I'm trying to understand the difference between eigenvectors and eigenfaces, are they different names for same concepts?

I ask this because I got confused when I am trying to compute eigenvectors for a set of images using python and numpy (I have asked a different question about this on stackoverflow):

eigen_values, eigen_vecotrs = np.linalg.eig(cov_matrix)

However when I try to plot these eigenvectors (after reshaping them to correct size) what I get is a set of images like:


which are not like the expected:


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ An eigenvector has a mathematical definition which is widely understood. What is an eigenface? $\endgroup$ – Sycorax says Reinstate Monica Nov 11 '18 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ @MartijnWeterings My result should look like this. I've got another question at so that might help understanding what is the problem. $\endgroup$ – Ravexina Nov 12 '18 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ @MartijnWeterings Thanks, I'm able to plot the average image... "The problem is related to programming", It might be... I hope that I get an answer at stackoverflow. $\endgroup$ – Ravexina Nov 12 '18 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ I think this should be left open. @MartijnWeterings was nice enough to note that my answer was a good one for the question asked. Even if Ravexina has another question as well as this one, this one is useful. $\endgroup$ – Peter Flom - Reinstate Monica Nov 18 '18 at 9:40

According to Wikipedia:

Eigenfaces is the name given to a set of eigenvectors when they are used in the computer vision problem of human face recognition.

So, the answer is "yes, in the context of face recognition, but not in other contexts.

The Wikipedia page has quite a lot of additional information.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Peter, I have already read that however because my results are not similar to an eigenface I thought maybe they are different concepts, Do you have any idea why my results are wrong? (I'm reshaping a eigenvector to it's correct size then I'm ploting it). $\endgroup$ – Ravexina Nov 12 '18 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, but I have no idea. $\endgroup$ – Peter Flom - Reinstate Monica Nov 13 '18 at 12:24

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