Pinaki Nath Chowdhury

Pinaki Nath Chowdhury


Postgraduate Research Student

About

My research project

Publications

Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Aneeshan Sain, Subhadeep Koley, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song What Can Human Sketches Do for Object Detection?, In: What Can Human Sketches Do for Object Detection?

Sketches are highly expressive, inherently capturing subjective and fine-grained visual cues. The exploration of such innate properties of human sketches has, however, been limited to that of image retrieval. In this paper, for the first time, we cultivate the expressiveness of sketches but for the fundamental vision task of object detection. The end result is a sketch-enabled object detection framework that detects based on what \textit{you} sketch -- \textit{that} ``zebra'' (e.g., one that is eating the grass) in a herd of zebras (instance-aware detection), and only the \textit{part} (e.g., ``head" of a ``zebra") that you desire (part-aware detection). We further dictate that our model works without (i) knowing which category to expect at testing (zero-shot) and (ii) not requiring additional bounding boxes (as per fully supervised) and class labels (as per weakly supervised). Instead of devising a model from the ground up, we show an intuitive synergy between foundation models (e.g., CLIP) and existing sketch models build for sketch-based image retrieval (SBIR), which can already elegantly solve the task -- CLIP to provide model generalisation, and SBIR to bridge the (sketch$\rightarrow$photo) gap. In particular, we first perform independent prompting on both sketch and photo branches of an SBIR model to build highly generalisable sketch and photo encoders on the back of the generalisation ability of CLIP. We then devise a training paradigm to adapt the learned encoders for object detection, such that the region embeddings of detected boxes are aligned with the sketch and photo embeddings from SBIR. Evaluating our framework on standard object detection datasets like PASCAL-VOC and MS-COCO outperforms both supervised (SOD) and weakly-supervised object detectors (WSOD) on zero-shot setups. Project Page: \url{https://pinakinathc.github.io/sketch-detect}

Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Subhadeep Koley, Amandeep Kumar, Aneeshan Sain, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song Sketch2Saliency: Learning to Detect Salient Objects from Human Drawings, In: Sketch2Saliency: Learning to Detect Salient Objects from Human Drawings

Human sketch has already proved its worth in various visual understanding tasks (e.g., retrieval, segmentation, image-captioning, etc). In this paper, we reveal a new trait of sketches - that they are also salient. This is intuitive as sketching is a natural attentive process at its core. More specifically, we aim to study how sketches can be used as a weak label to detect salient objects present in an image. To this end, we propose a novel method that emphasises on how "salient object" could be explained by hand-drawn sketches. To accomplish this, we introduce a photo-to-sketch generation model that aims to generate sequential sketch coordinates corresponding to a given visual photo through a 2D attention mechanism. Attention maps accumulated across the time steps give rise to salient regions in the process. Extensive quantitative and qualitative experiments prove our hypothesis and delineate how our sketch-based saliency detection model gives a competitive performance compared to the state-of-the-art.

Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Aneeshan Sain, Subhadeep Koley, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song SceneTrilogy: On Human Scene-Sketch and its Complementarity with Photo and Text, In: SceneTrilogy: On Human Scene-Sketch and its Complementarity with Photo and Text

In this paper, we extend scene understanding to include that of human sketch. The result is a complete trilogy of scene representation from three diverse and complementary modalities -- sketch, photo, and text. Instead of learning a rigid three-way embedding and be done with it, we focus on learning a flexible joint embedding that fully supports the ``optionality" that this complementarity brings. Our embedding supports optionality on two axes: (i) optionality across modalities -- use any combination of modalities as query for downstream tasks like retrieval, (ii) optionality across tasks -- simultaneously utilising the embedding for either discriminative (e.g., retrieval) or generative tasks (e.g., captioning). This provides flexibility to end-users by exploiting the best of each modality, therefore serving the very purpose behind our proposal of a trilogy in the first place. First, a combination of information-bottleneck and conditional invertible neural networks disentangle the modality-specific component from modality-agnostic in sketch, photo, and text. Second, the modality-agnostic instances from sketch, photo, and text are synergised using a modified cross-attention. Once learned, we show our embedding can accommodate a multi-facet of scene-related tasks, including those enabled for the first time by the inclusion of sketch, all without any task-specific modifications. Project Page: \url{http://www.pinakinathc.me/scenetrilogy}

Subhadeep Koley, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Aneeshan Sain, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song (2023)Picture that Sketch: Photorealistic Image Generation from Abstract Sketches, In: Picture that Sketch: Photorealistic Image Generation from Abstract Sketches

Given an abstract, deformed, ordinary sketch from untrained amateurs like you and me, this paper turns it into a photorealistic image - just like those shown in Fig. 1(a), all non-cherry-picked. We differ significantly from prior art in that we do not dictate an edgemap-like sketch to start with, but aim to work with abstract free-hand human sketches. In doing so, we essentially democratise the sketch-to-photo pipeline, "picturing" a sketch regardless of how good you sketch. Our contribution at the outset is a decoupled encoder-decoder training paradigm, where the decoder is a StyleGAN trained on photos only. This importantly ensures that generated results are always photorealistic. The rest is then all centred around how best to deal with the abstraction gap between sketch and photo. For that, we propose an autoregressive sketch mapper trained on sketch-photo pairs that maps a sketch to the StyleGAN latent space. We further introduce specific designs to tackle the abstract nature of human sketches, including a fine-grained discriminative loss on the back of a trained sketch-photo retrieval model, and a partial-aware sketch augmentation strategy. Finally, we showcase a few downstream tasks our generation model enables, amongst them is showing how fine-grained sketch-based image retrieval, a well-studied problem in the sketch community, can be reduced to an image (generated) to image retrieval task, surpassing state-of-the-arts. We put forward generated results in the supplementary for everyone to scrutinise.

Aneeshan Sain, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Subhadeep Koley, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Soumitri Chattopadhyay, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song (2023)Exploiting Unlabelled Photos for Stronger Fine-Grained SBIR, In: Exploiting Unlabelled Photos for Stronger Fine-Grained SBIR (Code, Video and publication)

This paper advances the fine-grained sketch-based image retrieval (FG-SBIR) literature by putting forward a strong baseline that overshoots prior state-of-the-arts by ~11%. This is not via complicated design though, but by addressing two critical issues facing the community (i) the gold standard triplet loss does not enforce holistic latent space geometry, and (ii) there are never enough sketches to train a high accuracy model. For the former, we propose a simple modification to the standard triplet loss, that explicitly enforces separation amongst photos/sketch instances. For the latter, we put forward a novel knowledge distillation module can leverage photo data for model training. Both modules are then plugged into a novel plug-n-playable training paradigm that allows for more stable training. More specifically, for (i) we employ an intra-modal triplet loss amongst sketches to bring sketches of the same instance closer from others, and one more amongst photos to push away different photo instances while bringing closer a structurally augmented version of the same photo (offering a gain of ~4-6%). To tackle (ii), we first pre-train a teacher on the large set of unlabelled photos over the aforementioned intra-modal photo triplet loss. Then we distill the contextual similarity present amongst the instances in the teacher's embedding space to that in the student's embedding space, by matching the distribution over inter-feature distances of respective samples in both embedding spaces (delivering a further gain of ~4-5%). Apart from outperforming prior arts significantly, our model also yields satisfactory results on generalising to new classes. Project page: https://aneeshan95.github.io/Sketch_PVT/

Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Tuanfeng Wang, Duygu Ceylan, Yi-Zhe Song, Yulia Gryaditskaya (2022)Garment Ideation: Iterative View-Aware Sketch-Based Garment Modeling, In: 2022 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON 3D VISION, 3DVpp. 22-31 IEEE

Designing real and virtual garments is becoming extremely demanding with rapidly changing fashion trends and increasing need for synthesizing realistically dressed digital humans for various applications. However, traditionally designing real and virtual garments has been time-consuming. Sketch based modeling aims to bring the ease and immediacy of drawing to the 3D world thereby motivating faster iterations. We propose a novel sketch-based garment modeling framework that is specifically targeted to synchronize with the iterative process of garment ideation, e.g., adding or removing details from different views in each iteration. At the core of our learning based approach is a view-aware feature aggregation module that fuses the features from the latest sketch with the thus far aggregated features to effective refine the generated 3D shape. We evaluate our approach on a wide variety of garment types and iterative refinement scenarios. We also provide comparisons to alternative feature aggregation methods and demonstrate favorable results. The code is available at https://github.com/pinakinathc/multiviewsketch-garment.

Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Subhadeep Koley, Abdullah Faiz Ur Rahman Khilji, Aneeshan Sain, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song (2022)Sketching without Worrying: Noise-Tolerant Sketch-Based Image Retrieval, In: 2022 IEEE/CVF CONFERENCE ON COMPUTER VISION AND PATTERN RECOGNITION (CVPR 2022)2022-pp. 989-998 IEEE

Sketching enables many exciting applications, notably, image retrieval. The fear-to-sketch problem (i.e., "I can't sketch") has however proven to be fatal for its widespread adoption. This paper tackles this "fear" head on, and for the first time, proposes an auxiliary module for existing retrieval models that predominantly lets the users sketch without having to worry. We first conducted a pilot study that revealed the secret lies in the existence of noisy strokes, but not so much of the "I can't sketch". We consequently design a stroke subset selector that detects noisy strokes, leaving only those which make a positive contribution towards successful retrieval. Our Reinforcement Learning based formulation quantifies the importance of each stroke present in a given subset, based on the extent to which that stroke contributes to retrieval. When combined with pre-trained retrieval models as a pre-processing module, we achieve a significant gain of 8%40% over standard baselines and in turn report new state-of-the-art performance. Last but not least, we demonstrate the selector once trained, can also be used in a plug-and-play manner to empower various sketch applications in ways that were not previously possible.

Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Aneeshan Sain, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Tao Xiang, Yulia Gryaditskaya, Yi-Zhe Song (2022)FS-COCO: Towards Understanding of Freehand Sketches of Common Objects in Context

We advance sketch research to scenes with the first dataset of freehand scene sketches, FS-COCO. With practical applications in mind, we collect sketches that convey scene content well but can be sketched within a few minutes by a person with any sketching skills. Our dataset comprises 10,000 freehand scene vector sketches with per point space-time information by 100 non-expert individuals, offering both object- and scene-level abstraction. Each sketch is augmented with its text description. Using our dataset, we study for the first time the problem of fine-grained image retrieval from freehand scene sketches and sketch captions. We draw insights on: (i) Scene salience encoded in sketches using the strokes temporal order; (ii) Performance comparison of image retrieval from a scene sketch and an image caption; (iii) Complementarity of information in sketches and image captions, as well as the potential benefit of combining the two modalities. In addition, we extend a popular vector sketch LSTM-based encoder to handle sketches with larger complexity than was supported by previous work. Namely, we propose a hierarchical sketch decoder, which we leverage at a sketch-specific ``pretext" task. Our dataset enables for the first time research on freehand scene sketch understanding and its practical applications. We release the dataset under CC BY-NC 4.0 license: https://fscoco.github.io

Aneeshan Sain, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Subhadeep Koley, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song CLIP for All Things Zero-Shot Sketch-Based Image Retrieval, Fine-Grained or Not

In this paper, we leverage CLIP for zero-shot sketch based image retrieval (ZS-SBIR). We are largely inspired by recent advances on foundation models and the unparalleled generalisation ability they seem to offer, but for the first time tailor it to benefit the sketch community. We put forward novel designs on how best to achieve this synergy, for both the category setting and the fine-grained setting ("all"). At the very core of our solution is a prompt learning setup. First we show just via factoring in sketch-specific prompts, we already have a category-level ZS-SBIR system that overshoots all prior arts, by a large margin (24.8%) - a great testimony on studying the CLIP and ZS-SBIR synergy. Moving onto the fine-grained setup is however trickier, and requires a deeper dive into this synergy. For that, we come up with two specific designs to tackle the fine-grained matching nature of the problem: (i) an additional regularisation loss to ensure the relative separation between sketches and photos is uniform across categories, which is not the case for the gold standard standalone triplet loss, and (ii) a clever patch shuffling technique to help establishing instance-level structural correspondences between sketch-photo pairs. With these designs, we again observe significant performance gains in the region of 26.9% over previous state-of-the-art. The take-home message, if any, is the proposed CLIP and prompt learning paradigm carries great promise in tackling other sketch-related tasks (not limited to ZS-SBIR) where data scarcity remains a great challenge. Project page: https://aneeshan95.github.io/Sketch_LVM/

Ling Luo, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song, Yulia Gryaditskaya 3D VR Sketch Guided 3D Shape Prototyping and Exploration

3D shape modeling is labor-intensive and time-consuming and requires years of expertise. Recently, 2D sketches and text inputs were considered as conditional modalities to 3D shape generation networks to facilitate 3D shape modeling. However, text does not contain enough fine-grained information and is more suitable to describe a category or appearance rather than geometry, while 2D sketches are ambiguous, and depicting complex 3D shapes in 2D again requires extensive practice. Instead, we explore virtual reality sketches that are drawn directly in 3D. We assume that the sketches are created by novices, without any art training, and aim to reconstruct physically-plausible 3D shapes. Since such sketches are potentially ambiguous, we tackle the problem of the generation of multiple 3D shapes that follow the input sketch structure. Limited in the size of the training data, we carefully design our method, training the model step-by-step and leveraging multi-modal 3D shape representation. To guarantee the plausibility of generated 3D shapes we leverage the normalizing flow that models the distribution of the latent space of 3D shapes. To encourage the fidelity of the generated 3D models to an input sketch, we propose a dedicated loss that we deploy at different stages of the training process. We plan to make our code publicly available.

Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Aneeshan Sain, Yi-Zhe Song (2021)Towards the Unseen: Iterative Text Recognition by Distilling from Errors, In: 2021 IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)pp. 14930-14939 IEEE

Visual text recognition is undoubtedly one of the most extensively researched topics in computer vision. Great progress have been made to date, with the latest models starting to focus on the more practical "in-the-wild" setting. However, a salient problem still hinders practical deployment - prior state-of-arts mostly struggle with recognising unseen (or rarely seen) character sequences. In this paper, we put forward a novel framework to specifically tackle this "unseen" problem. Our framework is iterative in nature, in that it utilises predicted knowledge of character sequences from a previous iteration, to augment the main network in improving the next prediction. Key to our success is a unique cross-modal variational autoencoder to act as a feedback module, which is trained with the presence of textual error distribution data. This module importantly translates a discrete predicted character space, to a continuous affine transformation parameter space used to condition the visual feature map at next iteration. Experiments on common datasets have shown competitive performance over state-of-the-arts under the conventional setting. Most importantly, under the new disjoint setup where train-test labels are mutually exclusive, ours offers the best performance thus showcasing the capability of generalising onto unseen words (Figure 1 offers a summary).

Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Aneeshan Sain, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Yi-Zhe Song (2021)Text is Text, No Matter What: Unifying Text Recognition using Knowledge Distillation, In: 2021 IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)pp. 963-972 IEEE

Text recognition remains a fundamental and extensively researched topic in computer vision, largely owing to its wide array of commercial applications. The challenging nature of the very problem however dictated a fragmentation of research efforts: Scene Text Recognition (STR) that deals with text in everyday scenes, and Handwriting Text Recognition (HTR) that tackles hand-written text. In this paper, for the first time, we argue for their unification - we aim for a single model that can compete favourably with two separate state-of-the-art STR and HTR models. We first show that cross-utilisation of STR and HTR models trigger significant performance drops due to differences in their inherent challenges. We then tackle their union by introducing a knowledge distillation (KD) based framework. This however is non-trivial, largely due to the variable-length and sequential nature of text sequences, which renders off-the-shelf KD techniques that mostly work with global fixed length data, inadequate. For that, we propose four distillation losses, all of which are specifically designed to cope with the aforementioned unique characteristics of text recognition. Empirical evidence suggests that our proposed unified model performs at par with individual models, even surpassing them in certain cases. Ablative studies demonstrate that naive baselines such as a two-stage framework, multi-task and domain adaption/generalisation alternatives do not work that well, further authenticating our design.

Aneeshan Sain, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Vaishnav Potlapalli, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song (2022)Sketch3T: Test-Time Training for Zero-Shot SBIR, In: 2022 IEEE/CVF CONFERENCE ON COMPUTER VISION AND PATTERN RECOGNITION (CVPR)2022-pp. 7452-7461 IEEE

Zero-shot sketch-based image retrieval typically asks for a trained model to be applied as is to unseen categories. In this paper, we question to argue that this setup by definition is not compatible with the inherent abstract and subjective nature of sketches - the model might transfer well to new categories, but will not understand sketches existing in different test-time distribution as a result. We thus extend ZS-SBIR asking it to transfer to both categories and sketch distributions. Our key contribution is a test-time training paradigm that can adapt using just one sketch. Since there is no paired photo, we make use of a sketch raster-vector reconstruction module as a self-supervised auxiliary task. To maintain the fidelity of the trained cross-modal joint embedding during test-time update, we design a novel metal-earning based training paradigm to learn a separation between model updates incurred by this auxiliary task from those off the primary objective of discriminative learning. Extensive experiments show our model to outperform state-of-the-arts, thanks to the proposed test-time adaption that not only transfers to new categories but also accommodates to new sketching styles.

Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Aneeshan Sain, Parth Hiren Shah, Animesh Gupta, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song (2022)Adaptive Fine-Grained Sketch-Based Image Retrieval, In: S Avidan, G Brostow, M Cisse, G M Farinella, T Hassner (eds.), COMPUTER VISION, ECCV 2022, PT XXXVII13697pp. 163-181 Springer Nature

The recent focus on Fine-Grained Sketch-Based Image Retrieval (FG-SBIR) has shifted towards generalising a model to new categories without any training data from them. In real-world applications, however, a trained FG-SBIR model is often applied to both new categories and different human sketchers, i.e., different drawing styles. Although this complicates the generalisation problem, fortunately, a handful of examples are typically available, enabling the model to adapt to the new category/style. In this paper, we offer a novel perspective - instead of asking for a model that generalises, we advocate for one that quickly adapts, with just very few samples during testing (in a few-shot manner). To solve this new problem, we introduce a novel model-agnostic meta-learning (MAML) based framework with several key modifications: (1) As a retrieval task with a margin-based contrastive loss, we simplify the MAML training in the inner loop to make it more stable and tractable. (2) The margin in our contrastive loss is also meta-learned with the rest of the model. (3) Three additional regularisation losses are introduced in the outer loop, to make the meta-learned FG-SBIR model more effective for category/style adaptation. Extensive experiments on public datasets suggest a large gain over generalisation and zero-shot based approaches, and a few strong few-shot baselines.

Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Aneeshan Sain, Amandeep Kumar, Shuvozit Ghose, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Yi-Zhe Song (2021)Joint Visual Semantic Reasoning: Multi-Stage Decoder for Text Recognition, In: 2021 IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)pp. 14920-14929 IEEE

Although text recognition has significantly evolved over the years, state-of the-art (SOTA) models still struggle in the wild scenarios due to complex backgrounds, varying fonts, uncontrolled illuminations, distortions and other artifacts. This is because such models solely depend on visual information for text recognition, thus lacking semantic reasoning capabilities. In this paper, we argue that semantic information offers a complementary role in addition to visual only. More specifically, we additionally utilize semantic information by proposing a multi-stage multi-scale attentional decoder that performs joint visual-semantic reasoning. Our novelty lies in the intuition that for text recognition, prediction should be refined in a stage-wise manner. Therefore our key contribution is in designing a stage-wise unrolling attentional decoder where non-differentiability, invoked by discretely predicted character labels, needs to be bypassed for end-to-end training. While the first stage predicts using visual features, subsequent stages refine on-top of it using joint visual-semantic information. Additionally, we introduce multi-scale 2D attention along with dense and residual connections between different stages to deal with varying scales of character sizes, for better performance and faster convergence during training. Experimental results show our approach to outperform existing SOTA methods by a considerable margin.

Yonggang Qi, Guoyao Su, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Mingkang Li, Yi-Zhe Song (2021)SketchLattice: Latticed Representation for Sketch Manipulation, In: 2021 IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)pp. 933-941 IEEE

The key challenge in designing a sketch representation lies with handling the abstract and iconic nature of sketches. Existing work predominantly utilizes either, (i) a pixelative format that treats sketches as natural images employing off-the-shelf CNN-based networks, or (ii) an elaborately designed vector format that leverages the structural information of drawing orders using sequential RNN-based methods. While the pixelative format lacks intuitive exploitation of structural cues, sketches in vector format are absent in most cases limiting their practical usage. Hence, in this paper, we propose a lattice structured sketch representation that not only removes the bottleneck of requiring vector data but also preserves the structural cues that vector data provides. Essentially, sketch lattice is a set of points sampled from the pixelative format of the sketch using a lattice graph. We show that our lattice structure is particularly amenable to structural changes that largely benefits sketch abstraction modeling for generation tasks. Our lattice representation could be effectively encoded using a graph model, that uses significantly fewer model parameters (13.5 times lesser) than existing state-of-the-art. Extensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of sketch lattice for sketch manipulation, including sketch healing and image-to-sketch synthesis.

Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Viswanatha Reddy Gajjala, Aneeshan Sain, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song (2022)Partially Does It: Towards Scene-Level FG-SBIR with Partial Input, In: 2022 IEEE/CVF CONFERENCE ON COMPUTER VISION AND PATTERN RECOGNITION (CVPR 2022)pp. 2385-2395 IEEE

We scrutinise an important observation plaguing scene-level sketch research - that a significant portion of scene sketches are "partial". A quick pilot study reveals: (i) a scene sketch does not necessarily contain all objects in the corresponding photo, due to the subjective holistic interpretation of scenes, (ii) there exists significant empty (white) regions as a result of object-level abstraction, and as a result, (iii) existing scene-level fine-grained sketch-based image retrieval methods collapse as scene sketches become more partial. To solve this "partial" problem, we advocate for a simple set-based approach using optimal transport (OT) to model cross-modal region associativity in a partially-aware fashion. Importantly, we improve upon OT to further account for holistic partialness by comparing intra-modal adjacency matrices. Our proposed method is not only robust to partial scene-sketches but also yields state-of-the-art performance on existing datasets.

Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Aneeshan Sain, Subhadeep Koley, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song (2023)What Can Human Sketches Do for Object Detection?, In: What Can Human Sketches Do for Object Detection? IEEE

Sketches are highly expressive, inherently capturing subjective and fine-grained visual cues. The exploration of such innate properties of human sketches has, however, been limited to that of image retrieval. In this paper, for the first time, we cultivate the expressiveness of sketches but for the fundamental vision task of object detection. The end result is a sketch-enabled object detection framework that detects based on what you sketch - that "zebra" (e.g., one that is eating the grass) in a herd of zebras (instance-aware detection), and only the part (e.g., "head" of a "zebra") that you desire (part-aware detection). We further dictate that our model works without (i) knowing which category to expect at testing (zero-shot) and (ii) not requiring additional bounding boxes (as per fully supervised) and class labels (as per weakly supervised). Instead of devising a model from the ground up, we show an intuitive synergy between foundation models (e.g., CLIP) and existing sketch models build for sketch-based image retrieval (SBIR), which can already elegantly solve the task - CLIP to provide model generalisation, and SBIR to bridge the (sketch→photo) gap. In particular, we first perform independent prompting on both sketch and photo branches of an SBIR model to build highly generalisable sketch and photo encoders on the back of the generalisation ability of CLIP. We then devise a training paradigm to adapt the learned encoders for object detection, such that the region embeddings of detected boxes are aligned with the sketch and photo embeddings from SBIR. Evaluating our framework on standard object detection datasets like PASCAL-VOC and MS-COCO outperforms both supervised (SOD) and weakly-supervised object detectors (WSOD) on zero-shot setups. Project Page: https://pinakinathc.github.io/sketch-detect

Aneeshan Sain, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Subhadeep Koley, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Soumitri Chattopadhyay, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song (2023)Exploiting Unlabelled Photos for Stronger Fine-Grained SBIR, In: 2023 IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)pp. 6873-6883 IEEE

This paper advances the fine-grained sketch-based image retrieval (FG-SBIR) literature by putting forward a strong baseline that overshoots prior state-of-the-arts by ≈11 %. This is not via complicated design though, but by addressing two critical issues facing the community (i) the gold standard triplet loss does not enforce holistic latent space geometry, and (ii) there are never enough sketches to train a high accuracy model. For the former, we propose a simple modification to the standard triplet loss, that explicitly enforces separation amongst photos/sketch instances. For the latter, we put forward a novel knowledge distillation module can leverage photo data for model training. Both modules are then plugged into a novel plug-n-playable training paradigm that allows for more stable training. More specifically, for (i) we employ an intra-modal triplet loss amongst sketches to bring sketches of the same instance closer from others, and one more amongst photos to push away different photo instances while bringing closer a structurally augmented version of the same photo (offering a gain of ≈4-6%). To tackle (ii), we first pre-train a teacher on the large set of unlabelled photos over the aforementioned intra-modal photo triplet loss. Then we distill the contextual similarity present amongst the instances in the teacher's embedding space to that in the student's embedding space, by matching the distribution over inter-feature distances of respective samples in both embedding spaces (delivering a further gain of ≈ 4-5%). Apart from outperforming prior arts significantly, our model also yields satisfactory results on generalising to new classes. Project page: https://aneeshan95.github.io/Sketch_PVT/

Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Subhadeep Koley, Amandeep Kumar, Aneeshan Sain, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song (2023)Sketch2Saliency: Learning to Detect Salient Objects from Human Drawings, In: Sketch2Saliency: Learning to Detect Salient Objects from Human Drawings IEEE

Human sketch has already proved its worth in various visual understanding tasks (e.g., retrieval, segmentation, image-captioning, etc). In this paper, we reveal a new trait of sketches - that they are also salient. This is intuitive as sketching is a natural attentive process at its core. More specifically, we aim to study how sketches can be used as a weak label to detect salient objects present in an image. To this end, we propose a novel method that emphasises on how "salient object" could be explained by hand-drawn sketches. To accomplish this, we introduce a photo-to-sketch generation model that aims to generate sequential sketch coordinates corresponding to a given visual photo through a 2D attention mechanism. Attention maps accumulated across the time steps give rise to salient regions in the process. Extensive quantitative and qualitative experiments prove our hypothesis and delineate how our sketch-based saliency detection model gives a competitive performance compared to the state-of-the-art.

Subhadeep Koley, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Aneeshan Sain, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song (2023)Picture that Sketch: Photorealistic Image Generation from Abstract Sketches, In: Picture that Sketch: Photorealistic Image Generation from Abstract Sketches IEEE

Given an abstract, deformed, ordinary sketch from untrained amateurs like you and me, this paper turns it into a photorealistic image - just like those shown in Fig. 1(a), all non-cherry-picked. We differ significantly from prior art in that we do not dictate an edgemap-like sketch to start with, but aim to work with abstract free-hand human sketches. In doing so, we essentially democratise the sketch-to-photo pipeline, "picturing" a sketch regardless of how good you sketch. Our contribution at the outset is a decoupled encoder-decoder training paradigm, where the decoder is a StyleGAN trained on photos only. This importantly ensures that generated results are always photorealistic. The rest is then all centred around how best to deal with the abstraction gap between sketch and photo. For that, we propose an autoregressive sketch mapper trained on sketch-photo pairs that maps a sketch to the StyleGAN latent space. We further introduce specific designs to tackle the abstract nature of human sketches, including a fine-grained discriminative loss on the back of a trained sketch-photo retrieval model, and a partial-aware sketch augmentation strategy. Finally, we showcase a few downstream tasks our generation model enables, amongst them is showing how fine-grained sketch-based image retrieval, a well-studied problem in the sketch community, can be reduced to an image (generated) to image retrieval task, surpassing state-of-the-arts. We put forward generated results in the supplementary for everyone to scrutinise. Project page: https://subhadeepkoley.github.io/PictureThatSketch

Aneeshan Sain, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Subhadeep Koley, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song (2023)CLIP for All Things Zero-Shot Sketch-Based Image Retrieval, Fine-Grained or Not, In: 2023 IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)pp. 2765-2775 IEEE

In this paper, we leverage CLIP for zero-shot sketch based image retrieval (ZS-SBIR). We are largely inspired by recent advances on foundation models and the unparalleled generalisation ability they seem to offer, but for the first time tailor it to benefit the sketch community. We put forward novel designs on how best to achieve this synergy, for both the category setting and the fine-grained setting ('all"}. At the very core of our solution is a prompt learning setup. First we show just via factoring in sketch-specific prompts, we already have a category-level ZS-SBIR system that over-shoots all prior arts, by a large margin (24.8%) - a great testimony on studying the CLIP and ZS-SBIR synergy. Moving onto the fine-grained setup is however trickier, and re-quires a deeper dive into this synergy. For that, we come up with two specific designs to tackle the fine-grained matching nature of the problem: (i) an additional regularisation loss to ensure the relative separation between sketches and photos is uniform across categories, which is not the case for the gold standard standalone triplet loss, and (ii) a clever patch shuffling technique to help establishing instance-level structural correspondences between sketch-photo pairs. With these designs, we again observe signifi-cant performance gains in the region of 26.9% over previ-ous state-of-the-art. The take-home message, if any, is the proposed CLIP and prompt learning paradigm carries great promise in tackling other sketch-related tasks (not limited to ZS-SBIR) where data scarcity remains a great challenge. Project page: https://aneeshan95.github.ioISketchLVM/

Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Ayan Kumar Bhunia, Aneeshan Sain, Subhadeep Koley, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song (2023)SceneTrilogy: On Human Scene-Sketch and its Complementarity with Photo and Text, In: SceneTrilogy: On Human Scene-Sketch and its Complementarity with Photo and Text IEEE

In this paper, we extend scene understanding to include that of human sketch. The result is a complete trilogy of scene representation from three diverse and complementary modalities - sketch, photo, and text. Instead of learning a rigid three-way embedding and be done with it, wefocus on learning a flexible joint embedding that fully supports the "optionality" that this complementarity brings. Our embedding supports optionality on two axes: (i) optionality across modalities - use any combination of modalities as query for downstream tasks like retrieval, (ii) optionality across tasks - simultaneously utilising the embedding for either discriminative (e.g., retrieval) or generative tasks (e.g., captioning). This provides flexibility to end-users by exploiting the best of each modality, therefore serving the very purpose behind our proposal of a trilogy in the first place. First, a combination of information-bottleneck and conditional invertible neural networks disentangle the modality-specific component from modality-agnostic in sketch, photo, and text. Second, the modality-agnostic instances from sketch, photo, and text are synergised using a modified cross-attention. Once learned, we show our embedding can accommodate a multi-facet of scene-related tasks, including those enabled for the first time by the inclusion of sketch, all without any task-specific modifications. Project Page: https://pinakinathc.github.io/scenetrilogy

Ayan Kumar Bhunia, PINAKI NATH CHOWDHURY, ANEESHAN SAIN, YONGXIN YANG, TAO XIANG, YI-ZHE SONG (2021)More Photos are All You Need: Semi-Supervised Learning for Fine-Grained Sketch Based Image Retrieval

A fundamental challenge faced by existing Fine-Grained Sketch-Based Image Retrieval (FG-SBIR) models is the data scarcity – model performances are largely bottlenecked by the lack of sketch-photo pairs. Whilst the number of photos can be easily scaled, each corresponding sketch still needs to be individually produced. In this paper, we aim to mitigate such an upper-bound on sketch data, and study whether unlabelled photos alone (of which they are many) can be cultivated for performance gain. In particular, we introduce a novel semi-supervised framework for cross-modal retrieval that can additionally leverage large-scale unla-belled photos to account for data scarcity. At the center of our semi-supervision design is a sequential photo-to-sketch generation model that aims to generate paired sketches for unlabelled photos. Importantly, we further introduce a discriminator-guided mechanism to guide against unfaithful generation, together with a distillation loss-based regu-larizer to provide tolerance against noisy training samples. Last but not least, we treat generation and retrieval as two conjugate problems, where a joint learning procedure is devised for each module to mutually benefit from each other. Extensive experiments show that our semi-supervised model yields a significant performance boost over the state-of-the-art supervised alternatives, as well as existing methods that can exploit unlabelled photos for FG-SBIR.

Ling Luo, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Tao Xiang, Yi-Zhe Song, Yulia Gryaditskaya (2023)3D VR Sketch Guided 3D Shape Prototyping and Exploration

3D shape modeling is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and requires years of expertise. To facilitate 3D shape modeling, we propose a 3D shape generation network that takes a 3D VR sketch as a condition. We assume that sketches are created by novices without art training and aim to reconstruct geometrically realistic 3D shapes of a given category. To handle potential sketch ambiguity, our method creates multiple 3D shapes that align with the original sketch’s structure. We carefully design our method, training the model step-by-step and leveraging multi-modal 3D shape representation to support training with limited training data. To guarantee the realism of generated 3D shapes we leverage the normalizing flow that models the distribution of the latent space of 3D shapes. To encourage the fidelity of the generated 3D shapes to an input sketch, we propose a dedicated loss that we deploy at different stages of the training process. The code is available at https://github.com/Rowl1ng/3Dsketch2shape.

AYAN KUMAR BHUNIA, PINAKI NATH CHOWDHURY, YONGXIN YANG, Timothy M. Hospedales, TAO XIANG, YI-ZHE SONG (2021)Vectorization and Rasterization: Self-Supervised Learning for Sketch and Handwriting

Self-supervised learning has gained prominence due to its efficacy at learning powerful representations from un-labelled data that achieve excellent performance on many challenging downstream tasks. However, supervision-free pretext tasks are challenging to design and usually modality specific. Although there is a rich literature of self-supervised methods for either spatial (such as images) or temporal data (sound or text) modalities, a common pretext task that benefits both modalities is largely missing. In this paper, we are interested in defining a self-supervised pretext task for sketches and handwriting data. This data is uniquely characterised by its existence in dual modalities of rasterized images and vector coordinate sequences. We address and exploit this dual representation by proposing two novel cross-modal translation pretext tasks for self-supervised feature learning: Vectorization and Rasteriza-tion. Vectorization learns to map image space to vector coordinates and rasterization maps vector coordinates to image space. We show that our learned encoder modules benefit both raster-based and vector-based downstream approaches to analysing hand-drawn data. Empirical evidence shows that our novel pretext tasks surpass existing single and multi-modal self-supervision methods.

AYAN KUMAR BHUNIA, Shuvozit Ghose, Amandeep Kumar, Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Aneeshan Sain, YI-ZHE SONG (2021)MetaHTR: Towards Writer-Adaptive Handwritten Text Recognition

Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) remains a challenging problem to date, largely due to the varying writing styles that exist amongst us. Prior works however generally operate with the assumption that there is a limited number of styles, most of which have already been captured by existing datasets. In this paper, we take a completely different perspective – we work on the assumption that there is always a new style that is drastically different, and that we will only have very limited data during testing to perform adaptation. This creates a commercially viable solution – being exposed to the new style, the model has the best shot at adaptation, and the few-sample nature makes it practical to implement. We achieve this via a novel meta-learning framework which exploits additional new-writer data via a support set, and outputs a writer-adapted model via single gradient step update, all during inference (see Figure 1). We discover and leverage on the important insight that there exists few key characters per writer that exhibit relatively larger style discrepancies. For that, we additionally propose to meta-learn instance specific weights for a character-wise cross-entropy loss, which is specifically designed to work with the sequential nature of text data. Our writer-adaptive MetaHTR framework can be easily implemented on the top of most state-of-the-art HTR models. Experiments show an average performance gain of 5-7% can be obtained by observing very few new style data (≤ 16).

Pinaki Nath Chowdhury, Tuanfeng Wang, Duygu Ceylan, Yi-Zhe Song, Yulia Gryaditskaya (2022)Garment Ideation: Iterative View-Aware Sketch-Based Garment Modeling

Designing real and virtual garments is becoming extremely demanding with rapidly changing fashion trends and the increasing need for synthesizing realistically dressed digital humans for various applications. However, traditionally designing real and virtual garments has been time-consuming. Sketch-based modeling aims to bring the ease and immediacy of drawing to the 3D world thereby motivating faster iterations. We propose a novel sketch-based garment modeling framework specifically targeted to synchronize with the iterative process of garment ideation, e.g., adding or removing details from different views in each iteration. At the core of our learning-based approach is a view-aware feature aggregation module that fuses the features from the latest sketch with the thus far aggregated features to effectively refine the generated 3D shape. We evaluate our approach on a wide variety of garment types and iterative refinement scenarios. We also provide comparisons to alternative feature aggregation methods and demonstrate favorable results. The code is available at https://github.com/pinakinathc/multiviewsketch-garment.