09,24,2021

News Blog Paper China
SyntheticFur dataset for neural rendering2021-05-13   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We introduce a new dataset called SyntheticFur built specifically for machine learning training. The dataset consists of ray traced synthetic fur renders with corresponding rasterized input buffers and simulation data files. We procedurally generated approximately 140,000 images and 15 simulations with Houdini. The images consist of fur groomed with different skin primitives and move with various motions in a predefined set of lighting environments. We also demonstrated how the dataset could be used with neural rendering to significantly improve fur graphics using inexpensive input buffers by training a conditional generative adversarial network with perceptual loss. We hope the availability of such high fidelity fur renders will encourage new advances with neural rendering for a variety of applications.
 
Survey: Machine Learning in Production Rendering2020-05-26   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
In the past few years, machine learning-based approaches have had some great success for rendering animated feature films. This survey summarizes several of the most dramatic improvements in using deep neural networks over traditional rendering methods, such as better image quality and lower computational overhead. More specifically, this survey covers the fundamental principles of machine learning and its applications, such as denoising, path guiding, rendering participating media, and other notoriously difficult light transport situations. Some of these techniques have already been used in the latest released animations while others are still in the continuing development by researchers in both academia and movie studios. Although learning-based rendering methods still have some open issues, they have already demonstrated promising performance in multiple parts of the rendering pipeline, and people are continuously making new attempts.
 
Beyond Photo Realism for Domain Adaptation from Synthetic Data2019-09-04   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
As synthetic imagery is used more frequently in training deep models, it is important to understand how different synthesis techniques impact the performance of such models. In this work, we perform a thorough evaluation of the effectiveness of several different synthesis techniques and their impact on the complexity of classifier domain adaptation to the "real" underlying data distribution that they seek to replicate. In addition, we propose a novel learned synthesis technique to better train classifier models than state-of-the-art offline graphical methods, while using significantly less computational resources. We accomplish this by learning a generative model to perform shading of synthetic geometry conditioned on a "g-buffer" representation of the scene to render, as well as a low sample Monte Carlo rendered image. The major contributions are (i) a dataset that allows comparison of real and synthetic versions of the same scene, (ii) an augmented data representation that boosts the stability of learning and improves the datasets accuracy, (iii) three different partially differentiable rendering techniques where lighting, denoising and shading are learned, and (iv) we improve a state of the art generative adversarial network (GAN) approach by using an ensemble of trained models to generate datasets that approach the performance of training on real data and surpass the performance of the full global illumination rendering.
 
BIM Hyperreality: Data Synthesis Using BIM and Hyperrealistic Rendering for Deep Learning2021-05-10   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Deep learning is expected to offer new opportunities and a new paradigm for the field of architecture. One such opportunity is teaching neural networks to visually understand architectural elements from the built environment. However, the availability of large training datasets is one of the biggest limitations of neural networks. Also, the vast majority of training data for visual recognition tasks is annotated by humans. In order to resolve this bottleneck, we present a concept of a hybrid system using both building information modeling (BIM) and hyperrealistic (photorealistic) rendering to synthesize datasets for training a neural network for building object recognition in photos. For generating our training dataset BIMrAI, we used an existing BIM model and a corresponding photo-realistically rendered model of the same building. We created methods for using renderings to train a deep learning model, trained a generative adversarial network (GAN) model using these methods, and tested the output model on real-world photos. For the specific case study presented in this paper, our results show that a neural network trained with synthetic data; i.e., photorealistic renderings and BIM-based semantic labels, can be used to identify building objects from photos without using photos in the training data. Future work can enhance the presented methods using available BIM models and renderings for more generalized mapping and description of photographed built environments.
 
DSRGAN: Explicitly Learning Disentangled Representation of Underlying Structure and Rendering for Image Generation without Tuple Supervision2019-09-30   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We focus on explicitly learning disentangled representation for natural image generation, where the underlying spatial structure and the rendering on the structure can be independently controlled respectively, yet using no tuple supervision. The setting is significant since tuple supervision is costly and sometimes even unavailable. However, the task is highly unconstrained and thus ill-posed. To address this problem, we propose to introduce an auxiliary domain which shares a common underlying-structure space with the target domain, and we make a partially shared latent space assumption. The key idea is to encourage the partially shared latent variable to represent the similar underlying spatial structures in both domains, while the two domain-specific latent variables will be unavoidably arranged to present renderings of two domains respectively. This is achieved by designing two parallel generative networks with a common Progressive Rendering Architecture (PRA), which constrains both generative networks' behaviors to model shared underlying structure and to model spatially dependent relation between rendering and underlying structure. Thus, we propose DSRGAN (GANs for Disentangling Underlying Structure and Rendering) to instantiate our method. We also propose a quantitative criterion (the Normalized Disentanglability) to quantify disentanglability. Comparison to the state-of-the-art methods shows that DSRGAN can significantly outperform them in disentanglability.
 
CONFIG: Controllable Neural Face Image Generation2020-05-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Our ability to sample realistic natural images, particularly faces, has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, yet our ability to exert fine-tuned control over the generative process has lagged behind. If this new technology is to find practical uses, we need to achieve a level of control over generative networks which, without sacrificing realism, is on par with that seen in computer graphics and character animation. To this end we propose ConfigNet, a neural face model that allows for controlling individual aspects of output images in semantically meaningful ways and that is a significant step on the path towards finely-controllable neural rendering. ConfigNet is trained on real face images as well as synthetic face renders. Our novel method uses synthetic data to factorize the latent space into elements that correspond to the inputs of a traditional rendering pipeline, separating aspects such as head pose, facial expression, hair style, illumination, and many others which are very hard to annotate in real data. The real images, which are presented to the network without labels, extend the variety of the generated images and encourage realism. Finally, we propose an evaluation criterion using an attribute detection network combined with a user study and demonstrate state-of-the-art individual control over attributes in the output images.
 
Neural Sparse Voxel Fields2020-07-22   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Photo-realistic free-viewpoint rendering of real-world scenes using classical computer graphics techniques is challenging, because it requires the difficult step of capturing detailed appearance and geometry models. Recent studies have demonstrated promising results by learning scene representations that implicitly encode both geometry and appearance without 3D supervision. However, existing approaches in practice often show blurry renderings caused by the limited network capacity or the difficulty in finding accurate intersections of camera rays with the scene geometry. Synthesizing high-resolution imagery from these representations often requires time-consuming optical ray marching. In this work, we introduce Neural Sparse Voxel Fields (NSVF), a new neural scene representation for fast and high-quality free-viewpoint rendering. NSVF defines a set of voxel-bounded implicit fields organized in a sparse voxel octree to model local properties in each cell. We progressively learn the underlying voxel structures with a diffentiable ray-marching operation from only a set of posed RGB images. With the sparse voxel octree structure, rendering novel views can be accelerated by skipping the voxels containing no relevant scene content. Our method is over 10 times faster than the state-of-the-art (namely, NeRF) at inference time while achieving higher quality results. Furthermore, by utilizing an explicit sparse voxel representation, our method can easily be applied to scene editing and scene composition. We also demonstrate several challenging tasks, including multi-scene learning, free-viewpoint rendering of a moving human, and large-scale scene rendering.
 
Deep Convolutional Inverse Graphics Network2015-06-21   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
This paper presents the Deep Convolution Inverse Graphics Network (DC-IGN), a model that learns an interpretable representation of images. This representation is disentangled with respect to transformations such as out-of-plane rotations and lighting variations. The DC-IGN model is composed of multiple layers of convolution and de-convolution operators and is trained using the Stochastic Gradient Variational Bayes (SGVB) algorithm. We propose a training procedure to encourage neurons in the graphics code layer to represent a specific transformation (e.g. pose or light). Given a single input image, our model can generate new images of the same object with variations in pose and lighting. We present qualitative and quantitative results of the model's efficacy at learning a 3D rendering engine.
 
Single Image BRDF Parameter Estimation with a Conditional Adversarial Network2019-10-11   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Creating plausible surfaces is an essential component in achieving a high degree of realism in rendering. To relieve artists, who create these surfaces in a time-consuming, manual process, automated retrieval of the spatially-varying Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (SVBRDF) from a single mobile phone image is desirable. By leveraging a deep neural network, this casual capturing method can be achieved. The trained network can estimate per pixel normal, base color, metallic and roughness parameters from the Disney BRDF. The input image is taken with a mobile phone lit by the camera flash. The network is trained to compensate for environment lighting and thus learned to reduce artifacts introduced by other light sources. These losses contain a multi-scale discriminator with an additional perceptual loss, a rendering loss using a differentiable renderer, and a parameter loss. Besides the local precision, this loss formulation generates material texture maps which are globally more consistent. The network is set up as a generator network trained in an adversarial fashion to ensure that only plausible maps are produced. The estimated parameters not only reproduce the material faithfully in rendering but capture the style of hand-authored materials due to the more global loss terms compared to previous works without requiring additional post-processing. Both the resolution and the quality is improved.
 
Cut-and-Paste Neural Rendering2020-10-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Cut-and-paste methods take an object from one image and insert it into another. Doing so often results in unrealistic looking images because the inserted object's shading is inconsistent with the target scene's shading. Existing reshading methods require a geometric and physical model of the inserted object, which is then rendered using environment parameters. Accurately constructing such a model only from a single image is beyond the current understanding of computer vision. We describe an alternative procedure -- cut-and-paste neural rendering, to render the inserted fragment's shading field consistent with the target scene. We use a Deep Image Prior (DIP) as a neural renderer trained to render an image with consistent image decomposition inferences. The resulting rendering from DIP should have an albedo consistent with composite albedo; it should have a shading field that, outside the inserted fragment, is the same as the target scene's shading field; and composite surface normals are consistent with the final rendering's shading field. The result is a simple procedure that produces convincing and realistic shading. Moreover, our procedure does not require rendered images or image-decomposition from real images in the training or labeled annotations. In fact, our only use of simulated ground truth is our use of a pre-trained normal estimator. Qualitative results are strong, supported by a user study comparing against the state-of-the-art image harmonization baseline.
 
Photo-Guided Exploration of Volume Data Features2017-10-18   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
In this work, we pose the question of whether, by considering qualitative information such as a sample target image as input, one can produce a rendered image of scientific data that is similar to the target. The algorithm resulting from our research allows one to ask the question of whether features like those in the target image exists in a given dataset. In that way, our method is one of imagery query or reverse engineering, as opposed to manual parameter tweaking of the full visualization pipeline. For target images, we can use real-world photographs of physical phenomena. Our method leverages deep neural networks and evolutionary optimization. Using a trained similarity function that measures the difference between renderings of a phenomenon and real-world photographs, our method optimizes rendering parameters. We demonstrate the efficacy of our method using a superstorm simulation dataset and images found online. We also discuss a parallel implementation of our method, which was run on NCSA's Blue Waters.
 
Memory Augmented Policy Optimization for Program Synthesis and Semantic Parsing2019-01-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We present Memory Augmented Policy Optimization (MAPO), a simple and novel way to leverage a memory buffer of promising trajectories to reduce the variance of policy gradient estimate. MAPO is applicable to deterministic environments with discrete actions, such as structured prediction and combinatorial optimization tasks. We express the expected return objective as a weighted sum of two terms: an expectation over the high-reward trajectories inside the memory buffer, and a separate expectation over trajectories outside the buffer. To make an efficient algorithm of MAPO, we propose: (1) memory weight clipping to accelerate and stabilize training; (2) systematic exploration to discover high-reward trajectories; (3) distributed sampling from inside and outside of the memory buffer to scale up training. MAPO improves the sample efficiency and robustness of policy gradient, especially on tasks with sparse rewards. We evaluate MAPO on weakly supervised program synthesis from natural language (semantic parsing). On the WikiTableQuestions benchmark, we improve the state-of-the-art by 2.6%, achieving an accuracy of 46.3%. On the WikiSQL benchmark, MAPO achieves an accuracy of 74.9% with only weak supervision, outperforming several strong baselines with full supervision. Our source code is available at https://github.com/crazydonkey200/neural-symbolic-machines
 
ThreeDWorld: A Platform for Interactive Multi-Modal Physical Simulation2020-07-09   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We introduce ThreeDWorld (TDW), a platform for interactive multi-modal physical simulation. With TDW, users can simulate high-fidelity sensory data and physical interactions between mobile agents and objects in a wide variety of rich 3D environments. TDW has several unique properties: 1) realtime near photo-realistic image rendering quality; 2) a library of objects and environments with materials for high-quality rendering, and routines enabling user customization of the asset library; 3) generative procedures for efficiently building classes of new environments 4) high-fidelity audio rendering; 5) believable and realistic physical interactions for a wide variety of material types, including cloths, liquid, and deformable objects; 6) a range of "avatar" types that serve as embodiments of AI agents, with the option for user avatar customization; and 7) support for human interactions with VR devices. TDW also provides a rich API enabling multiple agents to interact within a simulation and return a range of sensor and physics data representing the state of the world. We present initial experiments enabled by the platform around emerging research directions in computer vision, machine learning, and cognitive science, including multi-modal physical scene understanding, multi-agent interactions, models that "learn like a child", and attention studies in humans and neural networks. The simulation platform will be made publicly available.
 
Distilled Replay: Overcoming Forgetting through Synthetic Samples2021-03-29   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Replay strategies are Continual Learning techniques which mitigate catastrophic forgetting by keeping a buffer of patterns from previous experience, which are interleaved with new data during training. The amount of patterns stored in the buffer is a critical parameter which largely influences the final performance and the memory footprint of the approach. This work introduces Distilled Replay, a novel replay strategy for Continual Learning which is able to mitigate forgetting by keeping a very small buffer (up to $1$ pattern per class) of highly informative samples. Distilled Replay builds the buffer through a distillation process which compresses a large dataset into a tiny set of informative examples. We show the effectiveness of our Distilled Replay against naive replay, which randomly samples patterns from the dataset, on four popular Continual Learning benchmarks.
 
AI Playground: Unreal Engine-based Data Ablation Tool for Deep Learning2020-07-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Machine learning requires data, but acquiring and labeling real-world data is challenging, expensive, and time-consuming. More importantly, it is nearly impossible to alter real data post-acquisition (e.g., change the illumination of a room), making it very difficult to measure how specific properties of the data affect performance. In this paper, we present AI Playground (AIP), an open-source, Unreal Engine-based tool for generating and labeling virtual image data. With AIP, it is trivial to capture the same image under different conditions (e.g., fidelity, lighting, etc.) and with different ground truths (e.g., depth or surface normal values). AIP is easily extendable and can be used with or without code. To validate our proposed tool, we generated eight datasets of otherwise identical but varying lighting and fidelity conditions. We then trained deep neural networks to predict (1) depth values, (2) surface normals, or (3) object labels and assessed each network's intra- and cross-dataset performance. Among other insights, we verified that sensitivity to different settings is problem-dependent. We confirmed the findings of other studies that segmentation models are very sensitive to fidelity, but we also found that they are just as sensitive to lighting. In contrast, depth and normal estimation models seem to be less sensitive to fidelity or lighting and more sensitive to the structure of the image. Finally, we tested our trained depth-estimation networks on two real-world datasets and obtained results comparable to training on real data alone, confirming that our virtual environments are realistic enough for real-world tasks.
 
VoiceLoop: Voice Fitting and Synthesis via a Phonological Loop2018-02-01   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We present a new neural text to speech (TTS) method that is able to transform text to speech in voices that are sampled in the wild. Unlike other systems, our solution is able to deal with unconstrained voice samples and without requiring aligned phonemes or linguistic features. The network architecture is simpler than those in the existing literature and is based on a novel shifting buffer working memory. The same buffer is used for estimating the attention, computing the output audio, and for updating the buffer itself. The input sentence is encoded using a context-free lookup table that contains one entry per character or phoneme. The speakers are similarly represented by a short vector that can also be fitted to new identities, even with only a few samples. Variability in the generated speech is achieved by priming the buffer prior to generating the audio. Experimental results on several datasets demonstrate convincing capabilities, making TTS accessible to a wider range of applications. In order to promote reproducibility, we release our source code and models.
 
Learning Adaptive Sampling and Reconstruction for Volume Visualization2020-07-20   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
A central challenge in data visualization is to understand which data samples are required to generate an image of a data set in which the relevant information is encoded. In this work, we make a first step towards answering the question of whether an artificial neural network can predict where to sample the data with higher or lower density, by learning of correspondences between the data, the sampling patterns and the generated images. We introduce a novel neural rendering pipeline, which is trained end-to-end to generate a sparse adaptive sampling structure from a given low-resolution input image, and reconstructs a high-resolution image from the sparse set of samples. For the first time, to the best of our knowledge, we demonstrate that the selection of structures that are relevant for the final visual representation can be jointly learned together with the reconstruction of this representation from these structures. Therefore, we introduce differentiable sampling and reconstruction stages, which can leverage back-propagation based on supervised losses solely on the final image. We shed light on the adaptive sampling patterns generated by the network pipeline and analyze its use for volume visualization including isosurface and direct volume rendering.
 
Incremental Learning of Motion Primitives for Pedestrian Trajectory Prediction at Intersections2019-11-21   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
This paper presents a novel incremental learning algorithm for pedestrian motion prediction, with the ability to improve the learned model over time when data is incrementally available. In this setup, trajectories are modeled as simple segments called motion primitives. Transitions between motion primitives are modeled as Gaussian Processes. When new data is available, the motion primitives learned from the new data are compared with the previous ones by measuring the inner product of the motion primitive vectors. Similar motion primitives and transitions are fused and novel motion primitives are added to capture newly observed behaviors. The proposed approach is tested and compared with other baselines in intersection scenarios where the data is incrementally available either from a single intersection or from multiple intersections with different geometries. In both cases, our method incrementally learns motion patterns and outperforms the offline learning approach in terms of prediction errors. The results also show that the model size in our algorithm grows at a much lower rate than standard incremental learning, where newly learned motion primitives and transitions are simply accumulated over time.
 
On transfer learning of neural networks using bi-fidelity data for uncertainty propagation2020-02-11   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Due to their high degree of expressiveness, neural networks have recently been used as surrogate models for mapping inputs of an engineering system to outputs of interest. Once trained, neural networks are computationally inexpensive to evaluate and remove the need for repeated evaluations of computationally expensive models in uncertainty quantification applications. However, given the highly parameterized construction of neural networks, especially deep neural networks, accurate training often requires large amounts of simulation data that may not be available in the case of computationally expensive systems. In this paper, to alleviate this issue for uncertainty propagation, we explore the application of transfer learning techniques using training data generated from both high- and low-fidelity models. We explore two strategies for coupling these two datasets during the training procedure, namely, the standard transfer learning and the bi-fidelity weighted learning. In the former approach, a neural network model mapping the inputs to the outputs of interest is trained based on the low-fidelity data. The high-fidelity data is then used to adapt the parameters of the upper layer(s) of the low-fidelity network, or train a simpler neural network to map the output of the low-fidelity network to that of the high-fidelity model. In the latter approach, the entire low-fidelity network parameters are updated using data generated via a Gaussian process model trained with a small high-fidelity dataset. The parameter updates are performed via a variant of stochastic gradient descent with learning rates given by the Gaussian process model. Using three numerical examples, we illustrate the utility of these bi-fidelity transfer learning methods where we focus on accuracy improvement achieved by transfer learning over standard training approaches.
 
High Fidelity Interactive Video Segmentation Using Tensor Decomposition Boundary Loss Convolutional Tessellations and Context Aware Skip Connections2020-11-23   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We provide a high fidelity deep learning algorithm (HyperSeg) for interactive video segmentation tasks using a convolutional network with context-aware skip connections, and compressed, hypercolumn image features combined with a convolutional tessellation procedure. In order to maintain high output fidelity, our model crucially processes and renders all image features in high resolution, without utilizing downsampling or pooling procedures. We maintain this consistent, high grade fidelity efficiently in our model chiefly through two means: (1) We use a statistically-principled tensor decomposition procedure to modulate the number of hypercolumn features and (2) We render these features in their native resolution using a convolutional tessellation technique. For improved pixel level segmentation results, we introduce a boundary loss function; for improved temporal coherence in video data, we include temporal image information in our model. Through experiments, we demonstrate the improved accuracy of our model against baseline models for interactive segmentation tasks using high resolution video data. We also introduce a benchmark video segmentation dataset, the VFX Segmentation Dataset, which contains over 27,046 high resolution video frames, including greenscreen and various composited scenes with corresponding, hand crafted, pixel level segmentations. Our work presents an extension to improvement to state of the art segmentation fidelity with high resolution data and can be used across a broad range of application domains, including VFX pipelines and medical imaging disciplines.