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SceneTrilogy: On Human Scene-Sketch and Its Complementarity With Photo and Text

Pinaki Nath Chowdhury · Ayan Kumar Bhunia · Aneeshan Sain · Subhadeep Koley · Tao Xiang · Yi-Zhe Song

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 261


In this paper, we extend scene understanding to include that of human sketch. The result is a complete trilogy of scene representation from three diverse and complementary modalities -- sketch, photo, and text. Instead of learning a rigid three-way embedding and be done with it, we focus on learning a flexible joint embedding that fully supports the “optionality” that this complementarity brings. Our embedding supports optionality on two axis: (i) optionality across modalities -- use any combination of modalities as query for downstream tasks like retrieval, (ii) optionality across tasks -- simultaneously utilising the embedding for either discriminative (e.g., retrieval) or generative tasks (e.g., captioning). This provides flexibility to end-users by exploiting the best of each modality, therefore serving the very purpose behind our proposal of a trilogy at the first place. First, a combination of information-bottleneck and conditional invertible neural networks disentangle the modality-specific component from modality-agnostic in sketch, photo, and text. Second, the modality-agnostic instances from sketch, photo, and text are synergised using a modified cross-attention. Once learned, we show our embedding can accommodate a multi-facet of scene-related tasks, including those enabled for the first time by the inclusion of sketch, all without any task-specific modifications. Project Page:

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