Ultrafast Photorealistic Style Transfer via Neural Architecture Search


  • Jie An University of Rochester
  • Haoyi Xiong Baidu Research
  • Jun Huan StylingAI Inc.
  • Jiebo Luo University of Rochester




The key challenge in photorealistic style transfer is that an algorithm should faithfully transfer the style of a reference photo to a content photo while the generated image should look like one captured by a camera. Although several photorealistic style transfer algorithms have been proposed, they need to rely on post- and/or pre-processing to make the generated images look photorealistic. If we disable the additional processing, these algorithms would fail to produce plausible photorealistic stylization in terms of detail preservation and photorealism. In this work, we propose an effective solution to these issues. Our method consists of a construction step (C-step) to build a photorealistic stylization network and a pruning step (P-step) for acceleration. In the C-step, we propose a dense auto-encoder named PhotoNet based on a carefully designed pre-analysis. PhotoNet integrates a feature aggregation module (BFA) and instance normalized skip links (INSL). To generate faithful stylization, we introduce multiple style transfer modules in the decoder and INSLs. PhotoNet significantly outperforms existing algorithms in terms of both efficiency and effectiveness. In the P-step, we adopt a neural architecture search method to accelerate PhotoNet. We propose an automatic network pruning framework in the manner of teacher-student learning for photorealistic stylization. The network architecture named PhotoNAS resulted from the search achieves significant acceleration over PhotoNet while keeping the stylization effects almost intact. We conduct extensive experiments on both image and video transfer. The results show that our method can produce favorable results while achieving 20-30 times acceleration in comparison with the existing state-of-the-art approaches. It is worth noting that the proposed algorithm accomplishes better performance without any pre- or post-processing.




How to Cite

An, J., Xiong, H., Huan, J., & Luo, J. (2020). Ultrafast Photorealistic Style Transfer via Neural Architecture Search. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 34(07), 10443-10450. https://doi.org/10.1609/aaai.v34i07.6614



AAAI Technical Track: Vision