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Zero-Shot Referring Image Segmentation With Global-Local Context Features

Seonghoon Yu · Paul Hongsuck Seo · Jeany Son

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 283


Referring image segmentation (RIS) aims to find a segmentation mask given a referring expression grounded to a region of the input image. Collecting labelled datasets for this task, however, is notoriously costly and labor-intensive. To overcome this issue, we propose a simple yet effective zero-shot referring image segmentation method by leveraging the pre-trained cross-modal knowledge from CLIP. In order to obtain segmentation masks grounded to the input text, we propose a mask-guided visual encoder that captures global and local contextual information of an input image. By utilizing instance masks obtained from off-the-shelf mask proposal techniques, our method is able to segment fine-detailed instance-level groundings. We also introduce a global-local text encoder where the global feature captures complex sentence-level semantics of the entire input expression while the local feature focuses on the target noun phrase extracted by a dependency parser. In our experiments, the proposed method outperforms several zero-shot baselines of the task and even the weakly supervised referring expression segmentation method with substantial margins. Our code is available at

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