The Devil is in the Object Boundary: Towards Annotation-free Instance Segmentation using Foundation Models

Published: 16 Jan 2024, Last Modified: 14 Mar 2024ICLR 2024 posterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
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Keywords: object detection, annotation-free, instance segmentation, open-vocabulary, SAM, CLIP
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TL;DR: One Annotation-Free Open Vocabulary Object Detector and Segmenter using Foundation models.
Abstract: Foundation models, pre-trained on a large amount of data have demonstrated impressive zero-shot capabilities in various downstream tasks. However, in object detection and instance segmentation, two fundamental computer vision tasks heavily reliant on extensive human annotations, foundation models such as SAM and DINO struggle to achieve satisfactory performance. In this study, we reveal that the devil is in the object boundary, $\textit{i.e.}$, these foundation models fail to discern boundaries between individual objects. For the first time, we probe that CLIP, which has never accessed any instance-level annotations, can provide a highly beneficial and strong instance-level boundary prior in the clustering results of its particular intermediate layer. Following this surprising observation, we propose $\textbf{\textit{Zip}}$ which $\textbf{Z}$ips up CL$\textbf{ip}$ and SAM in a novel classification-first-then-discovery pipeline, enabling annotation-free, complex-scene-capable, open-vocabulary object detection and instance segmentation. Our Zip significantly boosts SAM's mask AP on COCO dataset by 12.5\% and establishes state-of-the-art performance in various settings, including training-free, self-training, and label-efficient finetuning. Furthermore, annotation-free Zip even achieves comparable performance to the best-performing open-vocabulary object detecters using base annotations. Code is released at
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Primary Area: representation learning for computer vision, audio, language, and other modalities
Submission Number: 1922