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Name Faces in iPhoto efficiently Apps
I've become somewhat obsessed with the faces feature in iPhoto. Currently, I have about 7000 unidentified faces in my library. I knock out a few hundred here and there. It's oddly satisfying, but I go to a lot of large events - events where a lot of people look familiar because they are regulars, but I don't know them. This makes finding faces rather cumbersome, especially since the method of ignoring faces requires the mouse. Everything else can be done with the keyboard. Plus, doesn't track repeatedly ignored faces, so the same faces keep showing up. Well, I've discovered a way to work around these cumbersome limitations.

Doing everything with the keyboard makes things go a lot faster. If you're using the Find Faces feature and skip faces you don't know (because you don't want to pause to use the mouse), the next time you click on Find Faces, you'll be presented with those same unknown faces over and over again. They build up and always get presented in the same order, so you end up spending a lot of time skipping them before you get to new faces.

To avoid this, just name all these unknown faces 'Unknown' (or some other word with an uncommon starting letter). Then all you have to do to ignore a face (once you've tabbed to it) is type a 'u.' After you've labeled a bunch, open the 'Unknown' face album and bulk-confirm all the unwanted faces. Now the next time you use Find Faces, you'll get right to the new faces.

A few other time-saving tips:

You can create a smart album containing unnamed faces, open the album and hit the info button, then start tabbing and naming. The photos with unnamed faces will disappear as you update them. This allows you to have a good idea of your progress.

Not naming a face when the person's name is on the tip of your tongue, can make them rather hard to return to when their name pops into your head. I find it useful to name them something like '?Alan's Wife' or some other memorable note. All such names will be at the top of your Faces album listing (because of the question mark), and you can change the name of all occurrences simply by renaming the album.

Let auto-complete do most of the work. Most times, the first few letters are all you have to type before iPhoto fills in the rest of the name. Note, iPhoto uses Facebook, your contacts, and your previously named faces for auto-fill, but it skips contacts' middle names and does not include nicknames.

When confirming faces, if you come across a different face that you know, you can right/control-click and name it. Plus, sometimes all it takes to remember a name is the context of the photo, but the Find Faces feature does not let you zoom-out to see the whole image. Yet, when confirming faces, you can unzoom/zoom with the switch at the top-right of the window. I find that the confirm-faces interface is a faster way to find new faces than the Find Faces feature and I was methodically going through each face album to find new faces this way before I discovered the smart album trick mentioned above.

[crarko adds: Faces is not a feature I use very much, but this might get me to start. By the way, sorry about the slow July. I've been on vacation a bit, and the hint queue is pretty bare at the moment. I'll be putting up a couple of polls related to Yosemite as we await the public beta. Things will probably remain slow until that release.]
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Name Faces in iPhoto efficiently
Authored by: odaiwai on Jul 10, '14 07:39:33AM

I found it really useful to set up a smart folder where "Face = Unknown" and just chip away at it.

Also, if you don't want Unknown to look like everyone, mouse over the face, and click the circled X in the top left hand corner of the face. This deletes it from consideration. Super handy, when you have a picture of your child in the school choir, and have no wish to identify his 300 friends.

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Name Faces in iPhoto efficiently
Authored by: cpragman on Jul 10, '14 07:45:21AM

Good tip.

Does having so many dissimilar faces associated with a single name "Unknown" have any negative side effect on the faces AI that tries to suggest names for faces it recognizes?

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Name Faces in iPhoto efficiently
Authored by: robleach on Jul 10, '14 11:44:04AM

My experience with it has been such that I believe it uses each face independently when selecting more faces to identify and suggest as a face to confirm. The more different faces I add, the more faces it suggests I confirm. So I have not noticed any degradation.

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Name Faces in iPhoto efficiently
Authored by: MtnBiker on Jul 10, '14 02:24:45PM

I've had an Unknown for several years and I can't see any problems.

I also have a face called Wheel because tires and wheels seem to come up as a face and it's easier to just let it be the person Wheel (it could just as easily be Unknown, but what fun is that?).

Thanks for the tip, it adds some new ideas to what I've been doing.

Hermosa Beach, CA USA

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Name Faces in iPhoto efficiently
Authored by: robleach on Jul 10, '14 03:09:17PM

One of the downsides of this method is that if you happen to meet and get to know one of the unknown people, weeding them out of the huge unknown album can be a pain. You can't re-name them on the spot. You have to first dis-identify them as "Unknown". Then you have to search for them. Perhaps flag them or something before you remove them from the unknown album.

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Name Faces in iPhoto efficiently
Authored by: LEgregius on Jul 14, '14 07:38:07AM

The biggest problem I have with the AI in faces is with children. My children and the children of my brother-in-law all look like other people and like each other at different ages, so I have to override almost every single one of them. Like the author, I have spend hours making sure all the names are correct, though.

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Name Faces in iPhoto efficiently
Authored by: Cyndi on Jul 27, '14 01:37:49PM

Sometimes I click away faces I don't want to name but, as others have mentioned, they often come back again. So I use categories. "Expo West attendee" or "ballet student." This is very helpful as well when the individual face (or picture) pops up out of context and I'm trying to figure out where it's from. When I don't have someone's full name I will say something like "Jane XXX School" or "XXX Student." But I like the question mark in the front so all the partial names are grouped together to find more easily later (for those of us with hundreds of individual faces).

Now if someone could just come up with a way to get iPhoto to ID faces as faces. Or at least allow us to click on a face to get a box around it (like you can on Facebook). Huge PITA to have to click on add a face, move and rescale the box, times multiple faces (rescaling being required if it's a group photo and the standard box fits several heads). At this point, I have to add about 50% of my faces as faces (iPhoto doesn't recognize them, and many are direct clear shots, even shots that are near identical to other shots where it sees the faces as faces). Yet it tells me that rolls of sushi, uneven paint jobs on the wall, kneecaps, and random blobs are faces.

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Name Faces in iPhoto efficiently
Authored by: sd on Aug 11, '14 04:15:42AM

I'll give it a try. Usually, I prefer to click the circled X in the top left hand corner of the face to tell iPhoto to no more consider it.

BTW, I hope new "Photos" app will be better than iPhoto for face recognition. Picasa is really smarter for this by now, with usually good guess, and a few miss. iPhoto often do not recognize my kids (maybe tricked by photos when they were babies), and is totally confused by people wearing sunglasses (contrary to Picasa).

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