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How many images for good face recognition

I can't find a good answer for this.

Currently, my own experiments tell me i need at least 500+ images (currently i'm even thinking 1000 images) to get reliable face recognition, with lots of variation in illumination/facial hair, pictures close to the screen, far way, head tilted to the left or right, up and down etc. I am taking the images from webcam.

Now i'm approaching 2 problems.

  1. I suspect that to much variation will generalize the image and not help at all anymore. There must be a limit of diminishing returns.
  2. It takes an awful long time to start and train the program (10 minutes?) with 3 people and about 500 images each. Total image size is about 20Mb, and a saved model is about 56000 Kbytes. Would saving and loading the model be quicker on startup?

I would have hoped i would be able to do with much less (i can but then it is not so reliable i would be able to use it in a commercial fashion anymore). I don't see much difference using either Eigen or Fisherfaces. But maybe i need to keep more components, currently only doing 10 for Eigen.

Thanks for your comments! atv