VGG19 UNET Implementation in TensorFlow

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In this tutorial, we are going to implement the U-Net architecture in TensorFlow, where we will replace its encoder with a pre-trained VGG19 architecture. The VGG19 is already trained on the ImageNet classification dataset. Therefore, it would have already learned the required features, which would help to boost the overall performance of the VGG19-UNET. The VGG19-UNET would be implemented in the TensorFlow framework.

What is UNET?

UNET is an image segmentation architecture developed by Olaf Ronneberger et al. for Biomedical Image Segmentation in 2015 at the University of Freiburg, Germany. It is a fully convolutional neural network that is designed to learn from fewer training samples. It is an improvement over the existing FCN – “Fully convolutional networks for semantic segmentation” developed by Jonathan Long et al. in (2014). The UNET architecture is primarily used as the baseline architecture for any semantic segmentation task.

UNET Research Paper (Arxiv): U-Net: Convolutional Networks for Biomedical Image Segmentation

READ MORE: What is UNET?

The block diagram of the UNET architecture. Source: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1505.04597.pdf

What is VGG19?

VGG19 is an image classification architecture developed by Karen Simonyan and Andrew Zisserman in 2014. The architecture was published in the paper “Very Deep Convolutional Networks for Large-Scale Image Recognition”.

The block diagram of VGG19. Credit: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12652-021-03488-z

VGG19 Research Paper (Arxiv): Very Deep Convolutional Networks for Large-Scale Image Recognition

The main contribution of the above research paper is the extensive study of the increasing depth using the 3×3 convolutional filters. In particular, significant improvement has from VGG16 to VGG19. The number 16 and 19 denotes the depth of the VGG16 and VGG19 network respectively.

The configuration of the different VGG networks from 11 to 19 weight layers.

VGG19 UNET Implementation

Now, we will write the code to implement the VGG19 UNET in the TensorFlow framework using the Python programming language. You can download the code from the link given below.

Import

In the beginning, we are going to import all the required layers and the VGG19 architecture.

from tensorflow.keras.layers import Conv2D, BatchNormalization, Activation, MaxPool2D, Conv2DTranspose, Concatenate, Input
from tensorflow.keras.models import Model
from tensorflow.keras.applications import VGG19

Convolution Block

Here, we are going to define the convolution block, which consists of two 3×3 convolution layers. Each convolution layer is followed by a batch normalization layer and a ReLU activation function.

The block diagram of the convolution block
def conv_block(input, num_filters):
    x = Conv2D(num_filters, 3, padding="same")(input)
    x = BatchNormalization()(x)
    x = Activation("relu")(x)

    x = Conv2D(num_filters, 3, padding="same")(x)
    x = BatchNormalization()(x)
    x = Activation("relu")(x)

    return x

The conv_block function takes the following arguments:

  1. input: It is the output of the previous block.
  2. num_filters: The number of feature channels for the convolution layers.

Decoder Block

After, the convolution block, we are going to define the decoder block, which consists of a 2×2 Transpose Convolution layer followed by the skip connection taken from the VGG19 pre-trained encoder. Next, it is followed by a conv_block function.

The block diagram of the decoder block

The above diagram of the decoder block shows the flow of information inside it. The dotted box shows the height and width of the different feature maps. The above diagram represents the first decoder, where the INPUT is the b1 and the SKIP FEATURES is the s4.

def decoder_block(input, skip_features, num_filters):
    x = Conv2DTranspose(num_filters, (2, 2), strides=2, padding="same")(input)
    x = Concatenate()([x, skip_features])
    x = conv_block(x, num_filters)
    return x

The decoder_block takes the following arguments:

  1. input: It is the output of the previous block.
  2. skip_features: These are the appropriate size feature maps from the pre-trained VGG19 encoder.
  3. num_filters: These represent the number of feature channels for the conv_block.

VGG19 UNET

Now, we are going to build the VGG19 UNET architecture. Here, we will begin by defining the following:

  1. Input layer
  2. Pre-trained VGG19 encoder
  3. Decoder
  4. Finally, VGG19 UNET.
  5. Run the model.

Input Layer

We begin by defining the build_vgg19_unet function. The function takes only one argument:

  1. input_shape: It is a tuple consisting of height, width and the number of channels. For example: (512, 512, 3).
def build_vgg19_unet(input_shape):
    """ Input """
    inputs = Input(input_shape)

We use the VGG19 architecture defined by the TensorFlow library. It takes the following arguments:

  1. include_top: We set its value to False, as we do not want to include the fully-connected layer on the top. We just want to load the convolutional layers.
  2. weights: The value for this argument is a string called imagenet. The string imagenet denotes the weights that needs to be loaded in the VGG19 architecture. If you do not want to load any weight in the network, then you can say weights=None.
  3. input_tensor: The input_tensor takes the input image represented by the inputs variable.

So, now we are going to extract the required feature maps from the specific layers from the pre-trained encoder. Now, these features would be used as the skip connections and the output of this encoder.

    """ Encoder """
    s1 = vgg19.get_layer("block1_conv2").output         ## (512 x 512)
    s2 = vgg19.get_layer("block2_conv2").output         ## (256 x 256)
    s3 = vgg19.get_layer("block3_conv4").output         ## (128 x 128)
    s4 = vgg19.get_layer("block4_conv4").output         ## (64 x 64)

The s1s2s3 and s4 represent the skip connection from the pre-trained encoder and these are going to be used in the appropriate decoder blocks.

The original UNET architecture consists of a convolution block connecting the encoder and the decoder. Here, we are going to use the pre-trained VGG16 features as the bridge.

    """ Bridge """
    b1 = vgg19.get_layer("block5_conv4").output         ## (32 x 32)

Decoder

Now, we have built the encoder and now we are going to use the b1 as the input for the first decoder block.

    """ Decoder """
    d1 = decoder_block(b1, s4, 512)                     ## (64 x 64)
    d2 = decoder_block(d1, s3, 256)                     ## (128 x 128)
    d3 = decoder_block(d2, s2, 128)                     ## (256 x 256)
    d4 = decoder_block(d3, s1, 64)                      ## (512 x 512)

Here, we have built the decoder network consisting of four decoder blocks, where the output of the decoder is passed through a 1×1 convolution layer with sigmoid activation.

    """ Output """
    outputs = Conv2D(1, 1, padding="same", activation="sigmoid")(d4)

VGG19 UNET Model

So, now we have got the output of the network in the outputs variable. We are going to build the complete model using the Model class imported from the TensorFlow library.

    model = Model(inputs, outputs, name="VGG19_U-Net")
    return model

Run the Model

Now we have built the VGG19 UNET architecture, we need to run give it input and see the results.

Model: "VGG19_U-Net"
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Layer (type)                   Output Shape         Param #     Connected to                     
==================================================================================================
 input_1 (InputLayer)           [(None, 512, 512, 3  0           []                               
                                )]                                                                
                                                                                                  
 block1_conv1 (Conv2D)          (None, 512, 512, 64  1792        ['input_1[0][0]']                
                                )                                                                 
                                                                                                  
 block1_conv2 (Conv2D)          (None, 512, 512, 64  36928       ['block1_conv1[0][0]']           
                                )                                                                 
                                                                                                  
 block1_pool (MaxPooling2D)     (None, 256, 256, 64  0           ['block1_conv2[0][0]']           
                                )                                                                 
                                                                                                  
 block2_conv1 (Conv2D)          (None, 256, 256, 12  73856       ['block1_pool[0][0]']            
                                8)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 block2_conv2 (Conv2D)          (None, 256, 256, 12  147584      ['block2_conv1[0][0]']           
                                8)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 block2_pool (MaxPooling2D)     (None, 128, 128, 12  0           ['block2_conv2[0][0]']           
                                8)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 block3_conv1 (Conv2D)          (None, 128, 128, 25  295168      ['block2_pool[0][0]']            
                                6)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 block3_conv2 (Conv2D)          (None, 128, 128, 25  590080      ['block3_conv1[0][0]']           
                                6)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 block3_conv3 (Conv2D)          (None, 128, 128, 25  590080      ['block3_conv2[0][0]']           
                                6)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 block3_conv4 (Conv2D)          (None, 128, 128, 25  590080      ['block3_conv3[0][0]']           
                                6)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 block3_pool (MaxPooling2D)     (None, 64, 64, 256)  0           ['block3_conv4[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
 block4_conv1 (Conv2D)          (None, 64, 64, 512)  1180160     ['block3_pool[0][0]']            
                                                                                                  
 block4_conv2 (Conv2D)          (None, 64, 64, 512)  2359808     ['block4_conv1[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
 block4_conv3 (Conv2D)          (None, 64, 64, 512)  2359808     ['block4_conv2[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
 block4_conv4 (Conv2D)          (None, 64, 64, 512)  2359808     ['block4_conv3[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
 block4_pool (MaxPooling2D)     (None, 32, 32, 512)  0           ['block4_conv4[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
 block5_conv1 (Conv2D)          (None, 32, 32, 512)  2359808     ['block4_pool[0][0]']            
                                                                                                  
 block5_conv2 (Conv2D)          (None, 32, 32, 512)  2359808     ['block5_conv1[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
 block5_conv3 (Conv2D)          (None, 32, 32, 512)  2359808     ['block5_conv2[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
 block5_conv4 (Conv2D)          (None, 32, 32, 512)  2359808     ['block5_conv3[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
 conv2d_transpose (Conv2DTransp  (None, 64, 64, 512)  1049088    ['block5_conv4[0][0]']           
 ose)                                                                                             
                                                                                                  
 concatenate (Concatenate)      (None, 64, 64, 1024  0           ['conv2d_transpose[0][0]',       
                                )                                 'block4_conv4[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
 conv2d (Conv2D)                (None, 64, 64, 512)  4719104     ['concatenate[0][0]']            
                                                                                                  
 batch_normalization (BatchNorm  (None, 64, 64, 512)  2048       ['conv2d[0][0]']                 
 alization)                                                                                       
                                                                                                  
 activation (Activation)        (None, 64, 64, 512)  0           ['batch_normalization[0][0]']    
                                                                                                  
 conv2d_1 (Conv2D)              (None, 64, 64, 512)  2359808     ['activation[0][0]']             
                                                                                                  
 batch_normalization_1 (BatchNo  (None, 64, 64, 512)  2048       ['conv2d_1[0][0]']               
 rmalization)                                                                                     
                                                                                                  
 activation_1 (Activation)      (None, 64, 64, 512)  0           ['batch_normalization_1[0][0]']  
                                                                                                  
 conv2d_transpose_1 (Conv2DTran  (None, 128, 128, 25  524544     ['activation_1[0][0]']           
 spose)                         6)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 concatenate_1 (Concatenate)    (None, 128, 128, 51  0           ['conv2d_transpose_1[0][0]',     
                                2)                                'block3_conv4[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
 conv2d_2 (Conv2D)              (None, 128, 128, 25  1179904     ['concatenate_1[0][0]']          
                                6)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 batch_normalization_2 (BatchNo  (None, 128, 128, 25  1024       ['conv2d_2[0][0]']               
 rmalization)                   6)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 activation_2 (Activation)      (None, 128, 128, 25  0           ['batch_normalization_2[0][0]']  
                                6)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 conv2d_3 (Conv2D)              (None, 128, 128, 25  590080      ['activation_2[0][0]']           
                                6)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 batch_normalization_3 (BatchNo  (None, 128, 128, 25  1024       ['conv2d_3[0][0]']               
 rmalization)                   6)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 activation_3 (Activation)      (None, 128, 128, 25  0           ['batch_normalization_3[0][0]']  
                                6)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 conv2d_transpose_2 (Conv2DTran  (None, 256, 256, 12  131200     ['activation_3[0][0]']           
 spose)                         8)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 concatenate_2 (Concatenate)    (None, 256, 256, 25  0           ['conv2d_transpose_2[0][0]',     
                                6)                                'block2_conv2[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
 conv2d_4 (Conv2D)              (None, 256, 256, 12  295040      ['concatenate_2[0][0]']          
                                8)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 batch_normalization_4 (BatchNo  (None, 256, 256, 12  512        ['conv2d_4[0][0]']               
 rmalization)                   8)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 activation_4 (Activation)      (None, 256, 256, 12  0           ['batch_normalization_4[0][0]']  
                                8)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 conv2d_5 (Conv2D)              (None, 256, 256, 12  147584      ['activation_4[0][0]']           
                                8)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 batch_normalization_5 (BatchNo  (None, 256, 256, 12  512        ['conv2d_5[0][0]']               
 rmalization)                   8)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 activation_5 (Activation)      (None, 256, 256, 12  0           ['batch_normalization_5[0][0]']  
                                8)                                                                
                                                                                                  
 conv2d_transpose_3 (Conv2DTran  (None, 512, 512, 64  32832      ['activation_5[0][0]']           
 spose)                         )                                                                 
                                                                                                  
 concatenate_3 (Concatenate)    (None, 512, 512, 12  0           ['conv2d_transpose_3[0][0]',     
                                8)                                'block1_conv2[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
 conv2d_6 (Conv2D)              (None, 512, 512, 64  73792       ['concatenate_3[0][0]']          
                                )                                                                 
                                                                                                  
 batch_normalization_6 (BatchNo  (None, 512, 512, 64  256        ['conv2d_6[0][0]']               
 rmalization)                   )                                                                 
                                                                                                  
 activation_6 (Activation)      (None, 512, 512, 64  0           ['batch_normalization_6[0][0]']  
                                )                                                                 
                                                                                                  
 conv2d_7 (Conv2D)              (None, 512, 512, 64  36928       ['activation_6[0][0]']           
                                )                                                                 
                                                                                                  
 batch_normalization_7 (BatchNo  (None, 512, 512, 64  256        ['conv2d_7[0][0]']               
 rmalization)                   )                                                                 
                                                                                                  
 activation_7 (Activation)      (None, 512, 512, 64  0           ['batch_normalization_7[0][0]']  
                                )                                                                 
                                                                                                  
 conv2d_8 (Conv2D)              (None, 512, 512, 1)  65          ['activation_7[0][0]']           
                                                                                                  
==================================================================================================
Total params: 31,172,033
Trainable params: 31,168,193
Non-trainable params: 3,840
__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Complete VGG19 UNET Code

Here is the complete code for the implementation of the VGG19 UNET architecture in TensorFlow.

from tensorflow.keras.layers import Conv2D, BatchNormalization, Activation, MaxPool2D, Conv2DTranspose, Concatenate, Input
from tensorflow.keras.models import Model
from tensorflow.keras.applications import VGG19

def conv_block(input, num_filters):
    x = Conv2D(num_filters, 3, padding="same")(input)
    x = BatchNormalization()(x)
    x = Activation("relu")(x)

    x = Conv2D(num_filters, 3, padding="same")(x)
    x = BatchNormalization()(x)
    x = Activation("relu")(x)

    return x

def decoder_block(input, skip_features, num_filters):
    x = Conv2DTranspose(num_filters, (2, 2), strides=2, padding="same")(input)
    x = Concatenate()([x, skip_features])
    x = conv_block(x, num_filters)
    return x

def build_vgg19_unet(input_shape):
    """ Input """
    inputs = Input(input_shape)

    """ Pre-trained VGG19 Model """
    vgg19 = VGG19(include_top=False, weights="imagenet", input_tensor=inputs)

    """ Encoder """
    s1 = vgg19.get_layer("block1_conv2").output         ## (512 x 512)
    s2 = vgg19.get_layer("block2_conv2").output         ## (256 x 256)
    s3 = vgg19.get_layer("block3_conv4").output         ## (128 x 128)
    s4 = vgg19.get_layer("block4_conv4").output         ## (64 x 64)

    """ Bridge """
    b1 = vgg19.get_layer("block5_conv4").output         ## (32 x 32)

    """ Decoder """
    d1 = decoder_block(b1, s4, 512)                     ## (64 x 64)
    d2 = decoder_block(d1, s3, 256)                     ## (128 x 128)
    d3 = decoder_block(d2, s2, 128)                     ## (256 x 256)
    d4 = decoder_block(d3, s1, 64)                      ## (512 x 512)

    """ Output """
    outputs = Conv2D(1, 1, padding="same", activation="sigmoid")(d4)

    model = Model(inputs, outputs, name="VGG19_U-Net")
    return model

if __name__ == "__main__":
    input_shape = (512, 512, 3)
    model = build_vgg19_unet(input_shape)
    model.summary()

Summary

In this tutorial, we have learned to build the VGG19 UNET. We have learned to replace the UNET encoder with a pre-trained encoder.

Hopefully, I was able to give you some new information and you learn something from this article.

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