To Face or Not to Face -Using Faces in Aperture 3

Posted by in Aperture, Aperture How-To, Aperture Tips, News, Photo Editing

Quick answer, not to face. With my last major project, I decided to give faces a try. Trying faces with a large and real project I made some mistakes and also learned a bunch as well.

Here here is the workflow I used on this project:

  1. Started a new library to import my project photos into.
  2. Turned on faces in preferences
  3. Import raw files to projects
  4. After importing all the files I quit Aperture 3 then restarted Aperture 3. I do this so Aperture 3 will not process the files more than once. Then I let Aperture run all night processing the files creating thumbnails, previews and finding faces.
  5. I then spent two nights assigning every detected face a name.
  6. I then started my editing of the photos.

What I discovered, in my opinion, was that faces is not ready for prime time. This is what I discovered doing this project:

  • Aperture 3 will not always automatically re-find the faces in a photo you edit with Photoshop CS5. The background I invested in had a horrible paint line down the center so unfortunately, I had to edit every photo in Photoshop to fix the background. So all that work assigning faces before editing the photos was lost. Note to self, don’t go cheap on a background again, and assign faces after editing.
  • Never crop in Photoshop CS5 always crop in Aperture 3, Aperture 3 will assign the face box to a different part of the photo, if it is keep at all, and more importantly Aperture 3’s crop is nondestructive.
  • Always shoot in raw, never shoot in just jpeg. I made a mistake and shot one dance during the recital in JPG because I was low on card space, I was unable to correct the red stage lights.
  • Don’t try to confirm faces from the entire library, do it by project it’s easier and faster.
  • You can select multiple faces in the Confirm Faces dialog by dragging a selection rectangle over multiple faces, and use the option drag to select multiple faces that are wrong.
  • When assigning missing faces you are better off to right click on a photo and tell Aperture 3 to tell detect missing faces, then if Aperture 3 can’t find the face manually add a missing face.
  • If you make a mistake and pick the wrong face just go to confirm faces and remove the wrong face.

The reason I decided to give Faces a try in Aperture 3 was to use it as a sales tool when showing the photos on my iPad. I thought it would be nice to be able to find all the photos of a dancer by name. Unfortunately, I did not have the time or the ambition to reassign faces after editing all the keepers in Photoshop CS5. Would I use faces again? I will probably give it a try after the next update to see if Apple improves Faces, but for now Faces is turned off in all my projects.

Bill Debevc

Software: Aperture 3.0.3, OS X 10.6.4, Adobe Photoshop CS5 12.0
Hardware: iMac 24, 2.8ghz extreme core 2 duo , 4gb RAM.