Ultimate Guide to Emotion Recognition from Facial Expressions

People’s facial expressions reflect their inner feelings. Hence recognizing facial expressions can help us understand people better thus improving our communication with others
Ultimate Guide to Emotion Recognition from Facial Expressions

People’s facial expressions reflect their inner feelings. Hence recognizing facial expressions can help us understand people better thus improving our communication with others. So how do we recognize facial expressions? since first human-computer interfaces we have used computers to identify human facial expressions. However facial recognition technology has significantly advanced thanks to the rapid development in AI and computer vision. Our blog explains how emotions are determined using facial expressions.

What is Facial expression analysis?

It is the process of measuring and interpreting human facial expressions. Measuring facial expressions can be done with sensors or cameras that detect small movements between different points on a person’s face. In some situations analysis can also be done manually by experts who look at and interpret facial expressions.

How do you analyze Facial Expressions?

Facial coding is a research technique social scientists use to record and analyze facial expressions.

It classifies them into primary emotions (happiness, sadness, fear, surprise) and secondary emotions including contempt, disgust, or embarrassment.

Facial coding is a software tool that measures muscle movements of face. With this technique a computer reads micro-expressions made by facial muscles reacting to a stimulus. 

Facial coding is an excellent tool for obtaining objective consumer feedback when dealing with consumers. To get a high level of consumer validation we should use this method about a specific product or situation.

Facial coding

Source: Science Direct

Emotion AI

Emotion AI is a research field that combines AI with psychological models of social interaction to understand and predict human emotion. Its work includes the development of intelligent interfaces to computers, game avatars, virtual assistants, and robots. Emotion AI researchers are developing a better understanding of emotions for the benefit of people and machines alike.

Emotion AI can read your facial expressions and emotions by scanning your eyes, face, and body. So it’s effectively turning your phone into an emotion scanner.

  • Emotion AI will soon change way we think about emotions. 
  • Voice and facial recognition technology has been first wave in this process.
  • Video Calls to create a database of faces and voices linked to emotions.
  • Messaging systems can analyze voice and detect emotion even with games that can read your facial expressions and infer your state of mind. 

But AI is getting beyond integrating human input technology. It’s now on a path where computers better predict our needs and desires than we are. In this world AI will understand our emotions better than we do. Here is the best example of Customer Behavior Analysis with AI.

Report Linker, The Global Emotion Detection & Recognition Market size was estimated at USD 16.99 billion in 2020 and expected to reach USD 19.18 billion in 2021

Emotion AI

Source: Medium

Facial Expression Analysis Software

The facial expression analysis software is made by computer vision technology. It utilizes multiple cameras attached to a computer equipped with advanced software. A video recording is a subject in question walks past the cameras. 

It is analyzed by the program to produce a variety of charts and statistics that quantify different parts of expression factors like corners of the mouth, eyes, skin color, light source. The data gathered was used in both academic and clinical settings to understand better how people feel based on the subtleties of their facial expressions.

Emotion Recognition software

Source: noldus

Facial Expression Examples


Happiness is a common emotion that people show every day. It can express through facial expressions such as smiling or being happy. When we see other people expressing happiness we tend to feel satisfied. Facial expressions are the quickest and most memorable way to express your innermost feelings in any situation sad, happy, angry, or surprised.


Concentration is a vital part of facial expression theory. Facial expression concentration can present a single facial expression with controlled intensity and hold it for desired time. Then it can repeat it without noticeable variation in intensity.  


Triumph is a facial expression that we use to share and store positive emotions. It is associated with pride after succeeding, winning, or accomplishing something difficult. 

Facial Expression Chart

The computer vision facial expression chart allows everyone to understand human emotions classified with machine learning technology. The face expresses many emotions and often says more than words. As an output it is one of the accurate indicators of a person’s feelings, inner thoughts, and motivations.

Emotion Recognition from Facial Expressions

Source: science of people

Emotional Heat Map

The emotional heatmap is a graphical analysis of emotional content of a product. The idea is to create a data visualization that represents emotional intensity of any given product (such as an episode in a TV series or an ad). 

Achieving an emotional heat map combines tv episode’s metadata with user reviews and other voting systems such as iTunes ratings.

Emotional heatmaps are suitable for displaying large amounts of dynamic data from multiple sources. The idea is to use color to show the intensity of different sentiments such as red for more intense feelings and blue for less severe feelings.

emotional heatmap

Source: YouTube


We can see facial expression analysis in many areas, like military, security, marketing, entertainment, and sports. Understanding emotions and their expressions in various scenarios can be helpful for many people and organizations. Results are promising as it shows an ability to distinguish between multiple expressions of emotion.

Visionify is the leading provider of face detection and verification solutions. It’s an easy-to-use face detection solution that tracks multiple faces in real-time. In addition, visionify offers a full suite of integrated face verification solutions with fast, accurate, and reliable face detection, tracking, and identification from video, images, or live camera input. To see a live demo, give us a call.