FS-COCO: Towards Understanding of Freehand Sketches of Common Objects in Context

We advance sketch research to scenes with the first dataset of freehand scene sketches, FS-COCO. With practical applications in mind, we collect sketches that convey well scene content but can be sketched within a few minutes by a person with any sketching skills. Our dataset comprises 10,000 freehand scene vector sketches with per point space-time information by 100 non-expert individuals, offering both object- and scene-level abstraction. Each sketch is augmented with its text description. Using our dataset, we study for the first time the problem of the fine-grained image retrieval from freehand scene sketches and sketch captions. We draw insights on (i) Scene salience encoded in sketches with strokes temporal order; (ii) The retrieval performance accuracy from scene sketches against image captions; (iii) Complementarity of information in sketches and image captions, as well as the potential benefit of combining the two modalities. In addition, we propose new solutions enabled by our dataset (i) We adopt meta-learning to show how the retrieval model can be fine-tuned to a new user style given just a small set of sketches, (ii) We extend a popular vector sketch LSTM-based encoder to handle sketches with larger complexity than was supported by previous work. Namely, we propose a hierarchical sketch decoder, which we leverage at a sketch-specific "pretext" task. Our dataset enables for the first time research on freehand scene sketch understanding and its practical applications.

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