A Recipe for Efficient SBIR Models: Combining Relative Triplet Loss with Batch Normalization and Knowledge Distillation

30 May 2023  ·  Omar Seddati, Nathan Hubens, Stéphane Dupont, Thierry Dutoit ·

Sketch-Based Image Retrieval (SBIR) is a crucial task in multimedia retrieval, where the goal is to retrieve a set of images that match a given sketch query. Researchers have already proposed several well-performing solutions for this task, but most focus on enhancing embedding through different approaches such as triplet loss, quadruplet loss, adding data augmentation, and using edge extraction. In this work, we tackle the problem from various angles. We start by examining the training data quality and show some of its limitations. Then, we introduce a Relative Triplet Loss (RTL), an adapted triplet loss to overcome those limitations through loss weighting based on anchors similarity. Through a series of experiments, we demonstrate that replacing a triplet loss with RTL outperforms previous state-of-the-art without the need for any data augmentation. In addition, we demonstrate why batch normalization is more suited for SBIR embeddings than l2-normalization and show that it improves significantly the performance of our models. We further investigate the capacity of models required for the photo and sketch domains and demonstrate that the photo encoder requires a higher capacity than the sketch encoder, which validates the hypothesis formulated in [34]. Then, we propose a straightforward approach to train small models, such as ShuffleNetv2 [22] efficiently with a marginal loss of accuracy through knowledge distillation. The same approach used with larger models enabled us to outperform previous state-of-the-art results and achieve a recall of 62.38% at k = 1 on The Sketchy Database [30].

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