Fast faces ID

Christopher Breen
19 August, 2011
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I just upgraded to iPhoto ’11 and now have the daunting task of assigning face names to 24,000 faces in my iPhoto library. How do you do it, and are there ways to speed up the process?


After you’ve imported your images, iPhoto will set about identifying faces in your library. Select Faces under Library in iPhoto’s Source list, and you can watch it work through your images, displaying faces as it goes.

When it’s finished, you’ll see a collection of faces on a corkboard background, with Unnamed beneath each image. Highlight one of these fields and enter the name of the person in the image. Repeat for the other images on the corkboard.

If you like, click Show More Faces and you’ll see other faces from your library. Now enter their names. When you’re ready for serious naming, click Continue To Faces. This screen will show one picture of each face you’ve identified. Double-click on one of those faces, and you’ll see the entire image that the face came from.

At the bottom of the window,you’ll see a ‘Person X May Be in XX Additional Photos’ message. Click the Confirm Additional Faces button at the bottom of the window. iPhoto makes its best guess about which images contain the person’s face.

At the top of the window you’ll now see the one image you’ve named and confirmed. Below are unconfirmed faces. Click and drag across contiguous images of this person.When you do so, each image is assigned the person’s name. If iPhoto has done its job properly, far more faces will belong to the person you want rather than someone else. If nearly all the faces are identified correctly, the quicker method is to drag across all the images and then click incorrect ones to reject them.

If you’ve chosen the first method, be sure to Option-click incorrect faces to reject them before you click Done. This improves iPhoto’s results.

When you click Done, you’ll return to this person’s page, where you’ll probably see another entry at the bottom indicating that they may be in additional photos. Click Confirm Additional Faces and repeat the previous process. You may find that you have to do this a few times before you’re no longer prompted to identify this person in other images.

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