Image Segmentation Using Text and Image Prompts

Timo Lüddecke, Alexander Ecker; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2022, pp. 7086-7096


Image segmentation is usually addressed by training a model for a fixed set of object classes. Incorporating additional classes or more complex queries later is expensive as it requires re-training the model on a dataset that encompasses these expressions. Here we propose a system that can generate image segmentations based on arbitrary prompts at test time. A prompt can be either a text or an image. This approach enables us to create a unified model (trained once) for three common segmentation tasks, which come with distinct challenges: referring expression segmentation, zero-shot segmentation and one-shot segmentation. We build upon the CLIP model as a backbone which we extend with a transformer-based decoder that enables dense prediction. After training on an extended version of the PhraseCut dataset, our system generates a binary segmentation map for an image based on a free-text prompt or on an additional image expressing the query. We analyze different variants of the latter image-based prompts in detail. This novel hybrid input allows for dynamic adaptation not only to the three segmentation tasks mentioned above, but to any binary segmentation task where a text or image query can be formulated. Finally, we find our system to adapt well to generalized queries involving affordances or properties. Code is available at

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@InProceedings{Luddecke_2022_CVPR, author = {L\"uddecke, Timo and Ecker, Alexander}, title = {Image Segmentation Using Text and Image Prompts}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)}, month = {June}, year = {2022}, pages = {7086-7096} }