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Synthesize Diagnose and Optimize: Towards Fine-Grained Vision-Language Understanding

Wujian Peng · Sicheng Xie · Zuyao You · Shiyi Lan · Zuxuan Wu

Arch 4A-E Poster #351
[ ] [ Project Page ]
Thu 20 Jun 10:30 a.m. PDT — noon PDT


Vision language models (VLM) have demonstrated remarkable performance across various downstream tasks. However, understanding fine-grained visual-linguistic concepts, such as attributes and inter-object relationships, remains a significant challenge. While several benchmarks aim to evaluate VLMs in finer granularity, their primary focus remains on the linguistic aspect, neglecting the visual dimension. Here, we highlight the importance of evaluating VLMs from both a textual and visual perspective. We introduce a progressive pipeline to synthesize images that vary in a specific attribute while ensuring consistency in all other aspects. Utilizing this data engine, we carefully design a benchmark, SPEC, to diagnose the comprehension of object size, position, existence, and count. Subsequently, we conduct a thorough evaluation of four leading VLMs on SPEC. Surprisingly, their performance is close to random guesses, revealing significant limitations. With this in mind, we propose a simple yet effective approach to optimize VLMs in fine-grained understanding, achieving significant improvements on SPEC without compromising the zero-shot performance. Results on two additional fine-grained benchmarks also show consistent improvements, further validating the transferability of our approach. Code and data are available at

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