Interpretable Foreground Object Search As Knowledge Distillation

Boren Li, Po-Yu Zhuang, Jian Gu, Mingyang Li, Ping Tan ;


This paper proposes a knowledge distillation method for foreground object search (FoS). Given a background and a rectangle specifying the foreground location and scale, FoS retrieves compatible foregrounds in a certain category for later image composition. Foregrounds within the same category can be grouped into a small number of patterns. Instances within each pattern are compatible with any query input interchangeably. These instances are referred to as interchangeable foregrounds. We first present a pipeline to build pattern-level FoS dataset containing labels of interchangeable foregrounds. We then establish a benchmark dataset for further training and testing following the pipeline. As for the proposed method, we first train a foreground encoder to learn representations of interchangeable foregrounds. We then train a query encoder to learn query-foreground compatibility following a knowledge distillation framework. It aims to transfer knowledge from interchangeable foregrounds to supervise representation learning of compatibility. The query feature representation is projected to the same latent space as interchangeable foregrounds, enabling very efficient and interpretable instance-level search. Furthermore, pattern-level search is feasible to retrieve more controllable, reasonable and diverse foregrounds. The proposed method outperforms the previous state-of-the-art by $10.42\%$ in absolute difference and $24.06\%$ in relative improvement evaluated by mean average precision (mAP). Extensive experimental results also demonstrate its efficacy from various aspects. The benchmark dataset and code will be release shortly."

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