Thursday, June 25, 2009

iPhoto Faces Awesomeness

I've been using iLife '09 since it came out. I've made heavy use of its integration with Facebook and Flickr. One of the features that I've wanted to experiment with is Faces. This is face recognition technology. Using it is simple. You have to train it by taking a few pictures and telling iPhoto who are in those pictures. This is very easy. Look at a picture, click on the "Name" button, and iPhoto immediately recognizes the faces in the picture. There is a little text box next to each face, and you just type in the name. It remembers previously typed names or names from your Address Book, so there is usually very little typing to do. Obviously the more training you do, the better the results that iPhoto will have.

Despite this being so easy, I've been too lazy to use this. Until now. I was importing a handful of pictures taken with my iPhone. These were mostly pictures of my boys playing and being goofy. Here is a picture of Michael, Jr. (age 5):

And here is a picture of Raymond (age 3):

Now the reason that I show the pictures and mention the ages will become obvious momentarily. Back to the narrative. After tagging my kids in these pictures, iPhoto was ready to show me other pictures with the same faces. The very first one that it showed me nearly made me cry:

Yes that is my oldest son. He was just six months old in that picture. The pics I used to train iPhoto were all very recent. It was really cool that it recognized his face, even though he certainly looks a lot different today than he did four and a half years ago. Similarly, iPhoto served up this gem for Raymond:

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