Generative Domain-Migration Hashing for Sketch-to-Image Retrieval

Due to the succinct nature of free-hand sketch drawings, sketch-based image retrieval (SBIR) has abundant practical use cases in consumer electronics. However, SBIR remains a long-standing unsolved problem mainly due to the significant discrepancy between the sketch domain and the image domain. In this work, we propose a Generative Domain-migration Hashing (GDH) approach, which for the first time generates hashing codes from synthetic natural images that are migrated from sketches. The generative model learns a mapping that the distributions of sketches can be indistinguishable from the distribution of natural images using an adversarial loss, and simultaneously learns an inverse mapping based on the cycle consistency loss in order to enhance the indistinguishability. With the robust mapping learned from the generative model, GDH can migrate sketches to their indistinguishable image counterparts while preserving the domain-invariant information of sketches. With an end-to-end multi-task learning framework, the generative model and binarized hashing codes can be jointly optimized. Comprehensive experiments of both category-level and fine-grained SBIR on multiple large-scale datasets demonstrate the consistently balanced superiority of GDH in terms of efficiency, memory costs and effectiveness.

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