Faces book

September 29

Been playing around with the facial recognition feature in Picasa 3.5 the last two days. It’s great fun! I’ve thought about tagging my photos or something to make it easier to look up older photos of people, but this feature definitely makes it a lot easier. So far, the facial recognition part seems pretty solid: I’ve only seen two matches so far that weren’t actual faces. There’s the problem of faces not getting recognized as faces though, but I’m not sure how bad this is since Picasa is still only 29% through the scanning, even though I left it on all night yesterday…


Then there’s the face grouping feature, which groups similar faces together. When you tag a group of photos with a name, they’ll be put in that person’s folder, and you can easily find photos of specific people. The website says you’re supposed to be able to find photos with two or more people that you specify, but I haven’t quite figured out how this is supposed to work yet… You can also make different types of photo montages, which should be great for making gifts/cards to people. Or making wallpapers of the girl/boy you’re stalking, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Johan Ho
It’s a me! Use this as your wallpaper if you want. No, actually, please don’t.

As you tag more faces into a person’s album, Picasa will get better at recognizing this person. It’s pretty cool! But of course, the program won’t be able to get things 100% correct. Some minor difficulties I’ve found while playing with this program:

  • If I tag some blurry photos with a person’s name, Picasa tends to suggest or add a bunch of other (and very often wrong) blurry photos for that person. Can’t really blame it for getting it wrong when the photos are bad quality… I wonder if I should just stop tagging the blurry photos.
  • When you’re working on the “unknown people” page, there’s an option that groups together all faces that Picasa thinks are similar, and it shows only one of them for you to tag. When you tag that photo, the whole group is tagged as being that person. However, sometimes this adds a lot of wrong faces to that person. I guess it’s best if you make sure to choose “Expand group” to show all the faces in the group, to make sure it’s correct. Especially when it’s one of the beforementioned blurry photos! Even though it slows down the tagging a little bit. Still, this feature is a great timesaver, otherwise you’d have to tag one by one all the faces that Picasa doesn’t recognize automatically!
  • For reasons I don’t understand, some faces are put in lots of different people’s albums. When I’m browsing through the photos, they keep showing up in the wrong albums. I’m not even sure if it’s because they keep moving around after I delete them from the wrong albums, or if they’re actually tagged in each of those albums.
  • Sometimes Picasa hangs when I try to tag someone. And it forgets the last 5 minutes or so of tagging that I’ve done when I kill it and restarts it. This problem is pretty annoying… I’m not entirely sure that it’s hanging completely or if I just have to wait a bit longer for it to start working again though. But it’s pretty annoying when it forget the tags I’ve been working on…

Still, even with those issues, it’s really cool whenever Picasa adds a bunch of (correct) photos to a person’s album! For a couple of the people I think I’ve tagged 20-30 or so photos manually, and then Picasa has automatically suggested 100+ correct photos, so I can just select them and choose “Confirm”! It’s almost like a kick! In fact, I feel like I’m almost addicted to tagging photos now… just have to tag a few more photos…

On a sidenote, I better make sure the Picasa database is being backuped, so I can keep the tags even if something bad happens to the computer. *sigh*

A short list of things I’ve done since last post:

  • Went to hear Nina and Elizabeth’s performance on Friday 18th September, Oslo kulturnatt. I thought my family intended to listen to the rest of the performances, but we snuck out a bit after Nina and Elizabeth’s last performance!
  • Went to a free SEMISCON concert on Monday 20th september. It was actually pretty cool, even though I fell asleep for part of the concert. Went to eat sushi with some Chinese youth afterwards.
  • Had a sleepover at church Friday 25th to Saturday 26th. Played some games, ate food and watched some movies, while not sleeping much at all. (That is to say, I slept the most of everyone probably, but the others tried to stay awake as long as they could.) Well, one person had to be awake at all times because we’re not actually allowed to sleep at the church building unless someone is keeping watch. But that person was not me.
  • Went shopping a bit with my family today. Bought a new bathrobe. It’s a bit thinner, so hopefully it won’t be too warm when I use it in summer, like the other one I have.

Ugh, need to pull myself away from the photo tagging and get myself to bed. Work tomorrow… *sigh*


Posted by on 2009-09-29 in Uncategorized

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