Block Annotation: Better Image Annotation With Sub-Image Decomposition

Hubert Lin, Paul Upchurch, Kavita Bala; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2019, pp. 5290-5300


Image datasets with high-quality pixel-level annotations are valuable for semantic segmentation: labelling every pixel in an image ensures that rare classes and small objects are annotated. However, full-image annotations are expensive, with experts spending up to 90 minutes per image. We propose block sub-image annotation as a replacement for full-image annotation. Despite the attention cost of frequent task switching, we find that block annotations can be crowdsourced at higher quality compared to full-image annotation with equal monetary cost using existing annotation tools developed for full-image annotation. Surprisingly, we find that 50% pixels annotated with blocks allows semantic segmentation to achieve equivalent performance to 100% pixels annotated. Furthermore, as little as 12% of pixels annotated allows performance as high as 98% of the performance with dense annotation. In weakly-supervised settings, block annotation outperforms existing methods by 3-4% (absolute) given equivalent annotation time. To recover the necessary global structure for applications such as characterizing spatial context and affordance relationships, we propose an effective method to inpaint block-annotated images with high-quality labels without additional human effort. As such, fewer annotations can also be used for these applications compared to full-image annotation.

Related Material

[pdf] [supp]
author = {Lin, Hubert and Upchurch, Paul and Bala, Kavita},
title = {Block Annotation: Better Image Annotation With Sub-Image Decomposition},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
month = {October},
year = {2019}