Text Augmented Spatial-aware Zero-shot Referring Image Segmentation

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Text Augmented Spatial-aware Zero-shot Referring Image Segmentation


Yucheng Suo, Linchao Zhu, Yi Yang


In this paper, we study a challenging task of zero-shot referring image segmentation. This task aims to identify the instance mask that is most related to a referring expression without training on pixel-level annotations. Previous research takes advantage of pre-trained cross-modal models, e.g., CLIP, to align instance-level masks with referring expressions. %Yet, CLIP only considers image-text pair level alignment, which neglects fine-grained image region and complex sentence matching. Yet, CLIP only considers the global-level alignment of image-text pairs, neglecting fine-grained matching between the referring sentence and local image regions. To address this challenge, we introduce a Text Augmented Spatial-aware (TAS) zero-shot referring image segmentation framework that is training-free and robust to various visual encoders. TAS incorporates a mask proposal network for instance-level mask extraction, a text-augmented visual-text matching score for mining the image-text correlation, and a spatial rectifier for mask post-processing. Notably, the text-augmented visual-text matching score leverages a $P$ score and an $N$-score in addition to the typical visual-text matching score. The $P$-score is utilized to close the visual-text domain gap through a surrogate captioning model, where the score is computed between the surrogate model-generated texts and the referring expression. The $N$-score considers the fine-grained alignment of region-text pairs via negative phrase mining, encouraging the masked image to be repelled from the mined distracting phrases. Extensive experiments are conducted on various datasets, including RefCOCO, RefCOCO+, and RefCOCOg. The proposed method clearly outperforms state-of-the-art zero-shot referring image segmentation methods.

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