Windows Live Wave 4: Photo Gallery with Facial Recognition and Photo Fuse!

Last month we gave you a glimpse of what’s to come for Windows Live Photo Gallery Wave 4. Having the chance to actually play with an early build of Photo Gallery today, we’ve discovered two brand new features that we haven’t told you about:

  • Face Recognition – Yes! You’ve heard it right, the long-awaited Face Recognition feature is coming to Photo Gallery! Not just face detection (which detects whether a face is in a photo or not), but Photo Gallery now automatically recognises who’s who in your photos! Both Face Detection and Face Recognition works silently in the background and scans through thousands of photos to let you select and add People tags to your photos. After you’ve tagged a few people in your photos, Photo Gallery will “remember” these people’s faces, as shown below:
    People Tag menu 
    When you add additional photos with those “remembered” people in it, Photo Gallery will automatically detect and recognise who these people are, and will ask you whether you “Agree” with the recognition results, as shown below:
    Facial Recognition
    Clicking on Agree will seamlessly add that People tag to the photo. Those faces that cannot be recognised (or you have never tagged them before) will still appear, and you will be able to “Identify” who they are just like in Wave 3. After several rounds of testing it seems like that the face recognition feature works quite well – and it hasn’t misrecognised anyone yet. Very impressive! Of course, the more you manually add People tags, the better Photo Gallery will “learn” their faces and deliver a better result!
  • Photo Fuse – In addition to Panorama stitching which as in Wave 3, another Microsoft Research project actualised into Photo Gallery – this time it’s Photo Fuse. According to Photo Gallery, Photo Fuse “creates a new photo from the best parts of similar photos”. Here’s how it works, you start by select a series of photos with the same background/taken at the same place. In the example below, the background is a cathedral, however I’m not happy with all the people walking across in front of the photos:
    Photo Fuse Originals  
    To get a clean photo of the cathedral, what you need to do is simply click the “Photo Fuse” button under “Create” tab on the ribbon, and you’ll be presented with the following selection window, as shown below:
    Photo Fuse Selection 
    You can then highlight the portion you’re not satisfied with (example applications include a person with eyes blinking, or powerlines across your photo), and select from the pop-up window the portion you prefer. You can do this to as many areas as you like, and Photo Gallery will automatically “fuse” that portion into the composite image you’re working on. After you’re satisfied with the result, click “Save”. The resulting image from the above example is shown below:
    Photo Fuse final product
    Pretty impressive eh?

These are just a few new features in the new Photo Gallery. When playing around, we’ve noticed quite a few nice enhancements that makes your photo editing and organisation much easier – one example would be a new time adjustment window which makes your life so much easier if your camera is set to the wrong time. We’ll keep digging for new nifty features, and remember, this is just an early build, and we’re already impressed! Stay tuned for more at LiveSide!

Update: You can check out a video of the Photo Fuse feature made by the team behind Microsoft Research by clicking here.