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In Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training, Jan Kabili highlights the key features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. She shows how to correct and enhance photographs, and how to organize a growing collection of digital photos. The course also explains how to use photos in creative projects like photo books, calendars, and greeting cards, and how to share work online and in print. Exercise files accompany the course.
Tagging your many photos of family and friends with their names can take lots of time and effort. Why not let Elements People Recognition system do it for you automatically? Elements can figure out which of your photos contain faces, and with a little bit of input from you, Elements can even identify the people in your photos by name and add keyword tags for you. First, I'm going to make sure that People Recognition is turned on by going up to the View menu and making sure there's a check mark next to Show People Recognition. There are three People Recognition workflows.
The first one I'll show you is called Quick Labeling and I'd like to use this when I know that I have a lot of photos of people that I want to tag. The first step is to select the thumbnails that I want to tag. Here in my Media Browser, I'm going to select the last thumbnail here and then hold the Shift key as I select this thumbnail of the fellow in the cowboy hat, and that selects all the thumbnails in between. Then to do the quick labeling workflow, I'll go up to the Find menu and down to Find People for Tagging. That opens this window where Elements is asking for information about some of the thumbnails that I selected.
This begins the process by which Elements is starting to learn about the people who appear in my photos, so that later, it can more easily identify those people automatically. I'll click on Who is this under the first thumbnail, and that opens a text editing box where I'll type the name of the person in the thumbnail, that's John. The next one is my daughter Kate. I'll click, Who is this under her thumbnail, and I'll type Kate and press Enter or Return. The next three are all Kate. So, I'll click, Who is this under each one and type Kate.
When I'm done, I'll click Save. Now, in the Keyword Tags panel, Elements has automatically made a keyword tag for both Kate and for John and put those in the People category. And it opened this window, asking me to confirm groups of people. Now, this is only one of several different windows that might appear at this point in the workflow. The reason that things don't always happen in exactly the same order is that Elements is trying to shortcut my workflow based on the information that it already has. In this case, it had enough information to find the thumbnails that it thinks are similar to those I've already tagged, and it's trying to save me time by asking me to confirm groups of thumbnails, rather than go through them one at a time.
So, it found two thumbnails here that are similar to one of those of John that I already labeled, and it's correct; these are John. So there's nothing for me to do to those thumbnails. And here, it found three more thumbnails of Kate that it thinks were similar to one of those that I already labeled as Kate, and again, it's correct. So, there is nothing for me to do in this dialog box, other than click the Save button. However, if Elements displayed a thumbnail here that wasn't Kate or John, I could exclude it by moving my mouse over it, so that I could see that X at the top-right of the thumbnail, and then clicking that X. But in this case, these are all correct.
So I'll click Save. Now Elements tells me that I've labeled everyone in my selection. So I'll click OK, and that takes me back to my Media Browser. If you look closely at the bottom-right of each thumbnail, you can see that some of them do indeed have a keyword tag. If I hover over that tag, I can see which tag it is. But Elements didn't do a perfect job. There are actually two photos that I can see that didn't receive a keyword tag even though they were in my selection, and those are these two thumbnails of John; one in which his head is at an angle, and another over here, which is a profile shot.
And those are typical situations in which Elements has a harder time identifying the subject, than when the subject is looking straight at the camera like this one or like this one. And it's okay that Elements didn't tag those photos in the quick labeling workflow, because I can do that myself like this. I'll move over one of the untagged thumbnails and I'll double-click it, and that opens it in Single Photo View. Another way to do that would have been to select that thumbnail and then click this icon to the right of the size slider. In Single Image View, under the large thumbnail, there is an icon which is the Add missing person icon.
If I click that icon, I get this bounding box in the image with the query, Who is this? I can click inside the bounding box to move it over the fellow's face, and then I can click on any of the anchor points to resize the bounding box to surround just the face. Then I'll click on Who is this to open this text editing field and I'll type John, and as I start to type, Elements is trying to auto complete for me, because it already knows of John from the previous work that I did. So, I will click the green check box here and that will label this image John, and it's added the Keyword Tag John to the image.
So that's how to fill in any gaps using the Add Missing Person feature. I'm going to click this icon to bring back the small thumbnails, and I want to show you another workflow, and that is Single Image workflow. I like to use this workflow when I know that I have just a few photos of people's faces to label. I'll do that by clicking on this photo of me right here in the Media Browser to select it and I could either double- click, or I could come up here to this icon next to the size slider, and click to open that photo in Single View. If I move my mouse into the image, I see this light white bounding box around my face.
This means that Elements realizes that this is a face. And if I move my mouse into the bounding box, I see the question, Who is this? So, I'll click on Who is this, and that opens this field where I can type my name. Notice that Elements is suggesting that this might be Kate or it might be John, two people it already knows, but of course, it's neither. So, I'll type Jan, and then I'll press Enter or Return. That creates a keyword tag in the Keyword Tags panel for Jan, and it adds that keyword tag to this photo.
I can go on to another photo by pressing the right arrow key on my keyboard. Here is the next photo in my Media Browser. Again, there is a white bounding box around my face indicating that Elements knows this is a face, and because I've now given a little more information to Elements, it recognizes me as Jan, and it asks, Is this Jan? So I don't have to type anything. I can just click this green check mark, and again that added the Jan keyword tag to this photo. I'll continue to use Single Image View to cycle through some more photos in my Media Browser.
Here's another one, and again, Is this Jan? I'll click the green check mark and there's my keyword tag. I'll go to the next photo. Now, this time, because my face is not full onto the camera, Elements sees that it's a face but it doesn't know that it's Jan. So again, it asks, who is this? And I can click there and I could type Jan, but Elements does know enough to suggest that this might be Jan or Kate or John. I'll click on Jan, and that labels the image as Jan and adds the Jan keyword.
I'll press the right arrow key on my keyboard again, and this time I have a different situation. This is a photo that Elements doesn't even recognize as being a face, and that's because it is such a close-up. In a situation like this, when I'm in Single Image View, and Elements doesn't know that there is a face, I can use the Add Missing Person feature just as I did in the Quick Labeling View. So, I'll click Add missing person to bring up the bounding box, I'll move it over my face, and I'll resize it. I'll click, Who is this? And I'll type Jan, and I'll click the green check mark.
I'm going to go on to one more photo by pressing the right arrow key. Here is a photo with two people in it, both Jan and John, and Elements recognizes that, because it puts two white bounding boxes out; one around my face and one around John's face. I'll move over the bounding box around my face. It knows that this is Jan, so I'll just click the green check mark. And I'll move over the other bounding box. It knows this is John; I'll click that green check mark. That's added two keyword tags to this photo; one for Jan and one for John.
So that's how to use the Single Image workflow in People Recognition. Let me show you one last workflow and that's a workflow that I use when I have a lot of photos of the same person, and I want to quickly tag all of them. Here for example, I have a thumbnail of my son Coby. I'm going to open that into Single Image View by double-clicking it, and I see the white bounding box that means this is a face. I'll move over that bounding box and I see Who is this? I'll click there and I'll type Coby and press Enter or Return. That creates a new keyword tag for Coby and applies it to this image.
Now this time, instead of doing that for each image of Coby, I'll go up to the Coby label in this image and I'll click this arrow to the right of Coby. That opens the Confirming Coby window, where Elements is trying to shorten my workflow by taking a guess at who is Coby and asking me whether that's true or not. First, I'll click on the Confirmed tab. Here I see a thumbnail that I've already confirmed as being Coby. So there really is nothing to do here. If there were thumbnail here that wasn't Coby, I could exclude it by moving my mouse over it and clicking the X. But I'm not going to do that.
Instead, I'll go back to the Unconfirmed tab. Here, Elements is showing me some thumbnails that it thinks might be Coby, but it has two different levels of confidence about that. These thumbnails here that don't have any symbol on them, it's pretty sure are Coby, and indeed it's right, they are Coby. So, there's nothing for me to do regarding those thumbnails. I want to include them in the group that's Coby, but, these thumbnails, the black and white ones, Elements thinks might be Coby, but it's not so sure. And so, it's put this reject icon on each one of these thumbnails.
Now in fact, these are not thumbnails of Coby; they're thumbnails of me when I was little. So, I want to leave them as they are with this reject symbol on them, which basically is telling Elements that they are not Coby. If one of these was Coby, I'd move my mouse over it and either right-click or Ctrl+click on a one-button mouse, and I would choose Is Coby, but the default here is Not Coby. and that's correct. So, I'll move off of that menu. So there's nothing for me to change in the Unconfirmed tab either. I'll just click Save and I'll click OK at the Congratulations, which tells me that all the media with Coby in it has been confirmed.
I'll go back to my Small Thumbnail View in the Media Browser, and as you can see, some of the thumbnails of Coby have been keyword tagged, others have not. But as I showed you earlier, I could come in and open these one by one into Single Image View and add a keyword tag. So, as you can see, the photo recognition system in the Organizer is really a potential timesaver if you do shoot lots of photos of people's faces. Now, it's not perfect. It does best with frontal photos of faces and has more trouble identifying people shot in profile or at an angle or close-up.
But there are plenty of prompts where you can help the system along by feeding it more information. And as you do that, it will use that information to get better and better at matching your friends and family to their photos. So, if you persevere with the People Recognition system, I think you'll find that it really is quite useful.
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