Using `Datasets`, `Pipeline`, `TfmdLists` and `Transform` in computer vision


from import *

Creating your own Transform

Creating your own Transform is way easier than you think. In fact, each time you have passed a label function to the data block API or to ImageDataLoaders.from_name_func, you have created a Transform without knowing it. At its base, a Transform is just a function. Let's show how you can easily add a transform by implementing one that wraps a data augmentation from the albumentations library.

First things first, you will need to install the albumentations library. Uncomment the following cell to do so if needed:


Then it's going to be easier to see the result of the transform on a color image bigger than the mnist one we had before, so let's load something from the PETS dataset.

source = untar_data(URLs.PETS)
items = get_image_files(source/"images")

We can still open it with PILIlmage.create:

img = PILImage.create(items[0])

We will show how to wrap one transform, but you can as easily wrap any set of transforms you wrapped in a Compose method. Here let's do some ShiftScaleRotate:

from albumentations import ShiftScaleRotate

The albumentations transform work on numpy images, so we just convert our PILImage to a numpy array before wrapping it back in PILImage.create (this function takes filenames as well as arrays or tensors).

aug = ShiftScaleRotate(p=1)
def aug_tfm(img): 
    np_img = np.array(img)
    aug_img = aug(image=np_img)['image']
    return PILImage.create(aug_img)

We can pass this function each time a Transform is expected and the fastai library will automatically do the conversion. That's because you can directly pass such a function to create a Transform:

tfm = Transform(aug_tfm)

If you have some state in your transform, you might want to create a subclass of Transform. In that case, the function you want to apply should be written in the encodes method (the same way you implement forward for PyTorch module):

class AlbumentationsTransform(Transform):
    def __init__(self, aug): self.aug = aug
    def encodes(self, img: PILImage):
        aug_img = self.aug(image=np.array(img))['image']
        return PILImage.create(aug_img)

We also added a type annotation: this will make sure this transform is only applied to PILImages and their subclasses. For any other object, it won't do anything. You can also write as many encodes method you want with different type-annotations and the Transform will properly dispatch the objects it receives.

This is because in practice, the transform is often applied as an item_tfms (or a batch_tfms) that you pass in the data block API. Those items are a tuple of objects of different types, and the transform may have different behaviors on each part of the tuple.

Let's check here how this works:

tfm = AlbumentationsTransform(ShiftScaleRotate(p=1))
a,b = tfm((img, 'dog'))
show_image(a, title=b);

The transform was applied over the tuple (img, "dog"). img is a PILImage, so it applied the encodes method we wrote. "dog" is a string, so the transform did nothing to it.

Sometimes however, you need your transform to take your tuple as whole: for instance albumentations is applied simultaneously on images and segmentation masks. In this case you need to subclass ItemTransfrom instead of Transform. Let's see how this works:

cv_source = untar_data(URLs.CAMVID_TINY)
cv_items = get_image_files(cv_source/'images')
img = PILImage.create(cv_items[0])
mask = PILMask.create(cv_source/'labels'/f'{cv_items[0].stem}_P{cv_items[0].suffix}')
ax =
ax =

We then write a subclass of ItemTransform that can wrap any albumentations augmentation transform, but only for a segmentation problem:

class SegmentationAlbumentationsTransform(ItemTransform):
    def __init__(self, aug): self.aug = aug
    def encodes(self, x):
        img,mask = x
        aug = self.aug(image=np.array(img), mask=np.array(mask))
        return PILImage.create(aug["image"]), PILMask.create(aug["mask"])

And we can check how it gets applied on the tuple (img, mask). This means you can pass it as an item_tfms in any segmentation problem.

tfm = SegmentationAlbumentationsTransform(ShiftScaleRotate(p=1))
a,b = tfm((img, mask))
ax =
ax =


By using the same transforms in after_item but a different kind of targets (here segmentation masks), the targets are automatically processed as they should with the type-dispatch system.

cv_source = untar_data(URLs.CAMVID_TINY)
cv_items = get_image_files(cv_source/'images')
cv_splitter = RandomSplitter(seed=42)
cv_split = cv_splitter(cv_items)
cv_label = lambda o: cv_source/'labels'/f'{o.stem}_P{o.suffix}'
class ImageResizer(Transform):
    "Resize image to `size` using `resample`"
    def __init__(self, size, resample=Image.BILINEAR):
        if not is_listy(size): size=(size,size)
        self.size,self.resample = (size[1],size[0]),resample

    def encodes(self, o:PILImage): return o.resize(size=self.size, resample=self.resample)
    def encodes(self, o:PILMask):  return o.resize(size=self.size, resample=Image.NEAREST)
tfms = [[PILImage.create], [cv_label, PILMask.create]]
cv_dsets = Datasets(cv_items, tfms, splits=cv_split)
dls = cv_dsets.dataloaders(bs=64, after_item=[ImageResizer(128), ToTensor(), IntToFloatTensor()])

If we want to use the augmentation transform we created before, we just need to add one thing to it: we want it to be applied on the training set only, not the validation set. To do this, we specify it should only be applied on a specific idx of our splits by adding split_idx=0 (0 is for the training set, 1 for the validation set):

class SegmentationAlbumentationsTransform(ItemTransform):
    split_idx = 0
    def __init__(self, aug): self.aug = aug
    def encodes(self, x):
        img,mask = x
        aug = self.aug(image=np.array(img), mask=np.array(mask))
        return PILImage.create(aug["image"]), PILMask.create(aug["mask"])

And we can check how it gets applied on the tuple (img, mask). This means you can pass it as an item_tfms in any segmentation problem.

cv_dsets = Datasets(cv_items, tfms, splits=cv_split)
dls = cv_dsets.dataloaders(bs=64, after_item=[ImageResizer(128), ToTensor(), IntToFloatTensor(), 

Using different transform pipelines and the DataBlock API

It's very common for us to use different transforms on the training dataset versus the validation dataset. Currently our AlbumentationsTransform will perform the same transform over both, let's see if we can make it a bit more flexible with what we want.

Let's try to think of a scenario for our examle:

I want to various data augmentations such as HueSaturationValue or Flip to operate similar to how fastai will do it, where they only run on the training dataset but not the validation dataset. What do we need to do to our ALbumentationsTransform?

class AlbumentationsTransform(DisplayedTransform):
    def __init__(self, train_aug): store_attr()
    def encodes(self, img: PILImage):
        aug_img = self.train_aug(image=np.array(img))['image']
        return PILImage.create(aug_img)

Here is our newly written transform. But what changed?

We added in a split_idx, which is what determines what transforms are run on the validation set and the training set (0 for train, 1 for validation, None for both).

Along with this we set an order to 2. What this entails is if we have any fastai transforms that perform a resize operation, those are done first before our new transform. This let's us know exactly when our transform is going to be applied, and how we can work with it!

Let's look at an example with some Composed albumentations transforms:

import albumentations
def get_train_aug(): return albumentations.Compose([

We can define our ItemTransforms with Resize and our new training augmentations:

item_tfms = [Resize(224), AlbumentationsTransform(get_train_aug())]

Let's use the higher-level DataBlock API this time:

path = untar_data(URLs.PETS)/'images'

def is_cat(x): return x[0].isupper()
dls = ImageDataLoaders.from_name_func(
    path, get_image_files(path), valid_pct=0.2, seed=42,
    label_func=is_cat, item_tfms=item_tfms)

And take a peek at some data: