Research papers and code for "Ming-Hsuan Yang":
We study domain-specific video streaming. Specifically, we target a streaming setting where the videos to be streamed from a server to a client are all in the same domain and they have to be compressed to a small size for low-latency transmission. Several popular video streaming services, such as the video game streaming services of GeForce Now and Twitch, fall in this category. While conventional video compression standards such as H.264 are commonly used for this task, we hypothesize that one can leverage the property that the videos are all in the same domain to achieve better video quality. Based on this hypothesis, we propose a novel video compression pipeline. Specifically, we first apply H.264 to compress domain-specific videos. We then train a novel binary autoencoder to encode the leftover domain-specific residual information frame-by-frame into binary representations. These binary representations are then compressed and sent to the client together with the H.264 stream. In our experiments, we show that our pipeline yields consistent gains over standard H.264 compression across several benchmark datasets while using the same channel bandwidth.

* Accepted in AAAI'18. Project website at https://research.nvidia.com/publication/2018-02_Learning-Binary-Residual
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Representing features at multiple scales is of great importance for numerous vision tasks. Recent advances in backbone convolutional neural networks (CNNs) continually demonstrate stronger multi-scale representation ability, leading to consistent performance gains on a wide range of applications. However, most existing methods represent the multi-scale features in a layer-wise manner. In this paper, we propose a novel building block for CNNs, namely Res2Net, by constructing hierarchical residual-like connections within one single residual block. The Res2Net represents multi-scale features at a granular level and increases the range of receptive fields for each network layer. The proposed Res2Net block can be plugged into the state-of-the-art backbone CNN models, e.g., ResNet, ResNeXt, and DLA. We evaluate the Res2Net block on all these models and demonstrate consistent performance gains over baseline models on widely-used datasets, e.g., CIFAR-100 and ImageNet. Further ablation studies and experimental results on representative computer vision tasks, i.e., object detection, class activation mapping, and salient object detection, further verify the superiority of the Res2Net over the state-of-the-art baseline methods. The source code and trained models will be made publicly available.

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This paper proposes an end-to-end trainable network, SegFlow, for simultaneously predicting pixel-wise object segmentation and optical flow in videos. The proposed SegFlow has two branches where useful information of object segmentation and optical flow is propagated bidirectionally in a unified framework. The segmentation branch is based on a fully convolutional network, which has been proved effective in image segmentation task, and the optical flow branch takes advantage of the FlowNet model. The unified framework is trained iteratively offline to learn a generic notion, and fine-tuned online for specific objects. Extensive experiments on both the video object segmentation and optical flow datasets demonstrate that introducing optical flow improves the performance of segmentation and vice versa, against the state-of-the-art algorithms.

* Accepted in ICCV'17. Code is available at https://sites.google.com/site/yihsuantsai/research/iccv17-segflow
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Photorealistic image stylization concerns transferring style of a reference photo to a content photo with the constraint that the stylized photo should remain photorealistic. While several photorealistic image stylization methods exist, they tend to generate spatially inconsistent stylizations with noticeable artifacts. In this paper, we propose a method to address these issues. The proposed method consists of a stylization step and a smoothing step. While the stylization step transfers the style of the reference photo to the content photo, the smoothing step ensures spatially consistent stylizations. Each of the steps has a closed-form solution and can be computed efficiently. We conduct extensive experimental validations. The results show that the proposed method generates photorealistic stylization outputs that are more preferred by human subjects as compared to those by the competing methods while running much faster. Source code and additional results are available at https://github.com/NVIDIA/FastPhotoStyle .

* Accepted by ECCV 2018
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Superpixels provide an efficient low/mid-level representation of image data, which greatly reduces the number of image primitives for subsequent vision tasks. Existing superpixel algorithms are not differentiable, making them difficult to integrate into otherwise end-to-end trainable deep neural networks. We develop a new differentiable model for superpixel sampling that leverages deep networks for learning superpixel segmentation. The resulting "Superpixel Sampling Network" (SSN) is end-to-end trainable, which allows learning task-specific superpixels with flexible loss functions and has fast runtime. Extensive experimental analysis indicates that SSNs not only outperform existing superpixel algorithms on traditional segmentation benchmarks, but can also learn superpixels for other tasks. In addition, SSNs can be easily integrated into downstream deep networks resulting in performance improvements.

* ECCV2018. Project URL: https://varunjampani.github.io/ssn/
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In this paper, we propose a learning-based method to compose a video-story from a group of video clips that describe an activity or experience. We learn the coherence between video clips from real videos via the Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) that jointly incorporates the spatial-temporal semantics and motion dynamics to generate smooth and relevant compositions. We further rearrange the results generated by the RNN to make the overall video-story compatible with the storyline structure via a submodular ranking optimization process. Experimental results on the video-story dataset show that the proposed algorithm outperforms the state-of-the-art approach.

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A caricature is an artistic form of a person's picture in which certain striking characteristics are abstracted or exaggerated in order to create a humor or sarcasm effect. For numerous caricature related applications such as attribute recognition and caricature editing, face parsing is an essential pre-processing step that provides a complete facial structure understanding. However, current state-of-the-art face parsing methods require large amounts of labeled data on the pixel-level and such process for caricature is tedious and labor-intensive. For real photos, there are numerous labeled datasets for face parsing. Thus, we formulate caricature face parsing as a domain adaptation problem, where real photos play the role of the source domain, adapting to the target caricatures. Specifically, we first leverage a spatial transformer based network to enable shape domain shifts. A feed-forward style transfer network is then utilized to capture texture-level domain gaps. With these two steps, we synthesize face caricatures from real photos, and thus we can use parsing ground truths of the original photos to learn the parsing model. Experimental results on the synthetic and real caricatures demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed domain adaptation algorithm. Code is available at: https://github.com/ZJULearning/CariFaceParsing .

* Accepted in ICIP 2019, code and model are available at https://github.com/ZJULearning/CariFaceParsing
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Learning to insert an object instance into an image in a semantically coherent manner is a challenging and interesting problem. Solving it requires (a) determining a location to place an object in the scene and (b) determining its appearance at the location. Such an object insertion model can potentially facilitate numerous image editing and scene parsing applications. In this paper, we propose an end-to-end trainable neural network for the task of inserting an object instance mask of a specified class into the semantic label map of an image. Our network consists of two generative modules where one determines where the inserted object mask should be (i.e., location and scale) and the other determines what the object mask shape (and pose) should look like. The two modules are connected together via a spatial transformation network and jointly trained. We devise a learning procedure that leverage both supervised and unsupervised data and show our model can insert an object at diverse locations with various appearances. We conduct extensive experimental validations with comparisons to strong baselines to verify the effectiveness of the proposed network.

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Online video object segmentation is a challenging task as it entails to process the image sequence timely and accurately. To segment a target object through the video, numerous CNN-based methods have been developed by heavily finetuning on the object mask in the first frame, which is time-consuming for online applications. In this paper, we propose a fast and accurate video object segmentation algorithm that can immediately start the segmentation process once receiving the images. We first utilize a part-based tracking method to deal with challenging factors such as large deformation, occlusion, and cluttered background. Based on the tracked bounding boxes of parts, we construct a region-of-interest segmentation network to generate part masks. Finally, a similarity-based scoring function is adopted to refine these object parts by comparing them to the visual information in the first frame. Our method performs favorably against state-of-the-art algorithms in accuracy on the DAVIS benchmark dataset, while achieving much faster runtime performance.

* Accepted in CVPR'18 as Spotlight. Code and model are available at https://github.com/JingchunCheng/FAVOS
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In order to learn object segmentation models in videos, conventional methods require a large amount of pixel-wise ground truth annotations. However, collecting such supervised data is time-consuming and labor-intensive. In this paper, we exploit existing annotations in source images and transfer such visual information to segment videos with unseen object categories. Without using any annotations in the target video, we propose a method to jointly mine useful segments and learn feature representations that better adapt to the target frames. The entire process is decomposed into two tasks: 1) solving a submodular function for selecting object-like segments, and 2) learning a CNN model with a transferable module for adapting seen categories in the source domain to the unseen target video. We present an iterative update scheme between two tasks to self-learn the final solution for object segmentation. Experimental results on numerous benchmark datasets show that the proposed method performs favorably against the state-of-the-art algorithms.

* Accepted in ACCV'18 (oral). Code is available at https://github.com/wenz116/TransferSeg
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Compositing is one of the most common operations in photo editing. To generate realistic composites, the appearances of foreground and background need to be adjusted to make them compatible. Previous approaches to harmonize composites have focused on learning statistical relationships between hand-crafted appearance features of the foreground and background, which is unreliable especially when the contents in the two layers are vastly different. In this work, we propose an end-to-end deep convolutional neural network for image harmonization, which can capture both the context and semantic information of the composite images during harmonization. We also introduce an efficient way to collect large-scale and high-quality training data that can facilitate the training process. Experiments on the synthesized dataset and real composite images show that the proposed network outperforms previous state-of-the-art methods.

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We propose a method for semi-supervised semantic segmentation using an adversarial network. While most existing discriminators are trained to classify input images as real or fake on the image level, we design a discriminator in a fully convolutional manner to differentiate the predicted probability maps from the ground truth segmentation distribution with the consideration of the spatial resolution. We show that the proposed discriminator can be used to improve semantic segmentation accuracy by coupling the adversarial loss with the standard cross entropy loss of the proposed model. In addition, the fully convolutional discriminator enables semi-supervised learning through discovering the trustworthy regions in predicted results of unlabeled images, thereby providing additional supervisory signals. In contrast to existing methods that utilize weakly-labeled images, our method leverages unlabeled images to enhance the segmentation model. Experimental results on the PASCAL VOC 2012 and Cityscapes datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

* Accepted in BMVC 2018. Code and models available at https://github.com/hfslyc/AdvSemiSeg
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Convolutional neural network-based approaches for semantic segmentation rely on supervision with pixel-level ground truth, but may not generalize well to unseen image domains. As the labeling process is tedious and labor intensive, developing algorithms that can adapt source ground truth labels to the target domain is of great interest. In this paper, we propose an adversarial learning method for domain adaptation in the context of semantic segmentation. Considering semantic segmentations as structured outputs that contain spatial similarities between the source and target domains, we adopt adversarial learning in the output space. To further enhance the adapted model, we construct a multi-level adversarial network to effectively perform output space domain adaptation at different feature levels. Extensive experiments and ablation study are conducted under various domain adaptation settings, including synthetic-to-real and cross-city scenarios. We show that the proposed method performs favorably against the state-of-the-art methods in terms of accuracy and visual quality.

* Accepted in CVPR'18. Code and model are available at https://github.com/wasidennis/AdaptSegNet
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We present a scene parsing method that utilizes global context information based on both the parametric and non- parametric models. Compared to previous methods that only exploit the local relationship between objects, we train a context network based on scene similarities to generate feature representations for global contexts. In addition, these learned features are utilized to generate global and spatial priors for explicit classes inference. We then design modules to embed the feature representations and the priors into the segmentation network as additional global context cues. We show that the proposed method can eliminate false positives that are not compatible with the global context representations. Experiments on both the MIT ADE20K and PASCAL Context datasets show that the proposed method performs favorably against existing methods.

* Accepted in ICCV'17. Code available at https://github.com/hfslyc/GCPNet
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In recent years, numerous effective multi-object tracking (MOT) methods are developed because of the wide range of applications. Existing performance evaluations of MOT methods usually separate the object tracking step from the object detection step by using the same fixed object detection results for comparisons. In this work, we perform a comprehensive quantitative study on the effects of object detection accuracy to the overall MOT performance, using the new large-scale University at Albany DETection and tRACking (UA-DETRAC) benchmark dataset. The UA-DETRAC benchmark dataset consists of 100 challenging video sequences captured from real-world traffic scenes (over 140,000 frames with rich annotations, including occlusion, weather, vehicle category, truncation, and vehicle bounding boxes) for object detection, object tracking and MOT system. We evaluate complete MOT systems constructed from combinations of state-of-the-art object detection and object tracking methods. Our analysis shows the complex effects of object detection accuracy on MOT system performance. Based on these observations, we propose new evaluation tools and metrics for MOT systems that consider both object detection and object tracking for comprehensive analysis.

* 18 pages, 11 figures
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We propose a deep learning-based framework for instance-level object segmentation. Our method mainly consists of three steps. First, We train a generic model based on ResNet-101 for foreground/background segmentations. Second, based on this generic model, we fine-tune it to learn instance-level models and segment individual objects by using augmented object annotations in first frames of test videos. To distinguish different instances in the same video, we compute a pixel-level score map for each object from these instance-level models. Each score map indicates the objectness likelihood and is only computed within the foreground mask obtained in the first step. To further refine this per frame score map, we learn a spatial propagation network. This network aims to learn how to propagate a coarse segmentation mask spatially based on the pairwise similarities in each frame. In addition, we apply a filter on the refined score map that aims to recognize the best connected region using spatial and temporal consistencies in the video. Finally, we decide the instance-level object segmentation in each video by comparing score maps of different instances.

* CVPR 2017 Workshop on DAVIS Challenge. Code is available at http://github.com/JingchunCheng/Seg-with-SPN
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In this paper, we introduce a new problem of manipulating a given video by inserting other videos into it. Our main task is, given an object video and a scene video, to insert the object video at a user-specified location in the scene video so that the resulting video looks realistic. We aim to handle different object motions and complex backgrounds without expensive segmentation annotations. As it is difficult to collect training pairs for this problem, we synthesize fake training pairs that can provide helpful supervisory signals when training a neural network with unpaired real data. The proposed network architecture can take both real and fake pairs as input and perform both supervised and unsupervised training in an adversarial learning scheme. To synthesize a realistic video, the network renders each frame based on the current input and previous frames. Within this framework, we observe that injecting noise into previous frames while generating the current frame stabilizes training. We conduct experiments on real-world videos in object tracking and person re-identification benchmark datasets. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm is able to synthesize long sequences of realistic videos with a given object video inserted.

* CVPR 2019
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In saliency detection, every pixel needs contextual information to make saliency prediction. Previous models usually incorporate contexts holistically. However, for each pixel, usually only part of its context region is useful and contributes to its prediction, while some other part may serve as noises and distractions. In this paper, we propose a novel pixel-wise contextual attention network, \ie PiCANet, to learn to selectively attend to informative context locations at each pixel. Specifically, PiCANet generates an attention map over the context region of each pixel, where each attention weight corresponds to the relevance of a context location w.r.t the referred pixel. Then, attentive contextual features can be constructed via selectively incorporating the features of useful context locations with the learned attention. We propose three specific formulations of the PiCANet via embedding the pixel-wise contextual attention mechanism into the pooling and convolution operations with attending to global or local contexts. All the three models are fully differentiable and can be integrated with CNNs with joint training. We introduce the proposed PiCANets into a U-Net architecture for salient object detection. Experimental results indicate that the proposed PiCANets can significantly improve the saliency detection performance. The generated global and local attention can learn to incorporate global contrast and smoothness, respectively, which help localize salient objects more accurately and highlight them more uniformly. Consequently, our saliency model performs favorably against other state-of-the-art methods. Moreover, we also validate that PiCANets can also improve semantic segmentation and object detection performances, which further demonstrates their effectiveness and generalization ability.

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Contexts play an important role in the saliency detection task. However, given a context region, not all contextual information is helpful for the final task. In this paper, we propose a novel pixel-wise contextual attention network, i.e., the PiCANet, to learn to selectively attend to informative context locations for each pixel. Specifically, for each pixel, it can generate an attention map in which each attention weight corresponds to the contextual relevance at each context location. An attended contextual feature can then be constructed by selectively aggregating the contextual information. We formulate the proposed PiCANet in both global and local forms to attend to global and local contexts, respectively. Both models are fully differentiable and can be embedded into CNNs for joint training. We also incorporate the proposed models with the U-Net architecture to detect salient objects. Extensive experiments show that the proposed PiCANets can consistently improve saliency detection performance. The global and local PiCANets facilitate learning global contrast and homogeneousness, respectively. As a result, our saliency model can detect salient objects more accurately and uniformly, thus performing favorably against the state-of-the-art methods.

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Single image reflection separation is an ill-posed problem since two scenes, a transmitted scene and a reflected scene, need to be inferred from a single observation. To make the problem tractable, in this work we assume that categories of two scenes are known. It allows us to address the problem by generating both scenes that belong to the categories while their contents are constrained to match with the observed image. A novel network architecture is proposed to render realistic images of both scenes based on adversarial learning. The network can be trained in a weakly supervised manner, i.e., it learns to separate an observed image without corresponding ground truth images of transmission and reflection scenes which are difficult to collect in practice. Experimental results on real and synthetic datasets demonstrate that the proposed algorithm performs favorably against existing methods.

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