CLIP4STR: A Simple Baseline for Scene Text Recognition with Pre-trained Vision-Language Model

Shuai Zhao, Xiaohan Wang, Linchao Zhu, Yi Yang

Pre-trained vision-language models are the de-facto foundation models for various downstream tasks. However, this trend has not extended to the field of scene text recognition (STR), despite the potential of CLIP to serve as a powerful scene text reader. CLIP can robustly identify regular (horizontal) and irregular (rotated, curved, blurred, or occluded) text in natural images. With such merits, we introduce CLIP4STR, a simple yet effective STR method built upon image and text encoders of CLIP. It has two encoder-decoder branches: a visual branch and a cross-modal branch. The visual branch provides an initial prediction based on the visual feature, and the cross-modal branch refines this prediction by addressing the discrepancy between the visual feature and text semantics. To fully leverage the capabilities of both branches, we design a dual predict-and-refine decoding scheme for inference. CLIP4STR achieves new state-of-the-art performance on 11 STR benchmarks. Additionally, a comprehensive empirical study is provided to enhance the understanding of the adaptation of CLIP to STR. We believe our method establishes a simple but strong baseline for future STR research with VL models.

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