ManiPose: Manifold-Constrained Multi-Hypothesis 3D Human Pose Estimation


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Monocular 3D human pose estimation (3D-HPE) is an inherently ambiguous task, as a 2D pose in an image might originate from different possible 3D poses. Yet, most 3D-HPE methods rely on regression models, which assume a one-to-one mapping between inputs and outputs. In this work, we provide theoretical and empirical evidence that, because of this ambiguity, common regression models are bound to predict topologically inconsistent poses, and that traditional evaluation metrics, such as the MPJPE, P-MPJPE and PCK, are insufficient to assess this aspect. As a solution, we propose ManiPose, a novel manifold-constrained multi-hypothesis model capable of proposing multiple candidate 3D poses for each 2D input, together with their corresponding plausibility. Unlike previous multi-hypothesis approaches, our solution is completely supervised and does not rely on complex generative models, thus greatly facilitating its training and usage. Furthermore, by constraining our model to lie within the human pose manifold, we can guarantee the consistency of all hypothetical poses predicted with our approach, which was not possible in previous works. We illustrate the usefulness of ManiPose in a synthetic 1D-to-2D lifting setting and demonstrate on real-world datasets that it outperforms state-of-the-art models in pose consistency by a large margin, while still reaching competitive MPJPE performance.
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