Train Your Data Processor: Distribution-Aware and Error-Compensation Coordinate Decoding for Human Pose Estimation

Recently, the leading performance of human pose estimation is dominated by heatmap based methods. While being a fundamental component of heatmap processing, heatmap decoding (i.e. transforming heatmaps to coordinates) receives only limited investigations, to our best knowledge... This work fills the gap by studying the heatmap decoding processing with a particular focus on the errors introduced throughout the prediction process. We found that the errors of heatmap based methods are surprisingly significant, which nevertheless was universally ignored before. In view of the discovered importance, we further reveal the intrinsic limitations of the previous widely used heatmap decoding methods and thereout propose a Distribution-Aware and Error-Compensation Coordinate Decoding (DAEC). Serving as a model-agnostic plug-in, DAEC learns its decoding strategy from training data and remarkably improves the performance of a variety of state-of-the-art human pose estimation models with negligible extra computation. Specifically, equipped with DAEC, the SimpleBaseline-ResNet152-256x192 and HRNet-W48-256x192 are significantly improved by 2.6 AP and 2.9 AP achieving 72.6 AP and 75.7 AP on COCO, respectively. Moreover, the HRNet-W32-256x256 and ResNet-152-256x256 frameworks enjoy even more dramatic promotions of 8.4% and 7.8% on MPII with PCKh0.1 metric. Extensive experiments performed on these two common benchmarks, demonstrates that DAEC exceeds its competitors by considerable margins, backing up the rationality and generality of our novel heatmap decoding idea. The project is available at https://github.com/fyang235/DAEC. read more

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