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Create Simple Semantic Segmentation Network in Deep Network Designer

This example shows how to create and train a simple semantic segmentation network using Deep Network Designer.

Semantic segmentation describes the process of associating each pixel of an image with a class label (such as flower, person, road, sky, ocean, or car). Applications for semantic segmentation include road segmentation for autonomous driving and cancer cell segmentation for medical diagnosis. To learn more, see Getting Started with Semantic Segmentation Using Deep Learning.

Preprocess Training Data

To train a semantic segmentation network, you need a collection of images and its corresponding collection of pixel-labeled images. A pixel-labeled image is an image where every pixel value represents the categorical label of that pixel. This example uses a simple data set of 32-by-32 images of triangles for illustration purposes. You can interactively label pixels and export the label data for computer vision applications using Image Labeler. For more information on creating training data for semantic segmentation applications, see Label Pixels for Semantic Segmentation.

Load the training data.

dataFolder  = fullfile(toolboxdir('vision'), ...

imageDir = fullfile(dataFolder,'trainingImages');
labelDir = fullfile(dataFolder,'trainingLabels');

Create an ImageDatastore containing the images.

imds = imageDatastore(imageDir);

Create a PixelLabelDatastore containing the ground truth pixel labels. This data set has two classes: "triangle" and "background".

classNames = ["triangle","background"];
labelIDs   = [255 0];

pxds = pixelLabelDatastore(labelDir,classNames,labelIDs);

Combine the image datastore and the pixel label datastore into a CombinedDatastore object using the combine function. A combined datastore maintains parity between the pair of images in the underlying datastores.

cds = combine(imds,pxds);

Build Network

Open Deep Network Designer.


In Deep Network Designer, you can build, edit, and train deep learning networks. Pause on Blank Network and click New.

Create a semantic segmentation network by dragging layers from the Layer Library to the Designer pane.

Connect the layers in this order:

  1. imageInputLayer with InputSize set to 32,32,1

  2. convolution2dLayer with FilterSize set to 3,3, NumFilters set to 64, and Padding set to 1,1,1,1

  3. reluLayer

  4. maxPooling2dLayer with PoolSize set to 2,2, Stride set to 2,2, and Padding set to 0,0,0,0

  5. convolution2dLayer with FilterSize set to 3,3, NumFilters set to 64, and Padding set to 1,1,1,1

  6. reluLayer

  7. transposedConv2dLayer with FilterSize set to 4,4, NumFilters set to 64, Stride set to 2,2, and Cropping set to 1,1,1,1

  8. convolution2dLayer with FilterSize set to 1,1, NumFilters set to 2, and Padding set to 0,0,0,0

  9. softmaxLayer

  10. pixelClassificationLayer

You can also create this network at the command line and then import the network into Deep Network Designer using deepNetworkDesigner(layers).

layers = [
    imageInputLayer([32 32 1])

This network is a simple semantic segmentation network based on a downsampling and upsampling design. For more information on constructing a semantic segmentation network, see Create a Semantic Segmentation Network.

Import Data

To import the training datastore, on the Data tab, select Import Data > Import Datastore. Select the CombinedDatastore object cds as the training data. For the validation data, select None. Import the training data by clicking Import.

Deep Network Designer displays a preview of the imported semantic segmentation data. The preview displays the training images and the ground truth pixel labels. The network requires input images (left) and returns a classification for each pixel as either triangle or background (right).

Train Network

Set the training options and train the network.

On the Training tab, click Training Options. Set InitialLearnRate to 0.001, MaxEpochs to 100, and MiniBatchSize to 64. Set the training options by clicking Close.

Train the network by clicking Train.

Once training is complete, click Export to export the trained network to the workspace. The trained network is stored in the variable trainedNetwork_1.

Test Network

Make predictions using test data and the trained network.

Segment the test image using semanticseg. Display the labels over the image by using the labeloverlay function.

imgTest = imread('triangleTest.jpg');
testSeg = semanticseg(imgTest,trainedNetwork_1);
testImageSeg = labeloverlay(imgTest,testSeg);

Display the results.


The network successfully labels the triangles in the test image.

The semantic segmentation network trained in this example is very simple. To construct more complex semantic segmentation networks, you can use the Computer Vision Toolbox functions segnetLayers, deeplabv3plusLayers, and unetLayers. For an example showing how to use the deeplabv3plusLayers function to create a DeepLab v3+ network, see Semantic Segmentation With Deep Learning.