Networks are Slacking Off: Understanding Generalization Problem in Image Deraining

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Jinjin Gu, Xianzheng Ma, Xiangtao Kong, Yu Qiao, Chao Dong


Deep deraining networks consistently encounter substantial generalization issues when deployed in real-world applications, although they are successful in laboratory benchmarks. A prevailing perspective in deep learning encourages using highly complex data for training, with the expectation that richer image background content will facilitate overcoming the generalization problem. However, through comprehensive and systematic experimentation, we discover that this strategy does not enhance the generalization capability of these networks. On the contrary, it exacerbates the tendency of networks to overfit specific degradations. Our experiments reveal that better generalization in a deraining network can be achieved by simplifying the complexity of the training background images. This is because that the networks are ``slacking off'' during training, that is, learning the least complex elements in the image background and degradation to minimize training loss. When the background images are less complex than the rain streaks, the network will prioritize the background reconstruction, thereby suppressing overfitting the rain patterns and leading to improved generalization performance. Our research offers a valuable perspective and methodology for better understanding the generalization problem in low-level vision tasks and displays promising potential for practical application.