ProgressFace: Scale-Aware Progressive Learning for Face Detection
Scale variation stands out as one of key challenges in face detection. Recent attempts have been made to cope with this issue by incorporating image / feature pyramids or adjusting anchor sampling / matching strategies. In this work, we propose a novel scale-aware progressive training mechanism to address large scale variations across faces. Inspired by curriculum learning, our method gradually learns large-to-small face instances. The preceding models learned with easier samples (i.e., large faces) can provide good initialization for succeeding learning with harder samples (i.e., small faces), ultimately deriving a better optimum of face detectors. Moreover, we propose an auxiliary anchor-free enhancement module to facilitate the learning of small faces by supplying positive anchors that may be not covered according to the criterion of IoU overlap. Such anchor-free module will be removed during inference and hence no extra computation cost is introduced. Extensive experimental results demonstrate the superiority of our method compared to the state-of-the-arts on the standard FDDB and WIDER FACE benchmarks. Especially, our ProgressFace-Light with MobileNet-0.25 backbone achieves 87.9% AP on the hard set of WIDER FACE, surpassing largely RetinaFace with the same backbone by 9.7%. Code and our trained face detection models are available at https://github.com/jiashu-zhu/ProgressFace."