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The ORL face database

This directory contains a set of faces taken between April 1992 and April 1994 at the Olivetti Research Laboratory in Cambridge, UK.

There are 10 different images of 40 distinct subjects. For some of the subjects, the images were taken at different times, varying lighting slightly, facial expressions (open/closed eyes, smiling/non-smiling) and facial details (glasses/no-glasses). All the images are taken against a dark homogeneous background and the subjects are in up-right, frontal position (with tolerance for some side movement).

The files are in PGM format and can be conveniently viewed using the 'xv' program. The size of each image is 92x112, 8-bit grey levels. The images are organised in 40 directories (one for each subject) named as:


where X indicates the subject number (between 1 and 40). In each directory there are 10 different images of the selected subject named as:


where Y indicates which image for the specific subject (between 1 and 10).

When using these images, please give credit to Olivetti Research Laboratory. A convenient reference is the face recognition work which uses some of these images:

F. Samaria and A. Harter "Parameterisation of a stochastic model for human face identification" 2nd IEEE Workshop on Applications of Computer Vision December 1994, Sarasota (Florida).

The paper is available via anonymous ftp from and is stored in pub/users/fs/

If you have any question, please email Ferdinando Samaria:


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