Vision-Language Transformer and Query Generation for Referring Segmentation

Henghui Ding, Chang Liu, Suchen Wang, Xudong Jiang; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2021, pp. 16321-16330


In this work, we address the challenging task of referring segmentation. The query expression in referring segmentation typically indicates the target object by describing its relationship with others. Therefore, to find the target one among all instances in the image, the model must have a holistic understanding of the whole image. To achieve this, we reformulate referring segmentation as a direct attention problem: finding the region in the image where the query language expression is most attended to. We introduce transformer and multi-head attention to build a network with an encoder-decoder attention mechanism architecture that "queries" the given image with the language expression. Furthermore, we propose a Query Generation Module, which produces multiple sets of queries with different attention weights that represent the diversified comprehensions of the language expression from different aspects. At the same time, to find the best way from these diversified comprehensions based on visual clues, we further propose a Query Balance Module to adaptively select the output features of these queries for a better mask generation. Without bells and whistles, our approach is light-weight and achieves new state-of-the-art performance consistently on three referring segmentation datasets, RefCOCO, RefCOCO+, and G-Ref. Our code is available at

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@InProceedings{Ding_2021_ICCV, author = {Ding, Henghui and Liu, Chang and Wang, Suchen and Jiang, Xudong}, title = {Vision-Language Transformer and Query Generation for Referring Segmentation}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)}, month = {October}, year = {2021}, pages = {16321-16330} }