Reference based face super-resolution

Zhi Song Liu, Wan Chi Siu, Yui Lam Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the great progress of image super-resolution in recent years, face super-resolution has still much room to explore good visual quality while preserving original facial attributes for larger up-scaling factors. This paper investigates a new research direction in face super-resolution, called Reference based face Super-Resolution (RefSR), in which a reference facial image containing genuine attributes is provided in addition to the low-resolution images for super-resolution. We focus on transferring the key information extracted from reference facial images to the super-resolution process to guarantee the content similarity between the reference and super-resolution image. We propose a novel Conditional Variational AutoEncoder model for this Reference based Face Super-Resolution (RefSR-VAE). By using the encoder to map the reference image to the joint latent space, we can then use the decoder to sample the encoder results to super-resolve low-resolution facial images to generate super-resolution images with good visual quality. We create a benchmark dataset on reference based face super-resolution (RefSR-Face) for general research use, which contains reference images paired with low-resolution images of various pose, emotions, ages and appearance. Both objective and subjective evaluations were conducted, which demonstrate the great potential of using reference images for face super-resolution. By comparing it with state-of-the-art super-resolution approaches, our proposed approach also achieves superior performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8792098
Pages (from-to)129112-129126
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • deep feature extraction
  • Face super-resolution
  • style transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Reference based face super-resolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this