Explicit Disentanglement of Appearance and Perspective in Generative Models

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Nicki Skafte, Søren Hauberg


Disentangled representation learning finds compact, independent and easy-to-interpret factors of the data. Learning such has been shown to require an inductive bias, which we explicitly encode in a generative model of images. Specifically, we propose a model with two latent spaces: one that represents spatial transformations of the input data, and another that represents the transformed data. We find that the latter naturally captures the intrinsic appearance of the data. To realize the generative model, we propose a Variationally Inferred Transformational Autoencoder (VITAE) that incorporates a spatial ransformer into a variational autoencoder. We show how to perform inference in the model efficiently by carefully designing the encoders and restricting the transformation class to be diffeomorphic. Empirically, our model separates the visual style from digit type on MNIST, separates shape and pose in images of human bodies and facial features from facial shape on CelebA.