Monday, February 20, 2017

Visualizing Model Structures in Keras

Update 3/May/2017: The steps mentioned in this post need to be slightly changed with the updates in Keras v2.*. Please check the updated guide here: Visualizing Keras Models - Updated.

Have you ever wanted to visualize the structure of a Keras model? When you have a complex model, sometimes it's easy to wrap your head around it if you can see a visual representation of it. What if there's a way to automatically build such a visual representation of a model?

Well, there is a way. Keras has a model visualization function, that can plot out the structure of a model. It would look something like this,

The visualization of the LeNet model
The visualization of the LeNet model

Above is the visualization of the LeNet model, which is defined in code as follows,
 # initialize the model  
 model = Sequential()  
 # first set of CONV => RELU => POOL  
 model.add(Convolution2D(20, 5, 5, border_mode="same",  
     input_shape=(height, width, depth)))  
 model.add(MaxPooling2D(pool_size=(2, 2), strides=(2, 2)))  
 # second set of CONV => RELU => POOL  
 model.add(Convolution2D(50, 5, 5, border_mode="same"))  
 model.add(MaxPooling2D(pool_size=(2, 2), strides=(2, 2)))  
 # set of FC => RELU layers  
 # softmax classifier  

The documentation page of the Keras Visualizer states that you just need 2 lines of code to plot a model,
 from keras.utils.visualize_util import plot  
 plot(model, to_file='model.png')  

Sounds easy right? But, as soon as you try to run, you learn that you need to setup few dependencies in order for it to run. Basically, you need to,
  1. Install graphviz Python package, and the graphviz binaries added to the PATH.
  2. Install pydot Python package
  3. Fix a bug in the Visualization module in Keras

The graphviz conda package only contains the binaries, and not the Python bindings. The pip package for graphviz only has the Python bindings and not the binaries. So, we need to install both.
First, install conda package,
 conda install graphviz  

This places the graphviz binary files in to the <path to anaconda environment>\Library\bin\graphviz\ directory. So, you need to add it to the system PATH.
Then, we install the graphviz pip package,
 pip install graphviz  

Then, we install pydot from pip,
 pip install pydot  

Then, we need to do an edit in the Keras Visualization module. There is a bug in that code, which doesn't work with the latest version of pydot.
Open the <path to anaconda environment>\lib\site-packages\keras\utils\ file, and comment out the following block,
 #if not pydot.find_graphviz():  
 #  raise ImportError('Failed to import pydot. You must install pydot'  
 #           ' and graphviz for `pydotprint` to work.')  

The pydot.find_graphviz() function does not exist in the latest version of pydot.

After these steps are done, you should be able to import the visualize_util and run the plot function to generate the visualization.

Try fiddling with the show_shapes and show_layer_names parameters in the plot function to see how it changes the generated graph.

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  1. Thanks for the neatly explained article. I had to do a few more steps though.

    The additional steps are as below:

    I installed graphviz from here and added C:\Program Files (x86)\Graphviz2.38\bin to PATH

    Next I did:

    conda install pydot-ng

    And finally in my notebook I added the two lines below.

    import os
    os.environ["PATH"] += os.pathsep + 'C:/Program Files (x86)/Graphviz2.38/bin/'

    1. Nice!
      I was never able to get the 'pydot-ng' package to work, which is why I used the 'pydot' package instead.
      Thanks for showing how to get it to work :)

    2. I went to but the page cannot be found :'(

    3. Looks like the Graphviz website got updated. Here's the updated link to the page:

  2. But the graph I generated doesn't have the input and output shapes for each layer. Do you have any idea why is this so? I am not able to add the picture here.

    1. Ah! I see that I've missed it in the code I've posted.

      You ca use the show_shapes parameter of the plot function to enable that. Like this:
      plot(model, to_file='model.png', show_shapes=True)

      There's another parameter, 'show_layer_names' which by default is set to 'true'. You can set it to 'false' if you don't want the layer names in the output.

  3. Hi I receive an error as 'TypeError: argument of type 'bool' is not utterable'

    Thanks for your time in advance.

    1. Hi,
      it looks like both Keras and Theano has changed the visualization functions in the latest versions.
      I'm working on updating the tutorial for the latest changes. Will have it up soon.

  4. No working still the same error :(

  5. Is there an option to visualize the individual nodes and connections instead of just layers as boxes?

  6. Thank you, this was really helpful