dandelin / VC-R-CNN

[CVPR 2020] The official pytorch implementation of ``Visual Commonsense R-CNN''

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Visual Commonsense R-CNN (VC R-CNN)

LICENSE Python PyTorch

[NEW]: We have provided the training code of VC R-CNN and detailed readme file. 🌟

[NEW]: the VC Feature pretrained on MSCOCO is provided. Just have a try! 🌟

This repository contains the official PyTorch implementation and the proposed VC feature (beta version) for CVPR 2020 Paper "Visual Commonsense R-CNN" (The link is the Arxiv version which may be slightly different from our final camera-ready version). For technical details, please refer to:

Visual Commonsense R-CNN
Tan Wang, Jianqiang Huang, Hanwang Zhang, Qianru Sun
IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2020
[Paper], [Zhihu Article]


If you find our VC feature and code helpful, please kindly consider citing:

  title={Visual commonsense r-cnn},
  author={Wang, Tan and Huang, Jianqiang and Zhang, Hanwang and Sun, Qianru},
  journal={arXiv preprint arXiv:2002.12204},


  1. Overview
  2. VC Feature
  3. VC R-CNN Framework
  4. Our experience you may need


This project aims to build a visual commonsense representation learning framework based on the current object detection codebase with un-/self-supervised learning.


  1. VC Feature
    • Effective: Our visual commonsense representation encodes the``sense-making'' knowledge between object RoIs with causal intervention rather than just trivial correlation prediction. Compared to the previous widely used Up-Down Feature, our VC can be regarded as an effective supplementary knowledge that models the interaction between objects for the downstream tasks.
    • Easy to Use: As we introduced in our paper, the VC Feature is extracted by providing the RoI boxes coordinates. Then the VC Feature can be just concatenated on the previous visual object features (e.g., Up-Down Feature) and ready to roll. (Ps: the concatenation maybe too simple for some cases or tasks, users can try something else and welcome feedback.)
    • Easy to Expand: With a learned VC R-CNN framework, we can easily extract VC Features for any images and prepare them as an ``augmentation feature'' for the currently used representation conveniently.
  2. VC R-CNN
    • Fast, Memory-efficient, Multi-GPU: Our VC R-CNN framework is based on the well-known maskrcnn-benchmark from facebook. Therefore, our VC R-CNN just inherit all its advantages. (It's pity that the detectron2 had not been released when I am working on this project, however maskrcnn-benchmark can be a stable version.)
    • Support customized dataset: Users can easily add COCO-style datasets to train VC R-CNN on other images.

What can you get from this repo? [The Road Map]

VC Feature

For easy-to-use, here we directly provide the pretrained VC Features on the entire MSCOCO dataset based on the Up-Down feature's boxes in the below links (The link is updated). The features are stored in tar.gz format. The previous features can be found in OLD_FEATURE.

10-100 VC Features per image:

  • COCO 2014 Train/Val Image Features (123K / 5G)   Google Drive  
  • COCO 2014 Testing Image Features (41K / 2G)   Google Drive  
  • COCO 2015 Testing Image Features (81K / 3G)   Google Drive  

10-100 Updown Features per image:

For those who may have no access to the Up-Down feature, here we also provide the Updown feature here. Then you can directly use numpy.concatenate (The feature dimension is 3072 : 2048+1024):

  • COCO 2014 Train/Val Image Features (123K / 21G)   Google Drive
  • COCO 2014 Testing Image Features (41K / 7G)   Google Drive
  • COCO 2015 Testing Image Features (81K / 13G)   Google Drive

10-100 Updown Boxes

For users can extract VC Features if they want, here we also provide the Updown feature box coordinates:

How to use after download

  • Unzip the file with command:
tar -xzvf file_name
  • The feature format (The shape of each numpy file is [n x 1024]):
  • Concatenate on the previous feature in the downstream task training.

Downstream Vision & Language Tasks

Please check Downstream Tasks for more details:

Some tips for using in downstream tasks

  • We recommend users to add the dimension of the start multi-layers (embedding layer, fc and so on) in the downstream networks since the feature size add from 2048 to 3072 (for Up-Down Feature).
  • The learning rate can be slighted reduced.
  • We find the self-attentive operation on feature (e.g., the refining encoder in AoANet) may hurt the effectiveness of our VC Feature. Details can be kindly found at the bottom of Page 7 in our paper.
  • The concatenation of Up-Down and VC Feature maybe too simple for some downstream tasks. It can be regarded as a baseline and I believe there would be more potential on VC Feature.

VC R-CNN Framework


Please check INSTALL.md for installation instructions.

Perform Training on COCO Dataset

Prepare Training Data

  1. First, you need to download the COCO dataset and annotations. We assume that you save them in /path_to_COCO_dataset/
  2. Then you need modify the path in vc_rcnn/config/paths_catalog.py, containing the DATA_DIR and DATASETS path.

Training Parameters

  • default.py: OUTPUT_DIR denotes the model output dir. TENSORBOARD_EXPERIMENT is the tensorboard loger output dir. Another parameter the user may need notice is the SOLVER.IMS_PER_BATCH which denotes the number of total images per batch.
  • Config file (e.g., e2e_mask_rcnn_R_101_FPN_1x.yaml): The main parameters the user may pay attention to is the training schedule and learning rate, and the used dataset.
  • Parameters about VC: They are in the end of default.py with annotations. Users can make changes according to their own situation.


Most of the configuration files that we provide assume that we are running 2 images on each GPU with 8 GPUs. In order to be able to run it on fewer GPUs, there are a few possibilities:

1. Single GPU Training: Modify the cfg parameters. Here is an example:

python tools/train_net.py --config-file "configs/e2e_mask_rcnn_R_101_FPN_1x.yaml" SOLVER.IMS_PER_BATCH 2 SOLVER.BASE_LR 0.0025 SOLVER.MAX_ITER 720000 SOLVER.STEPS "(480000, 640000)" TEST.IMS_PER_BATCH 1 MODEL.RPN.FPN_POST_NMS_TOP_N_TRAIN 2000

Ps: To running more images on one GPU, you can refer to the [maskrcnn-benchmark].

2. Multi-GPU training: The maskrcnn-benchmark directly support the multi-gpu training with torch.distributed.launch. You can run the command like (you need change $NGPUS to the num of GPU you use):

python -m torch.distributed.launch --nproc_per_node=$NGPUS tools/train_net.py --config-file "path/to/config/file.yaml" MODEL.RPN.FPN_POST_NMS_TOP_N_TRAIN images_per_gpu x 1000


  • In our experiments, we adopted e2e_mask_rcnn_R_101_FPN_1x.yaml without the Mask Branch (set False) as our config file.

  • The MODEL.RPN.FPN_POST_NMS_TOP_N_TRAIN denotes that the proposals are selected for per the batch rather than per image in the default training. The value is calculated by 1000 x images-per-gpu. Here we have 2 images per GPU, therefore we set the number as 1000 x 2 = 2000. If we have 8 images per GPU, the value should be set as 8000. See #672@maskrcnn-benchmark for more details.

  • Please note that the learning rate & iteration change rule follows the scheduling rules from Detectron, which means the lr need to be set 2x if the number of GPUs become 2x. In our methods, the learning rate is set for 4 GPUs and each GPU has 2 images.

  • In my practice, the learning rate can not be best customized since the VC training is not a supervised model and you cannot measure the goodness of the VC model from training procedure. We have provide a general suitable learning rate and you can make some slight modification.

  • You can turn on the Tensorboard logger by add --use-tensorboard into command (Need to install tensorflow and tensorboardx first).

  • The confounder dictionary dic_coco.npy and the prior stat_prob.npy are in the tools.

Evaluation (Feature Extraction)

1. Using your own model

Since the goal of our VC R-CNN is to train the visual commonsense representations by self-supervised learning, we have no metrics for evaluation and we treat it as the feature extraction process.

Specifically, you can just run the following command to achieve the features.

python -m torch.distributed.launch --nproc_per_node=$NGPUS tools/test_net.py --config-file "path/to/config/file.yaml" TEST.IMS_PER_BATCH images_per_gpu x $GPUS

Please note that before running, you need to set the suitable path for BOUNDINGBOX_FILE and FEATURE_SAVE_PATH in default.py. (Recall that just given image and bounding box coordinate, our VC R-CNN can extract the VC Feature)

2. Using our pretrained VC model on COCO

Here we also provide our pretrained VC model. You can put it into the model dictionary and set the last_checkpoint with the absolute path of model_final.pth. Then run the command:

python -m torch.distributed.launch --nproc_per_node=$NGPUS tools/test_net.py --config-file "path/to/config/file.yaml" TEST.IMS_PER_BATCH images_per_gpu x $GPUS

Add your Customized Dataset

1. Training on customized dataset

For learning VC Feature on your own dataset, the crux is to make your own dataset COCO-style (can refer to the data format in detection task) and design the dataloader file, for example coco.py and openimages.py. Here we provide an example for reference.

from vc_rcnn.structures.bounding_box import BoxList

class MyDataset(object):
    def __init__(self, ...):
        # load the paths and image annotation files you will need in __getitem__

    def __getitem__(self, idx):
        # load the image as a PIL Image
        image = ...

        # load the bounding boxes as a list of list of boxes.
        boxes = [[0, 0, 10, 10], [10, 20, 50, 50]]
        # and labels
        labels = torch.tensor([10, 20])

        # create a BoxList from the boxes. Please pay attention to the box FORM (XYXY or XYWH or another)
        boxlist = BoxList(boxes, image.size, mode="xyxy")
        # add the labels to the boxlist
        boxlist.add_field("labels", labels)
		# Here you can also add many other characters to the boxlist in addition to the labels, for example `image_id', `category_id' and so on.
        if self.transforms:
            image, boxlist = self.transforms(image, boxlist)

        # return the image, the boxlist and the idx in your dataset
        return image, boxlist, idx

    def get_img_info(self, idx):
        # get img_height and img_width. This is used if
        # we want to split the batches according to the aspect ratio
        # of the image, as it can be more efficient than loading the
        # image from disk
        return {"height": img_height, "width": img_width}

Then, you need modify the following files:

2. Extracting features of customized dataset

Recall that with the trained VC R-CNN, we can directly extract VC Features given raw images and bounding box coordinates. Therefore, the method to design dataloader is similar to the above. The only difference is you may want to load box coordinates file for feature extraction and the labels, classes is unnecessary.

You can also refer to openimages.py and vcr.py.

3. Some Tips and Traps

  • As our experiment results shown in paper, training our VC R-CNN on a larger dataset cannot bring much gain to the downstream tasks on other datasets. The probable reason maybe the COCO is enough to learn the commonsense feature for its downstream tasks. Therefore we suggest users: if you want to perform downstream tasks on Dataset A, you can firstly train our VC on the Dataset A.

  • When you design the Dataloader file, the most important thing is to pay attention to the box format (XYXY or XYWH) and adopt the correct command to load them. I have made this mistakes at the beginning of my project.

Our experience you may need

Here we provide our experience (mainly the failure 2333) in training our VC R-CNN and using VC Feature. And we hope it can provide some help or possible ideas to the users to further develop this field :)

1. For Training VC R-CNN

  • After reading the paper MoCo: Momentum Contrast for Unsupervised Visual Representation Learning by Kaiming He, I have tried to construct a better dictionary learning scheme for our VC Feature self-supervised learning. In our current implementation, the dictionary keep constant during training and we want to borrow the idea from MoCo to UPDATE the confounder dictionary iteratively. Since the iterative step (How often is the dictionary updated) can be set arbitrarily, I have tried a few steps but the result is similar. We want to further explore this in our future work.

  • We have tried to add an 'Observation Window' into data sampling, which means for each image we just sample a window contains, for example 10 objects randomly each time. We want the model can learn the latent spatial relationship at the same time, however, the results can be worse.

2. For the VC Feature

  • As we discussed in our paper, our VC Feature achieves a less significant gain on VQA task than that for image captioning. We thought the possible reason can be the limited ability of the current question understanding. We are also wondering if we can train the Vision & Language Commonsense Representations in the future.
  • In all the downstream tasks, we just concatenate the VC Feature on the previous Up-Down feature. This operation maybe too simple and I believe it does NOT reach VC 's full potential. My own bandwidth is limited but I know if more researchers try to use it and design more suitable downstream models, maybe we can create more better results :)
  • The evaluation for the feature (self-supervised learning) can be too trivial and hard. This is the problem for all the self-supervised learning problem. The model performance cannot be estimated in training procedure. And if the things you want to learn is the feature (just like us), you need to evaluate it on many downstream tasks. Therefore, how to find a more effective way to evaluate the learning process can be a good point for research.


I really appreciate Kaihua Tang, Yulei Niu, Xu Yang, Jiaxin Qi, Xinting Hu and Dong Zhang for their greatly helpful advice and lending me GPUs!

If you have any questions or concerns, please kindly email to Tan Wang.

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[CVPR 2020] The official pytorch implementation of ``Visual Commonsense R-CNN''

License:MIT License


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