training system could be a bit more straightforward, and it’s not as automatic as you’d expect. For example, we were hoping for some sort of batch-training mode, but you have to spend quite a bit of time manually confirming or rejecting each suspected match. You need to enter a collection of a person’s photos to get iPhoto started, then click Confirm Name and hope that there are some good candidate photos for you to train.”

What do you think of iLife ’09 and its Faces program? Let us know in the comments section.

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