FAN-Trans: Online Knowledge Distillation for Facial Action Unit Detection

Due to its importance in facial behaviour analysis, facial action unit (AU) detection has attracted increasing attention from the research community. Leveraging the online knowledge distillation framework, we propose the ``FANTrans" method for AU detection. Our model consists of a hybrid network of convolution and transformer blocks to learn per-AU features and to model AU co-occurrences. The model uses a pre-trained face alignment network as the feature extractor. After further transformation by a small learnable add-on convolutional subnet, the per-AU features are fed into transformer blocks to enhance their representation. As multiple AUs often appear together, we propose a learnable attention drop mechanism in the transformer block to learn the correlation between the features for different AUs. We also design a classifier that predicts AU presence by considering all AUs' features, to explicitly capture label dependencies. Finally, we make the attempt of adapting online knowledge distillation in the training stage for this task, further improving the model's performance. Experiments on the BP4D and DISFA datasets demonstrating the effectiveness of proposed method.

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