Face Recognition in Photos

Gone are the days when facial recognition was considered a piece of far-fetched computer technology. We explain how to use the basic built-in Facial Recognition feature in Photoshop Elements 8 and Picasa 3.6 to organize your photos.

Photoshop Elements 8.0

01. Introduction

Facial recognition is a godsend for users who like to organize their photo collection, but who are afraid to manually tag every single photo. With Elements 8.0, you no longer have to struggle through tens of gigabytes of snapshots to find your daughter's pictures. You simply ask the program to bring out all the photos you took of Sophie in 2009. Elements 8.0 even combines smart tagging with facial recognition, making searching even more fun. The technique of facial or facial recognition is very powerful and extremely useful in Photoshop Elements. Unfortunately, the way in which this technology should be handled within the package is not always clear. We will come to your aid and explain the most convenient approach in the following tips.

With a single click on the correct name, all images featuring Karin are displayed.

02. Scan

The facial recognition component is housed in Organizer, the Photoshop Elements management tool. There are two ways to start facial recognition, depending on how many images you want to scan. You can start from a certain selection of photos in which you have Photoshop Elements search for people, or you can have the entire catalog searched for familiar faces. In the first case, use the command To search, Find people to tag or the key combination Ctrl+Shift+P. If you want to have all displayed photos analyzed by facial recognition, click in the Task window (bottom right) on the button Start recognizing people. The button resembles a thumbnail of a Polaroid image (see next line).

03. Miniature

Before you start any of the methods described in tip 2, it's a good idea to choose the photos you want to use as thumbnails for each person. That way you can be sure that each person's basic thumbnail looks good. So look for one clear photo for every acquaintance in your photo catalog. Then hold down the Ctrl key and click on all these photos. That way you make a group selection of good shots. Then use the command To search, Searching persons to tag them. Initially, Elements displays all the heads it has discovered in a large window. A fine white rectangle appears around each head. When you move the mouse pointer over such a rectangle, the question 'Who is this?' appears at the bottom. Click on these words and enter the name of the person concerned. If there are several people on the same picture, identify the other people in the same way. It's quite possible that Organizer is mistaken and mistakenly mistook a statue or balloon for a face made of flesh and blood. In that case, click the close button of the recognition box and use the right arrow to continue.

Sometimes Elements is wrong. Even the skull in this scarf is seen as a face.

04. Recognition

If Elements recognizes a person when searching through photos, the program will indicate that. All you need to do is confirm this by pressing the green V button to click. When you are done, you will see that in the Task window a tag for each recognized person in the group People is made.

For new images, the program itself suggests the correct name.

05. Search

Now that you've created a tag for every family member, every acquaintance and every friend, it's time for the assembly line work. It is of course not the intention that you manually enter the names on each individual photo. The program takes over this slave labor from you. With us, it only took ten minutes to have five hundred photos registered. Select a large group of images and use the command Find people to tag or release the facial recognizer on the entire catalog via the button Recognize people. It is likely that the same persons will appear more than once in this selection. So click on the button Naming more people. The program starts from the faces you have already named and also places itself the thumbnails of the other photos that it suspects are the same people. Elements is pretty sure of itself and asks you to point out where it went wrong. That way you make Elements' facial recognizer 'smarter'. Confirm with the button Save.

On the left are the photos we mentioned earlier, on the right Organizer finds all other photos of these people.

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