Jasmine posted her brief sneak peek at iLife '09 yesterday with a slide show, and it's pretty clear that major improvements have come to Apple's suite of lifestyle applications, most notably iPhoto '09, iMovie '09, and GarageBand '09. Since I'm an amateur photography nerd with aspirations of rock stardom, I'm most interested in iPhoto and GarageBand, though the new iMovie may be enough for me to whip out my Flip camcorder and record more than just dogs riding on skateboards. Of course, iWeb '09 has a few updates, too. I have just got through the iPhoto '09 face recognition hurdle, and am just starting on the rest of the iLife suite. So here's an in-depth look at the facial recognition bit of iPhoto, with more to come later.
iPhoto '09 Lets start with the belle of the ball, iPhoto '09. Why do I say that? Because the new Faces and Places feature on iPhoto '09 was definitely one of the biggest news out of Phil Schiller's Macworld keynote. While iPhoto '08 introduced Events, which lets you group photos based on the dates they were taken, iPhoto '09 introduced three new features that got the Mac community buzzing--facial recognition, geotagging, and social network support. For the facial recognition, you don't have to tag every single photo you have with a name and a face; the idea is that iPhoto '09 will be smart enough to do the facial recognition for you. However, it will only work after you do the necessary legwork to make it all happen.
Assuming you don't have photos in your iPhoto library already, you'll have to import them. Me, I have about 3,500 photos sitting in my Aperture library on the laptop, and that's not even counting the more than 10,000 photos I have in my external hard drive at home. So if you're a big photography dork like me, it'll take some time for all the photos to import over. Once that happens, you can immediately start identifying faces and names. Sometimes iPhoto will be smart enough to detect faces for you, and sometimes it won't be. If it does detect a face, it'll display a square over what it thinks is a face, with a placeholder name "unknown face" underneath it. If it doesn't detect a face, you'll have to hit the "Add Missing Face" button on the bottom left, select the face, and add a name. Once you identify a face with a name, you can go to the Faces corkboard, select a face, and iPhoto '09 will scout out your entire library to find photos with a similar face. Once it does, it's up to you to go through the results to confirm or not confirm if the photos really do show that person. This is how the facial recognition training works.
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