Progressive normalizing flow with learnable spectrum transform for style transfer

Zixuan He, Guoheng Huang, Xiaochen Yuan, Guo Zhong, Chi Man Pun, Yiwen Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most current style transfer models are designed as encoder–decoder structures. Some encoding operations, such as downsampling and pooling, cause a loss of image details. If the encoder and decoder are not compatible, it can also introduce distortion. Reversible neural networks have demonstrated their superior power in lossless projection. However, since the inputs and outputs of neural flows are holistic features, merely the high-level features can be utilized for image generation through reverse inference. These high-level features emphasize the image style more, leading to the generated results easily losing content details and producing abstract colors. To address the above issues, we propose LSTFlow, the first progressive reversible neural network capable of feature decomposition. First, LSTFlow incorporates our proposed reversible Learnable Spectrum Transform (LST), which can dynamically decompose the feature into feature spectrum and recover them losslessly. LSTFlow can retain more details by enabling multi-level features to be fused in backward inference. Second, we propose a Progressive Flow Stylization Strategy (PFSS) to balance the model's emphasis between content and style and enhance the color perception. Forward inference based PFSS is carried out progressively, while the backward inference focuses on progressive generation. To demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed method, we conducted comparative experiments with seven other state-of-the-art algorithms. The stylized effects are evaluated in terms of visual effects and quantitative indicators. The experiments show that the lightest LSTFlow performs the best in SSIM, Color Entropy, Color Uniformity and FID indicators and outperforms state-of-the-art methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111277
JournalKnowledge-Based Systems
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2024


  • Feature decomposition
  • Feature spectrum
  • Neural flow
  • Progressive stylization
  • Reversible neural network
  • Style transfer


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