- [pdf] [arXiv]
Self-Supervised Character-to-Character Distillation for Text Recognition
When handling complicated text images (e.g., irregular structures, low resolution, heavy occlusion, and uneven illumination), existing supervised text recognition methods are data-hungry. Although these methods employ large-scale synthetic text images to reduce the dependence on annotated real images, the domain gap still limits the recognition performance. Therefore, exploring the robust text feature representations on unlabeled real images by self-supervised learning is a good solution. However, existing self-supervised text recognition methods conduct sequence-to-sequence representation learning by roughly splitting the visual features along the horizontal axis, which limits the flexibility of the augmentations, as large geometric-based augmentations may lead to sequence-to-sequence feature inconsistency. Motivated by this, we propose a novel self-supervised Character-to-Character Distillation method, CCD, which enables versatile augmentations to facilitate general text representation learning. Specifically, we delineate the character structures of unlabeled real images by designing a self-supervised character segmentation module. Following this, CCD easily enriches the diversity of local characters while keeping their pairwise alignment under flexible augmentations, using the transformation matrix between two augmented views from images. Experiments demonstrate that CCD achieves state-of-the-art results, with average performance gains of 1.38% in text recognition, 1.7% in text segmentation, 0.24 dB (PSNR) and 0.0321 (SSIM) in text super-resolution. Code will be released soon.