End-to-End Diffusion Latent Optimization Improves Classifier Guidance

2023 IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)(2023)

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Classifier guidance -- using the gradients of an image classifier to steer the generations of a diffusion model -- has the potential to dramatically expand the creative control over image generation and editing. However, currently classifier guidance requires either training new noise-aware models to obtain accurate gradients or using a one-step denoising approximation of the final generation, which leads to misaligned gradients and sub-optimal control. We highlight this approximation's shortcomings and propose a novel guidance method: Direct Optimization of Diffusion Latents (DOODL), which enables plug-and-play guidance by optimizing diffusion latents w.r.t. the gradients of a pre-trained classifier on the true generated pixels, using an invertible diffusion process to achieve memory-efficient backpropagation. Showcasing the potential of more precise guidance, DOODL outperforms one-step classifier guidance on computational and human evaluation metrics across different forms of guidance: using CLIP guidance to improve generations of complex prompts from DrawBench, using fine-grained visual classifiers to expand the vocabulary of Stable Diffusion, enabling image-conditioned generation with a CLIP visual encoder, and improving image aesthetics using an aesthetic scoring network.
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