Structure-Preserving Image Super-Resolution

by   Cheng Ma, et al.

Structures matter in single image super-resolution (SISR). Benefiting from generative adversarial networks (GANs), recent studies have promoted the development of SISR by recovering photo-realistic images. However, there are still undesired structural distortions in the recovered images. In this paper, we propose a structure-preserving super-resolution (SPSR) method to alleviate the above issue while maintaining the merits of GAN-based methods to generate perceptual-pleasant details. Firstly, we propose SPSR with gradient guidance (SPSR-G) by exploiting gradient maps of images to guide the recovery in two aspects. On the one hand, we restore high-resolution gradient maps by a gradient branch to provide additional structure priors for the SR process. On the other hand, we propose a gradient loss to impose a second-order restriction on the super-resolved images, which helps generative networks concentrate more on geometric structures. Secondly, since the gradient maps are handcrafted and may only be able to capture limited aspects of structural information, we further extend SPSR-G by introducing a learnable neural structure extractor (NSE) to unearth richer local structures and provide stronger supervision for SR. We propose two self-supervised structure learning methods, contrastive prediction and solving jigsaw puzzles, to train the NSEs. Our methods are model-agnostic, which can be potentially used for off-the-shelf SR networks. Experimental results on five benchmark datasets show that the proposed methods outperform state-of-the-art perceptual-driven SR methods under LPIPS, PSNR, and SSIM metrics. Visual results demonstrate the superiority of our methods in restoring structures while generating natural SR images. Code is available at



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