Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (2023)

Author: lukewood
Date created: 03/28/2023
Last modified: 03/28/2023
Description: Use KerasCV to train powerful image classifiers.

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (1) View in Colab Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (2) GitHub source

Classification is the process of predicting a categorical label for a giveninput image.While classification is a relatively straightforward computer vision task,modern approaches still are built of several complex components.Luckily, KerasCV provides APIs to construct commonly used components.

This guide demonstrates KerasCV's modular approach to solving imageclassification problems at three levels of complexity:

  • Inference with a pretrained classifier
  • Fine-tuning a pretrained backbone
  • Training a image classifier from scratch

We use Professor Keras, the official Keras mascot, as avisual reference for the complexity of the material:

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (3)

import jsonimport mathimport keras_cvimport tensorflow as tfimport tensorflow_datasets as tfdsimport kerasfrom keras import lossesimport numpy as npfrom keras import optimizersfrom tensorflow.keras.optimizers import schedulesfrom keras import metrics

Inference with a pretrained classifier

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (4)

Let's get started with the simplest KerasCV API: a pretrained classifier.In this example, we will construct a classifier that waspretrained on the ImageNet dataset.We'll use this model to solve the age old "Cat or Dog" problem.

The highest level module in KerasCV is a task. A task is a keras.Modelconsisting of a (generally pretrained) backbone model and task-specific layers.Here's an example using keras_cv.models.ImageClassifier with anEfficientNetV2B0 Backbone.

EfficientNetV2B0 is a great starting model when constructing an imageclassification pipeline.This architecture manages to achieve high accuracy, while using aparameter count of 7M.If an EfficientNetV2B0 is not powerful enough for the task you are hoping tosolve, be sure to check out KerasCV's other available Backbones!

classifier = keras_cv.models.ImageClassifier.from_preset( "efficientnetv2_b0_imagenet_classifier")

You may notice a small deviation from the old keras.applications API; whereyou would construct the class with EfficientNetV2B0(weights="imagenet").While the old API was great for classification, it did not scale effectively toother use cases that required complex architectures, like object deteciton andsemantic segmentation.

Now that our classifier is built, let's apply it to this cute cat picture!

filepath = tf.keras.utils.get_file(origin="")image = keras.utils.load_img(filepath)image = np.array(image)keras_cv.visualization.plot_image_gallery( [image], rows=1, cols=1, value_range=(0, 255), show=True, scale=4)

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (5)

Next, let's get some predictions from our classifier:

predictions = classifier.predict(np.expand_dims(image, axis=0))
1/1 [==============================] - 4s 4s/step

Predictions come in the form of softmax-ed category rankings.We can find the index of the top classes using a simple argsort function:

top_classes = predictions[0].argsort(axis=-1)

In order to decode the class mappings, we can construct a mapping fromcategory indices to ImageNet class names.For convenience, I've stored the ImageNet class mapping in a GitHub gist.Let's download and load it now.

(Video) Applied ML with KerasCV and KerasNLP

classes = keras.utils.get_file( origin="")with open(classes, "rb") as f: classes = json.load(f)

Now we can simply look up the class names via index:

top_two = [classes[str(i)] for i in top_classes[-2:]]print("Top two classes are:", top_two)
Top two classes are: ['Egyptian cat', 'velvet']

Great! Both of these appear to be correct!However, one of the classes is "Velvet".We're trying to classify Cats VS Dogs.We don't care about the velvet blanket!

Ideally, we'd have a classifier that only performs computation to determine ifan image is a cat or a dog, and has all of its resources dedicated to this task.This can be solved by fine tuning our own classifier.

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (6)

When labeled images specific to our task are available, fine-tuning a customclassifier can improve performance.If we want to train a Cats vs Dogs Classifier, using explicitly labeled Cat vsDog data should perform better than the generic classifier!For many tasks, no relevant pretrained modelwill be available (e.g., categorizing images specific to your application).

First, let's get started by loading some data:

BATCH_SIZE = 32IMAGE_SIZE = (224, 224)AUTOTUNE =, dataset_info = tfds.load("cats_vs_dogs", with_info=True, as_supervised=True)train_steps_per_epoch = dataset_info.splits["train"].num_examples // BATCH_SIZEtrain_dataset = data["train"]num_classes = dataset_info.features["label"].num_classesresizing = keras_cv.layers.Resizing( IMAGE_SIZE[0], IMAGE_SIZE[1], crop_to_aspect_ratio=True)def preprocess_inputs(image, label): image = tf.cast(image, tf.float32) # Staticly resize images as we only iterate the dataset once. return resizing(image), tf.one_hot(label, num_classes)# Shuffle the dataset to increase diversity of batches.# 10*BATCH_SIZE follows the assumption that bigger machines can handle bigger# shuffle buffers.train_dataset = train_dataset.shuffle( 10 * BATCH_SIZE, reshuffle_each_iteration=True).map(preprocess_inputs, num_parallel_calls=AUTOTUNE)train_dataset = train_dataset.batch(BATCH_SIZE)images = next(iter(train_dataset.take(1)))[0]keras_cv.visualization.plot_image_gallery(images, value_range=(0, 255))

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (7)


Next let's construct our model.The use of imagenet in the preset name indicates that the backbone waspretrained on the ImageNet dataset.Pretrained backbones extract more information from our labeled examples byleveraging patterns extracted from potentially much larger datasets.

Next lets put together our classifier:

model = keras_cv.models.ImageClassifier.from_preset( "efficientnetv2_b0_imagenet", num_classes=2)model.compile( loss="categorical_crossentropy", optimizer=tf.optimizers.SGD(learning_rate=0.01), metrics=["accuracy"],)

Here our classifier is just a simple keras.Sequential.All that is left to do is call
727/727 [==============================] - 61s 52ms/step - loss: 0.2168 - accuracy: 0.9501

Let's look at how our model performs after the fine tuning:

predictions = model.predict(np.expand_dims(image, axis=0))classes = {0: "cat", 1: "dog"}print("Top class is:", classes[predictions[0].argmax()])
1/1 [==============================] - 2s 2s/stepTop class is: cat
(Video) Lucas Wood - Object Detection with KerasCV | PyData Global 2022

Awesome - looks like the model correctly classified the image.

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (8)

Now that we've gotten our hands dirty with classification, let's take on onelast task: training a classification model from scratch!A standard benchmark for image classification is the ImageNet dataset, howeverdue to licensing constraints we will use the CalTech 101 image classificationdataset in this tutorial.While we use the simpler CalTech 101 dataset in this guide, the same trainingtemplate may be used on ImageNet to achieve near state-of-the-art scores.

Let's start out by tackling data loading:

NUM_CLASSES = 101# Change epochs to 100~ to fully train.EPOCHS = 1def package_inputs(image, label): return {"images": image, "labels": tf.one_hot(label, NUM_CLASSES)}train_ds, eval_ds = tfds.load( "caltech101", split=["train", "test"], as_supervised="true")train_ds =, =, = train_ds.shuffle(BATCH_SIZE * 16)

The CalTech101 dataset has different sizes for every image, so we use theragged_batch() API to batch them together while maintaining each individualimage's shape information.

train_ds = train_ds.ragged_batch(BATCH_SIZE)eval_ds = eval_ds.ragged_batch(BATCH_SIZE)batch = next(iter(train_ds.take(1)))image_batch = batch["images"]label_batch = batch["labels"]keras_cv.visualization.plot_image_gallery( image_batch.to_tensor(), rows=3, cols=3, value_range=(0, 255), show=True,)

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (9)

Data Augmentation

In our previous finetuning exmaple, we performed a static resizing operation anddid not utilize any image augmentation.This is because a single pass over the training set was sufficient to achievedecent results.When training to solve a more difficult task, you'll want to include dataaugmentation in your data pipeline.

Data augmentation is a technique to make your model robust to changes in inputdata such as lighting, cropping, and orientation.KerasCV includes some of the most useful augmentations in the keras_cv.layersAPI.Creating an optimal pipeline of augmentations is an art, but in this section ofthe guide we'll offer some tips on best practices for classification.

One caveat to be aware of with image data augmentation is that you must be carefulto not shift your augmented data distribution too far from the original datadistribution.The goal is to prevent overfitting and increase generalization,but samples that lie completely out of the data distribution simply add noise tothe training process.

The first augmentation we'll use is RandomFlip.This augmentation behaves more or less how you'd expect: it either flips theimage or not.While this augmentation is useful in CalTech101 and ImageNet, it should be notedthat it should not be used on tasks where the data distribution is not verticalmirror invariant.An example of a dataset where this occurs is MNIST hand written digits.Flipping a 6 over thevertical axis will make the digit appear more like a 7 than a 6, but thelabel will still show a 6.

random_flip = keras_cv.layers.RandomFlip()augmenters = [random_flip]image_batch = random_flip(image_batch)keras_cv.visualization.plot_image_gallery( image_batch.to_tensor(), rows=3, cols=3, value_range=(0, 255), show=True,)

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (10)

Half of the images have been flipped!

The next augmentation we'll use is RandomCropAndResize.This operation selects a random subset of the image, then resizes it to theprovided target size.By using this augmentation, we force our classifier to become spatially invariant.Additionally, this layer accepts an aspect_ratio_factor which can be used todistort the aspect ratio of the image.While this can improve model performance, it should be used with caution.It is very easy for an aspect ratio distortion to shift a sample too far fromthe original training set's data distribution.Remember - the goal of data augmentation is to produce more training samplesthat align with the data distribution of your training set!

RandomCropAndResize also can handle tf.RaggedTensor inputs. In theCalTech101 image dataset images come in a wide variety of sizes.As such they cannot easily be batched together into a dense training batch.Luckily, RandomCropAndResize handles the Ragged -> Dense conversion processfor you!

Let's add a RandomCropAndResize to our set of augmentations:

crop_and_resize = keras_cv.layers.RandomCropAndResize( target_size=IMAGE_SIZE, crop_area_factor=(0.8, 1.0), aspect_ratio_factor=(0.9, 1.1),)augmenters += [crop_and_resize]image_batch = crop_and_resize(image_batch)keras_cv.visualization.plot_image_gallery( image_batch, rows=3, cols=3, value_range=(0, 255), show=True,)

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (11)

Great! We are now working with a batch of dense images.Next up, lets include some spatial and color-based jitter to our training set.This will allow us to produce a classifier that is robust to lighting flickers,shadows, and more.

There are limitless ways to augment an image by altering color and spatialfeatures, but perhaps the most battle tested technique isRandAugment.RandAugment is actually a set of 10 different augmentations:AutoContrast, Equalize, Solarize, RandomColorJitter, RandomContrast,RandomBrightness, ShearX, ShearY, TranslateX and TranslateY.At inference time, num_augmentations augmenters are sampled for each image,and random magnitude factors are sampled for each.These augmentations are then applied sequentially.

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KerasCV makes tuning these parameters easy using the augmentations_per_imageand magnitude parameters!Let's take it for a spin:

rand_augment = keras_cv.layers.RandAugment( augmentations_per_image=3, magnitude=0.3, value_range=(0, 255),)augmenters += [rand_augment]image_batch = rand_augment(image_batch)keras_cv.visualization.plot_image_gallery( image_batch, rows=3, cols=3, value_range=(0, 255), show=True,)

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (12)

Looks great; but we're not done yet!What if an image is missing one critical feature of a class? For example, whatif a leaf is blocking the view of a cat's ear, but our classifier learned toclassify cats simply by observing their ears?

One easy approach to tackling this is to use RandomCutout, which randomlystrips out a sub-section of the image:

random_cutout = keras_cv.layers.RandomCutout(width_factor=0.4, height_factor=0.4)keras_cv.visualization.plot_image_gallery( random_cutout(image_batch), rows=3, cols=3, value_range=(0, 255), show=True,)

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (13)

While this tackles the problem reasonably well, it can cause the classifier todevelop responses to borders between features and black pixel areas caused bythe cutout.

CutMix solves the same issue by usinga more complex (and more effective) technique.Instead of replacing the cut-out areas with black pixels, CutMix replacesthese regions with regions of other images sampled from within your trainingset!Following this replacement, the image's classification label is updated to be ablend of the original and mixed image's class label.

What does this look like in practice? Let's check it out:

cut_mix = keras_cv.layers.CutMix()# CutMix needs to modify both images and labelsinputs = {"images": image_batch, "labels": label_batch}keras_cv.visualization.plot_image_gallery( cut_mix(inputs)["images"], rows=3, cols=3, value_range=(0, 255), show=True,)

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (14)

Let's hold off from adding it to our augmenter for a minute - more on thatsoon!

Next, let's look into MixUp().Unfortunately, while MixUp() has been empirically shown to substantiallyimprove both the robustness and the generalization of the trained model,it is not well-understood why such improvement occurs... buta little alchemy never hurt anyone!

MixUp() works by sampling two images from a batch, then proceeding toliterally blend together their pixel intensities as well as their classificationlabels.

Let's see it in action:

mix_up = keras_cv.layers.MixUp()# MixUp needs to modify both images and labelsinputs = {"images": image_batch, "labels": label_batch}keras_cv.visualization.plot_image_gallery( mix_up(inputs)["images"], rows=3, cols=3, value_range=(0, 255), show=True,)

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (15)

If you look closely, you'll see that the images have been blended together.

Instead of applying CutMix() and MixUp() to every image, we instead pickone or the other to apply to each batch.This can be expressed using keras_cv.layers.RandomChoice()

cut_mix_or_mix_up = keras_cv.layers.RandomChoice([cut_mix, mix_up], batchwise=True)augmenters += [cut_mix_or_mix_up]

Now let's apply our final augmenter to the training data:

augmenter = keras.Sequential(augmenters)train_ds =, = next(iter(train_ds.take(1)))["images"]keras_cv.visualization.plot_image_gallery( image_batch, rows=3, cols=3, value_range=(0, 255), show=True,)
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Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (16)

We also need to resize our evaluation set to get dense batches of the image sizeexpected by our model. We use the deterministic keras_cv.layers.Resizing inthis case to avoid adding noise to our evaluation metric.

inference_resizing = keras_cv.layers.Resizing( IMAGE_SIZE[0], IMAGE_SIZE[1], crop_to_aspect_ratio=True)eval_ds =, = keras_cv.layers.Resizing( IMAGE_SIZE[0], IMAGE_SIZE[1], crop_to_aspect_ratio=True)eval_ds =, = next(iter(eval_ds.take(1)))["images"]keras_cv.visualization.plot_image_gallery( image_batch, rows=3, cols=3, value_range=(0, 255), show=True,)

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (17)

Finally, lets unpackage our datasets and prepare to pass them to,which accepts a tuple of (images, labels).

def unpackage_dict(inputs): return inputs["images"], inputs["labels"]train_ds =, =,

Data augmentation is by far the hardest piece of training a modernclassifier.Congratulations on making it this far!

Optimizer Tuning

To achieve optimal performance, we need to use a learning rate schedule insteadof a single learning rate. While we won't go into detail on the Cosine decaywith warmup schedule used here, you can read more about ithere.

def lr_warmup_cosine_decay( global_step, warmup_steps, hold=0, total_steps=0, start_lr=0.0, target_lr=1e-2,): # Cosine decay learning_rate = ( 0.5 * target_lr * ( 1 + tf.cos( tf.constant(math.pi) * tf.cast(global_step - warmup_steps - hold, tf.float32) / float(total_steps - warmup_steps - hold) ) ) ) warmup_lr = tf.cast(target_lr * (global_step / warmup_steps), tf.float32) target_lr = tf.cast(target_lr, tf.float32) if hold > 0: learning_rate = tf.where( global_step > warmup_steps + hold, learning_rate, target_lr ) learning_rate = tf.where(global_step < warmup_steps, warmup_lr, learning_rate) return learning_rateclass WarmUpCosineDecay(schedules.LearningRateSchedule): def __init__(self, warmup_steps, total_steps, hold, start_lr=0.0, target_lr=1e-2): super().__init__() self.start_lr = start_lr self.target_lr = target_lr self.warmup_steps = warmup_steps self.total_steps = total_steps self.hold = hold def __call__(self, step): lr = lr_warmup_cosine_decay( global_step=step, total_steps=self.total_steps, warmup_steps=self.warmup_steps, start_lr=self.start_lr, target_lr=self.target_lr, hold=self.hold, ) return tf.where(step > self.total_steps, 0.0, lr, name="learning_rate")

Keras documentation: Classification with KerasCV (18)

The schedule looks a as we expect.

Next let's construct this optimizer:

total_images = 9000total_steps = (total_images // BATCH_SIZE) * EPOCHSwarmup_steps = int(0.1 * total_steps)hold_steps = int(0.45 * total_steps)schedule = WarmUpCosineDecay( start_lr=0.05, target_lr=1e-2, warmup_steps=warmup_steps, total_steps=total_steps, hold=hold_steps,)optimizer = optimizers.SGD( decay=5e-4, learning_rate=schedule, momentum=0.9,)

At long last, we can now build our model and call fit()!keras_cv.models.EfficientNetV2B0Backbone() is a convenience alias forkeras_cv.models.EfficientNetV2Backbone.from_preset('efficientnetv2_b0').Note that this preset does not come with any pretrained weights.

backbone = keras_cv.models.EfficientNetV2B1Backbone()model = keras.Sequential( [ backbone, keras.layers.GlobalMaxPooling2D(), keras.layers.Dropout(rate=0.5), keras.layers.Dense(101, activation="softmax"), ])

Since the labels produced by MixUp() and CutMix() are somewhat artificial, weemploy label smoothing to prevent the model from overfitting to artifacts ofthis augmentation process.

loss = losses.CategoricalCrossentropy(label_smoothing=0.1)

Let's compile our model:

model.compile( loss=loss, optimizer=optimizer, metrics=[ metrics.CategoricalAccuracy(), metrics.TopKCategoricalAccuracy(k=5), ],)

and finally call fit(). train_ds, epochs=EPOCHS, validation_data=eval_ds,)
96/96 [==============================] - 29s 171ms/step - loss: 8.2322 - categorical_accuracy: 0.0095 - top_k_categorical_accuracy: 0.0484 - val_loss: 4.6036 - val_categorical_accuracy: 0.0150 - val_top_k_categorical_accuracy: 0.0832
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Congratulations! You now know how to train a powerful image classifier fromscratch in KerasCV.Depending on the availability of labeled data for your application, trainingfrom scratch may or may not be more powerful than using transfer learning inaddition to the data augmentations discussed above. For smaller datasets,pretrained models generally produce high accuracy and faster convergence.


While image classification is perhaps the simplest problem in computer vision,the modern landscape has numerous complex components.Luckily, KerasCV offers robust, production-grade APIs to make assembling mostof these components possible in one line of code.Through the use of KerasCV's ImageClassifier API, pretrained weights, andKerasCV data augmentations you can assemble everything you need to train apowerful classifier in a few hundred lines of code!

As a follow up exercise, give the following a try:

  • Fine tune a KerasCV classifier on your own dataset
  • Learn more about KerasCV's data augmentations
  • Check out how we train our models on ImageNet


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