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 scene content well 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 fine-grained image retrieval from freehand scene sketches and sketch captions. We draw insights on: (i) Scene salience encoded in sketches using the strokes temporal order; (ii) Performance comparison of image retrieval from a scene sketch and an image caption; (iii) Complementarity of information in sketches and image captions, as well as the potential benefit of combining the two modalities. In addition, 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 "pre-text" task. Our dataset enables for the first time research on freehand scene sketch understanding and its practical applications.

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