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AutoLink: Self-supervised Learning of Human Skeletons and Object Outlines by Linking Keypoints

Xingzhe He · Bastian Wandt · Helge Rhodin

Hall J (level 1) #109

Keywords: [ Self-supervised learning ] [ human skeleton ] [ articulated bodies ] [ keypoints ]


Structured representations such as keypoints are widely used in pose transfer, conditional image generation, animation, and 3D reconstruction. However, their supervised learning requires expensive annotation for each target domain. We propose a self-supervised method that learns to disentangle object structure from the appearance with a graph of 2D keypoints linked by straight edges. Both the keypoint location and their pairwise edge weights are learned, given only a collection of images depicting the same object class. The resulting graph is interpretable, for example, AutoLink recovers the human skeleton topology when applied to images showing people. Our key ingredients are i) an encoder that predicts keypoint locations in an input image, ii) a shared graph as a latent variable that links the same pairs of keypoints in every image, iii) an intermediate edge map that combines the latent graph edge weights and keypoint locations in a soft, differentiable manner, and iv) an inpainting objective on randomly masked images. Although simpler, AutoLink outperforms existing self-supervised methods on the established keypoint and pose estimation benchmarks and paves the way for structure-conditioned generative models on more diverse datasets. Project website:

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