Selfie Segmentation using TFLite and OpenVINO

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The Selfie segmentation pipeline allows developers to easily separate the background from users within a scene and focus on what matters. Adding cool effects to selfies or inserting your users into interesting background environments has never been easier. Besides photo editing, this technology is also important for video conferencing. It helps to blur or replace the background during video calls.

In this tutorial, we consider how to implement selfie segmentation using OpenVINO. We will use Multiclass Selfie-segmentation model provided as part of Google MediaPipe solution.

The Multiclass Selfie-segmentation model is a multiclass semantic segmentation model and classifies each pixel as background, hair, body, face, clothes, and others (e.g. accessories). The model supports single or multiple people in the frame, selfies, and full-body images. The model is based on Vision Transformer with customized bottleneck and decoder architecture for real-time performance. More details about the model can be found in model card. This model is represented in Tensorflow Lite format. TensorFlow Lite, often referred to as TFLite, is an open-source library developed for deploying machine learning models to edge devices.

The tutorial consists of following steps:

  1. Download the TFLite model and convert it to OpenVINO IR format.

  2. Run inference on the image.

  3. Run interactive background blurring demo on video.

Table of contents:


Install required dependencies

%pip install -q "openvino>=2023.1.0" "matplotlib" "opencv-python"
DEPRECATION: pytorch-lightning 1.6.5 has a non-standard dependency specifier torch>=1.8.*. pip 24.0 will enforce this behaviour change. A possible replacement is to upgrade to a newer version of pytorch-lightning or contact the author to suggest that they release a version with a conforming dependency specifiers. Discussion can be found at
Note: you may need to restart the kernel to use updated packages.
import urllib.request

Download pretrained model and test image

from pathlib import Path
from notebook_utils import download_file

tflite_model_path = Path("selfie_multiclass_256x256.tflite")
tflite_model_url = ""

download_file(tflite_model_url, tflite_model_path)
selfie_multiclass_256x256.tflite:   0%|          | 0.00/15.6M [00:00<?, ?B/s]

Convert Tensorflow Lite model to OpenVINO IR format

Starting from the 2023.0.0 release, OpenVINO supports TFLite model conversion. However TFLite model format can be directly passed in read_model (you can find examples of this API usage for TFLite in TFLite to OpenVINO conversion tutorial and tutorial with basic OpenVINO API capabilities), it is recommended to convert model to OpenVINO Intermediate Representation format to apply additional optimizations (e.g. weights compression to FP16 format). To convert the TFLite model to OpenVINO IR, model conversion Python API can be used. The ov.convert_model function accepts a path to the TFLite model and returns the OpenVINO Model class instance which represents this model. The obtained model is ready to use and to be loaded on the device using compile_model or can be saved on a disk using the ov.save_model function reducing loading time for the next running. For more information about model conversion, see this page. For TensorFlow Lite, refer to the models support.

import openvino as ov

core = ov.Core()

ir_model_path = tflite_model_path.with_suffix(".xml")

if not ir_model_path.exists():
    ov_model = ov.convert_model(tflite_model_path)
    ov.save_model(ov_model, ir_model_path)
    ov_model = core.read_model(ir_model_path)
print(f"Model input info: {ov_model.inputs}")
Model input info: [<Output: names[input_29] shape[1,256,256,3] type: f32>]

Model input is a floating point tensor with shape [1, 256, 256, 3] in N, H, W, C format, where

  • N - batch size, number of input images.

  • H - the height of the input image.

  • W - width of the input image.

  • C - channels of the input image.

The model accepts images in RGB format normalized in [0, 1] range by division on 255.

print(f"Model output info: {ov_model.outputs}")
Model output info: [<Output: names[Identity] shape[1,256,256,6] type: f32>]

Model output is a floating point tensor with the similar format and shape, except number of channels - 6 that represents number of supported segmentation classes: background, hair, body skin, face skin, clothes, and others. Each value in the output tensor represents of probability that the pixel belongs to the specified class. We can use the argmax operation to get the label with the highest probability for each pixel.

Run OpenVINO model inference on image

Let’s see the model in action. For running the inference model with OpenVINO we should load the model on the device first. Please use the next dropdown list for the selection inference device.

Load model

import ipywidgets as widgets

device = widgets.Dropdown(
    options=core.available_devices + ["AUTO"],

Dropdown(description='Device:', index=1, options=('CPU', 'AUTO'), value='AUTO')
compiled_model = core.compile_model(ov_model, device.value)

Prepare input image

The model accepts an image with size 256x256, we need to resize our input image to fit it in the model input tensor. Usually, segmentation models are sensitive to proportions of input image details, so preserving the original aspect ratio and adding padding can help improve segmentation accuracy, we will use this pre-processing approach. Additionally, the input image is represented as an RGB image in UINT8 ([0, 255] data range), we should normalize it in [0, 1].

import cv2
import numpy as np
from notebook_utils import load_image

# Read input image and convert it to RGB
test_image_url = ""
img = load_image(test_image_url)
img = cv2.cvtColor(img, cv2.COLOR_BGR2RGB)

# Preprocessing helper function
def resize_and_pad(image:np.ndarray, height:int = 256, width:int = 256):
    Input preprocessing function, takes input image in np.ndarray format,
    resizes it to fit specified height and width with preserving aspect ratio
    and adds padding on bottom or right side to complete target height x width rectangle.

      image (np.ndarray): input image in np.ndarray format
      height (int, *optional*, 256): target height
      width (int, *optional*, 256): target width
      padded_img (np.ndarray): processed image
      padding_info (Tuple[int, int]): information about padding size, required for postprocessing
    h, w = image.shape[:2]
    if h < w:
        img = cv2.resize(image, (width, np.floor(h / (w / width)).astype(int)))
        img = cv2.resize(image, (np.floor(w / (h / height)).astype(int), height))

    r_h, r_w = img.shape[:2]
    right_padding = width - r_w
    bottom_padding = height - r_h
    padded_img = cv2.copyMakeBorder(img, 0, bottom_padding, 0, right_padding, cv2.BORDER_CONSTANT)
    return padded_img, (bottom_padding, right_padding)

# Apply preprocessig step - resize and pad input image
padded_img, pad_info = resize_and_pad(np.array(img))

# Convert input data from uint8 [0, 255] to float32 [0, 1] range and add batch dimension
normalized_img = np.expand_dims(padded_img.astype(np.float32) / 255, 0)

Run model inference

out = compiled_model(normalized_img)[0]

Postprocess and visualize inference results

The model predicts segmentation probabilities mask with the size 256 x 256, we need to apply postprocessing to get labels with the highest probability for each pixel and restore the result in the original input image size. We can interpret the result of the model in different ways, e.g. visualize the segmentation mask, apply some visual effects on the selected background (remove, replace it with any other picture, blur it) or other classes (for example, change the color of person’s hair or add makeup).

from typing import Tuple
from notebook_utils import segmentation_map_to_image, SegmentationMap, Label

# helper for visualization segmentation labels
labels = [
    Label(index=0, color=(192, 192, 192), name="background"),
    Label(index=1, color=(128, 0, 0), name="hair"),
    Label(index=2, color=(255, 229, 204), name="body skin"),
    Label(index=3, color=(255, 204, 204), name="face skin"),
    Label(index=4, color=(0, 0, 128), name="clothes"),
    Label(index=5, color=(128, 0, 128), name="others"),
SegmentationLabels = SegmentationMap(labels)

# helper for postprocessing output mask
def postprocess_mask(out:np.ndarray, pad_info:Tuple[int, int], orig_img_size:Tuple[int, int]):
    Posptprocessing function for segmentation mask, accepts model output tensor,
    gets labels for each pixel using argmax,
    unpads segmentation mask and resizes it to original image size.

      out (np.ndarray): model output tensor
      pad_info (Tuple[int, int]): information about padding size from preprocessing step
      orig_img_size (Tuple[int, int]): original image height and width for resizing
      label_mask_resized (np.ndarray): postprocessed segmentation label mask
    label_mask = np.argmax(out, -1)[0]
    pad_h, pad_w = pad_info
    unpad_h = label_mask.shape[0] - pad_h
    unpad_w = label_mask.shape[1] - pad_w
    label_mask_unpadded = label_mask[:unpad_h, :unpad_w]
    orig_h, orig_w = orig_img_size
    label_mask_resized = cv2.resize(label_mask_unpadded, (orig_w, orig_h), interpolation=cv2.INTER_NEAREST)
    return label_mask_resized

# Get info about original image
image_data = np.array(img)
orig_img_shape = image_data.shape

# Specify background color for replacement
BG_COLOR = (192, 192, 192)

# Blur image for backgraund blurring scenario using Gaussian Blur
blurred_image = cv2.GaussianBlur(image_data, (55, 55), 0)

# Postprocess output
postprocessed_mask = postprocess_mask(out, pad_info, orig_img_shape[:2])

# Get colored segmentation map
output_mask = segmentation_map_to_image(postprocessed_mask, SegmentationLabels.get_colormap())

# Replace background on original image
# fill image with solid background color
bg_image = np.full(orig_img_shape, BG_COLOR, dtype=np.uint8)

# define condition mask for separation background and foreground
condition = np.stack((postprocessed_mask,) * 3, axis=-1) > 0
# replace background with solid color
output_image = np.where(condition, image_data, bg_image)
# replace background with blurred image copy
output_blurred_image = np.where(condition, image_data, blurred_image)

Visualize obtained result

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

titles = ["Original image", "Portrait mask", "Removed background", "Blurred background"]
images = [image_data, output_mask, output_image, output_blurred_image]
figsize = (16, 16)
fig, axs = plt.subplots(2, 2, figsize=figsize, sharex='all', sharey='all')
list_axes = list(axs.flat)
for i, a in enumerate(list_axes):
fig.subplots_adjust(wspace=0.0, hspace=-0.8)

Interactive background blurring demo on video

The following code runs model inference on a video:

import collections
import time
from IPython import display
from typing import Union

from notebook_utils import VideoPlayer

# Main processing function to run background blurring
def run_background_blurring(source:Union[str, int] = 0, flip:bool = False, use_popup:bool = False, skip_first_frames:int = 0, model:ov.Model = ov_model, device:str = "CPU"):
    Function for running background blurring inference on video
      source (Union[str, int], *optional*, 0): input video source, it can be path or link on video file or web camera id.
      flip (bool, *optional*, False): flip output video, used for front-camera video processing
      use_popup (bool, *optional*, False): use popup window for avoid flickering
      skip_first_frames (int, *optional*, 0): specified number of frames will be skipped in video processing
      model (ov.Model): OpenVINO model for inference
      device (str): inference device
    player = None
    compiled_model = core.compile_model(model, device)
        # Create a video player to play with target fps.
        player = VideoPlayer(
            source=source, flip=flip, fps=30, skip_first_frames=skip_first_frames
        # Start capturing.
        if use_popup:
            title = "Press ESC to Exit"
                winname=title, flags=cv2.WINDOW_GUI_NORMAL | cv2.WINDOW_AUTOSIZE

        processing_times = collections.deque()
        while True:
            # Grab the frame.
            frame =
            if frame is None:
                print("Source ended")
            # If the frame is larger than full HD, reduce size to improve the performance.
            scale = 1280 / max(frame.shape)
            if scale < 1:
                frame = cv2.resize(
            # Get the results.
            input_image, pad_info = resize_and_pad(frame, 256, 256)
            normalized_img = np.expand_dims(input_image.astype(np.float32) / 255, 0)

            start_time = time.time()
            # model expects RGB image, while video capturing in BGR
            segmentation_mask = compiled_model(normalized_img[:, :, :, ::-1])[0]
            stop_time = time.time()
            blurred_image = cv2.GaussianBlur(frame, (55, 55), 0)
            postprocessed_mask = postprocess_mask(segmentation_mask, pad_info, frame.shape[:2])
            condition = np.stack((postprocessed_mask,) * 3, axis=-1) > 0
            frame = np.where(condition, frame, blurred_image)
            processing_times.append(stop_time - start_time)
            # Use processing times from last 200 frames.
            if len(processing_times) > 200:

            _, f_width = frame.shape[:2]
            # Mean processing time [ms].
            processing_time = np.mean(processing_times) * 1000
            fps = 1000 / processing_time
                text=f"Inference time: {processing_time:.1f}ms ({fps:.1f} FPS)",
                org=(20, 40),
                fontScale=f_width / 1000,
                color=(255, 0, 0),
            # Use this workaround if there is flickering.
            if use_popup:
                cv2.imshow(winname=title, mat=frame)
                key = cv2.waitKey(1)
                # escape = 27
                if key == 27:
                # Encode numpy array to jpg.
                _, encoded_img = cv2.imencode(
                    ext=".jpg", img=frame, params=[cv2.IMWRITE_JPEG_QUALITY, 100]
                # Create an IPython image.
                i = display.Image(data=encoded_img)
                # Display the image in this notebook.
    # ctrl-c
    except KeyboardInterrupt:
    # any different error
    except RuntimeError as e:
        if player is not None:
            # Stop capturing.
        if use_popup:

Run Live Background Blurring

Use a webcam as the video input. By default, the primary webcam is set with source=0. If you have multiple webcams, each one will be assigned a consecutive number starting at 0. Set flip=True when using a front-facing camera. Some web browsers, especially Mozilla Firefox, may cause flickering. If you experience flickering, set use_popup=True.

NOTE: To use this notebook with a webcam, you need to run the notebook on a computer with a webcam. If you run the notebook on a remote server (for example, in Binder or Google Colab service), the webcam will not work. By default, the lower cell will run model inference on a video file. If you want to try to live inference on your webcam set WEBCAM_INFERENCE = True


    VIDEO_SOURCE = 0  # Webcam

Select device for inference:

Dropdown(description='Device:', index=1, options=('CPU', 'AUTO'), value='AUTO')


run_background_blurring(source=VIDEO_SOURCE, device=device.value)
Source ended