Learning with Free Object Segments for Long-Tailed Instance Segmentation

Cheng Zhang, Tai-Yu Pan, Tianle Chen, Jike Zhong, Wenjin Fu, Wei-Lun Chao ;


"One fundamental challenge in building an instance segmentation model for a large number of classes in complex scenes is the lack of training examples, especially for rare objects. In this paper, we explore the possibility to increase the training examples without laborious data collection and annotation. We find that an abundance of instance segments can potentially be obtained freely from object-centric images, according to two insights: (i) an object-centric image usually contains one salient object in a simple background; (ii) objects from the same class often share similar appearances or similar contrasts to the background. Motivated by these insights, we propose a simple and scalable framework FreeSeg for extracting and leveraging these ""free"" object foreground segments to facilitate model training in long-tailed instance segmentation. Concretely, we investigate the similarity among object-centric images of the same class to propose candidate segments of foreground instances, followed by a novel ranking of segment quality. The resulting high-quality object segments can then be used to augment the existing long-tailed datasets, e.g., by copying and pasting the segments onto the original training images. Extensive experiments show that FreeSeg yields substantial improvements on top of strong baselines and achieves state-of-the-art accuracy for segmenting rare object categories. Our code is publicly available at https://github.com/czhang0528/FreeSeg."

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