Pinaki Nath Chowdhury

Pinaki Nath Chowdhury


My research project


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

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:

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