AgileGAN: stylizing portraits by inversion-consistent transfer learning

Portraiture as an art form has evolved from realistic depiction into a plethora of creative styles. While substantial progress has been made in automated stylization, generating high quality stylistic portraits is still a challenge, and even the recent popular Toonify suffers from several artifacts when used on real input images. Such StyleGAN-based methods have focused on finding the best latent inversion mapping for reconstructing input images; however, our key insight is that this does not lead to good generalization to different portrait styles. Hence we propose AgileGAN, a framework that can generate high quality stylistic portraits via inversion-consistent transfer learning. We introduce a novel hierarchical variational autoencoder to ensure the inverse mapped distribution conforms to the original latent Gaussian distribution, while augmenting the original space to a multi-resolution latent space so as to better encode different levels of detail. To better capture attribute-dependent stylization of facial features, we also present an attribute-aware generator and adopt an early stopping strategy to avoid overfitting small training datasets. Our approach provides greater agility in creating high quality and high resolution (1024×1024) portrait stylization models, requiring only a limited number of style exemplars (~100) and short training time (~1 hour). We collected several style datasets for evaluation including 3D cartoons, comics, oil paintings and celebrities. We show that we can achieve superior portrait stylization quality to previous state-of-the-art methods, with comparisons done qualitatively, quantitatively and through a perceptual user study. We also demonstrate two applications of our method, image editing and motion retargeting.

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