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Andrey Germanov
Andrey Germanov

Posted on • Updated on

How to detect objects on images using the YOLOv8 neural network

Table of Contents

Problems YOLOv8 Can Solve
Getting started with YOLOv8
How to prepare data to train the YOLOv8 model
How to train the YOLOv8 model
How to create an object detection web service
  How to create a frontend
  How to create a backend


Object detection is a computer vision task that involves identifying and locating objects in images or videos. It is an important part of many applications, such as self-driving cars, robotics, and video surveillance.

Over the years, many methods and algorithms have been developed to find objects in images and their positions. The best quality in performing these tasks comes from using convolutional neural networks.

One of the most popular neural networks for this task is YOLO, created in 2015 by Joseph Redmon, Santosh Divvala, Ross Girshick, and Ali Farhadi in their famous research paper "You Only Look Once: Unified, Real-Time Object Detection".

Since that time, there have been quite a few versions of YOLO. Recent releases can do even more than object detection. The newest release is YOLOv8, which we are going to use in this tutorial.

Here, I will show you the main features of this network for object detection. First, we will use a pre-trained model to detect common object classes like cats and dogs. Then, I will show how to train your own model to detect specific object types that you select, and how to prepare the data for this process. Finally, we will create a web application to detect objects on images right in a web browser using the custom trained model.

To follow this tutorial, you should be familiar with Python and have a basic understanding of machine learning, neural networks, and their application in object detection. You can watch this short video course to familiarize yourself with all required machine learning theory.

Once you've refreshed the theory, let's get started with the practice!

Problems YOLOv8 Can Solve

You can use the YOLOv8 network to solve classification, object detection, and image segmentation problems. All these methods detect objects in images or in videos in different ways, as you can see in the image below:

Classification Detection Segmentation

The neural network that created and trained for image classification determines a class of object on the image and returns its name and the probability of this prediction. For example, on the left image, it returned that this is a "cat" and that the confidence level of this prediction is 92% (0.92).

The neural network for object detection, in addition to the object type and probability, returns the coordinates of the object on the image: x, y, width and height, as shown on the second image. Furthermore, object detection neural networks can detect several objects on the image and their bounding boxes.

Finally, in addition to object types and bounding boxes, the neural network trained for image segmentation detects the shapes of the objects, as shown on the right image.

There are many different neural network architectures developed for these tasks, and for each of them you had to use a separate network in the past. Fortunately, things changed after the YOLO created. Now you can use a single platform for all these problems.

In this article, we will discover the object detection using YOLOv8. I will guide you how to create a web application, that will use it to detect traffic lights and road signs on the images. In the next articles I will cover other features, including image segmentation.

In the next sections we will go through all steps that required to create an object detector. By the end of reading, you will have a complete AI powered web application.

Getting started with YOLOv8

Technically speaking, The YOLOv8 is a group of convolutional neural network models, created and trained using the PyTorch framework.

In addition, the YOLOv8 package provides a single Python API to work with all of them using the same methods. That is why, to use it, you need an environment to run Python code. I highly recommend using the Jupyter Notebook.

After ensuring that you have Python and Jupyter installed on your computer, run the notebook and install the YOLOv8 package in it by running the following command:

!pip install ultralytics
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The ultralytics package has the YOLO class, that used to create neural network models.

To get access to it, import it to your Python code:

from ultralytics import YOLO
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Now everything is ready to create the neural network model:

model = YOLO("")
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As I wrote before, the YOLOv8 is a group of neural network models. These models were created and trained using the PyTorch and exported to files with the .pt extension. There are three types of models exist and 5 models of different size for each type:

Classification Detection Segmentation Kind Nano Small Medium Large Huge

The bigger model you choose, the better prediction quality you could achieve, but the slower it will work. In this tutorial I will cover object detection, that is why on the previous code snippet, I selected the "", which is a middle-sized model for object detection.

When you run this code for the first time, it will download the file from the Ultralytics server to the current folder and then, will construct the model object. Now you can train this model, detect objects and export to use in production. For all these tasks, it has convenient methods:

All YOLOv8 models for object detection shipped already pretrained on the COCO dataset, which is a huge collection of images of 80 types. So, if you do not have specific needs, then you can just run it as is, without additional training. For example, you can download this image as "cat_dog.jpg":

Image description

and run predict to detect all objects on it:

results = model.predict("cat_dog.jpg")
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The predict method accepts many different input types, including a path to a single image, an array of paths to images, the Image object of the well-known PIL Python library and others.

After run the input through the model, it returns an array of results for each input image. As we provided only a single image, it returns an array with a single item, that you can extract this way:

result = results[0]
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The result contains detected objects and convenient properties to work with them. The most important one is the boxes array with information about detected bounding boxes on the image. You can determine how many objects detected, by running the len function:

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When I ran this, I got "2", which means that there are two boxes detected, perhaps one for the dog and one for the cat.

Then, you can analyze each box either in a loop, or manually. Let's get the first one:

box = result.boxes[0]
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The box object contains the properties of the bounding box, including:

  • xyxy - the coordinates of the box as an array [x1,y1,x2,y2]
  • cls - the ID of object type
  • conf - the confidence level of the model about this object. If it's very low, like < 0.5, then you can just ignore the box.

Let's print information about the detected box:

print("Object type:", box.cls)
print("Coordinates:", box.xyxy)
print("Probability:", box.conf)
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For the first box, you will receive the following information:

Object type: tensor([16.])
Coordinates: tensor([[261.1901,  94.3429, 460.5649, 312.9910]])
Probability: tensor([0.9528])
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As written above, the YOLOv8 contains PyTorch models. The outputs from PyTorch models encoded as an array of PyTorch Tensor objects, so you need to extract the first item from each of these arrays:

print("Object type:",box.cls[0])
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Object type: tensor(16.)
Coordinates: tensor([261.1901,  94.3429, 460.5649, 312.9910])
Probability: tensor(0.9528)
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Now you see the data as Tensor objects. To unpack actual values from Tensor, you need to use .tolist() method for tensor with array inside and .item() method for tensors with scalar values. Let's extract the data to appropriate variables:

cords = box.xyxy[0].tolist()
class_id = box.cls[0].item()
conf = box.conf[0].item()
print("Object type:", class_id)
print("Coordinates:", cords)
print("Probability:", conf)
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Object type: 16.0
Coordinates: [261.1900634765625, 94.3428955078125, 460.5649108886719, 312.9909973144531]
Probability: 0.9528293609619141
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Now you see the actual data. The coordinates can be rounded, the probability also can be rounded to two digits after the dot.

The object type is 16 here. What does it mean? Let's talk more about that. All objects, that the neural network can detect, have numeric IDs. In case of YOLOv8 pretrained model, there are 80 object types with IDs from 0 to 79. The COCO object classes are well known and can be easily googled on the Internet. In addition, the YOLOv8 result object contains the convenient names property to get these classes:

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{0: 'person',
 1: 'bicycle',
 2: 'car',
 3: 'motorcycle',
 4: 'airplane',
 5: 'bus',
 6: 'train',
 7: 'truck',
 8: 'boat',
 9: 'traffic light',
 10: 'fire hydrant',
 11: 'stop sign',
 12: 'parking meter',
 13: 'bench',
 14: 'bird',
 15: 'cat',
 16: 'dog',
 17: 'horse',
 18: 'sheep',
 19: 'cow',
 20: 'elephant',
 21: 'bear',
 22: 'zebra',
 23: 'giraffe',
 24: 'backpack',
 25: 'umbrella',
 26: 'handbag',
 27: 'tie',
 28: 'suitcase',
 29: 'frisbee',
 30: 'skis',
 31: 'snowboard',
 32: 'sports ball',
 33: 'kite',
 34: 'baseball bat',
 35: 'baseball glove',
 36: 'skateboard',
 37: 'surfboard',
 38: 'tennis racket',
 39: 'bottle',
 40: 'wine glass',
 41: 'cup',
 42: 'fork',
 43: 'knife',
 44: 'spoon',
 45: 'bowl',
 46: 'banana',
 47: 'apple',
 48: 'sandwich',
 49: 'orange',
 50: 'broccoli',
 51: 'carrot',
 52: 'hot dog',
 53: 'pizza',
 54: 'donut',
 55: 'cake',
 56: 'chair',
 57: 'couch',
 58: 'potted plant',
 59: 'bed',
 60: 'dining table',
 61: 'toilet',
 62: 'tv',
 63: 'laptop',
 64: 'mouse',
 65: 'remote',
 66: 'keyboard',
 67: 'cell phone',
 68: 'microwave',
 69: 'oven',
 70: 'toaster',
 71: 'sink',
 72: 'refrigerator',
 73: 'book',
 74: 'clock',
 75: 'vase',
 76: 'scissors',
 77: 'teddy bear',
 78: 'hair drier',
 79: 'toothbrush'}
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Here is it: everything that this model can detect. Now you can find that 16 is "dog", so, this bounding box is the bounding box for detected DOG. Let's modify the output to show results in a more representative way:

cords = box.xyxy[0].tolist()
cords = [round(x) for x in cords]
class_id = result.names[box.cls[0].item()]
conf = round(box.conf[0].item(), 2)
print("Object type:", class_id)
print("Coordinates:", cords)
print("Probability:", conf)
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In this code I rounded all coordinates using the Python list comprehensions, then, I got the name of detected object class by ID, using the result.names dictionary and also rounded the confidence. Finally, you should get the following output:

Object type: dog
Coordinates: [261, 94, 461, 313]
Probability: 0.95
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This data is good enough to show in the user interface. Let's now write a code to get this information for all detected boxes in a loop:

for box in result.boxes:
  class_id = result.names[box.cls[0].item()]
  cords = box.xyxy[0].tolist()
  cords = [round(x) for x in cords]
  conf = round(box.conf[0].item(), 2)
  print("Object type:", class_id)
  print("Coordinates:", cords)
  print("Probability:", conf)
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This code will do the same for each box and will output the following:

Object type: dog
Coordinates: [261, 94, 461, 313]
Probability: 0.95
Object type: cat
Coordinates: [140, 170, 256, 316]
Probability: 0.92
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This way you can play with other images and see everything, that COCO-trained model can detect on them.

Also, if you like, you can rewrite the same code in a functional style, using list comprehensions:

def print_box(box):
    class_id, cords, conf = box
    print("Object type:", class_id)
    print("Coordinates:", cords)
    print("Probability:", conf)

        [round(x) for x in box.xyxy[0].tolist()],
        round(box.conf[0].item(), 2)
    ]) for box in result.boxes
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This video shows the whole coding session of this chapter in Jupyter Notebook, assuming that it's installed.

Using the models pretrained on well-known objects is ok to start, but in practice, you may need a solution to detect specific objects for a concrete business problem.

For example, someone may need to detect specific products on supermarket shelves or discover brain tumors on x-rays. It's highly likely that this information is not available in public datasets, and there are no free models that know about everything.

So, you have to teach your own model to detect these types of objects. To do that, you need to create a database of annotated images for your problem and train the model on these images.

How to prepare data to train the YOLOv8 model

To train the model, you need to prepare annotated images and split them to training and validation datasets. The training set will be used to teach the model and the validation set will be used to test the results of this study, to measure the quality of the trained model. You can put 80% of images to the training set and 20% to the validation set.

These are the steps that you need to follow to create each of the datasets:

  1. Decide and encode classes of objects you want to teach your model to detect. For example, if you want to detect only cats and dogs, then you can state that "0" is cat and "1" is dog.

  2. Create a folder for your dataset and two subfolders in it: "images" and "labels".

  3. Put the images to the "images" subfolder. The more images you collect, the better for training.

  4. For each image, create an annotation text file in the "labels" subfolder. Annotation text files should have the same names as image files and the ".txt" extensions. In annotation file you should add records about each object, that exist on the appropriate image in the following format:

{object_class_id} {x_center} {y_center} {width} {height}
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Image description

Actually, this is the most time-consuming manual work in a machine learning process: to measure bounding boxes for all objects and add them to annotation files. Moreover, coordinates should be normalized to fit in a range from 0 to 1. To calculate them, you need to use the following formulas:

x_center = (box_x_left+box_x_width/2)/image_width
y_center = (box_y_top+box_height/2)/image_height
width = box_width/image_width
height = box_height/image_height

For example, if you want to add the "cat_dog.jpg" image that we used before to the dataset, you need to copy it to the "images" folder and then measure and collect the following data about the image, and it's bounding boxes:


image_width = 612
image_height = 415


Dog Cat

Then, create the "cat_dog.txt" file in the "labels" folder and, using the formulas above, calculate the coordinates:

Dog (class id=1):

x_center = (261+200/2)/612 = 0.589869281
y_center = (94+219/2)/415 = 0.490361446
width = 200/612 = 0.326797386
height = 219/415 = 0.527710843

Cat (class id=0)

x_center = (140+116/2)/612 = 0.323529412
y_center = (170+146/2)/415 = 0.585542169
width = 116/612 = 0.189542484
height = 146/415 = 0.351807229

and add the following lines to the file:

1 0.589869281 0.490361446 0.326797386 0.527710843
0 0.323529412 0.585542169 0.189542484 0.351807229
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The first line contains a bounding box for the dog (class id=1), the second line contains a bounding box for the cat (class id=0). Of course, you can have the image with many dogs and many cats at the same time, and you can add bounding boxes for all of them.

After adding and annotating all images, the dataset is ready. You need to create two datasets and place them in different folders. The final folder structure can look like this:

Image description

Here the training dataset located in the "train" folder and the validation dataset located in the "val" folder.

Finally, you need to create a dataset descriptor YAML-file, that points to created datasets and describes the object classes in them. This is a sample of this file for the data, created above:

train: ../train/images
val: ../val/images

nc: 2
names: ['cat','dog']
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In the first two lines, you need to specify paths to the images of the training and the validation datasets. The paths can be either relative to the current folder or absolute. Then, the nc line specifies the number of classes that exist in these datasets and the names is an array of class names in correct order. Indexes of these items are numbers that you used when annotated the images, and these indexes will be returned by the model when detect objects using the predict method. So, if you used "0" for cats, then it should be the first item in the names array.

This YAML file should be passed to the train method of the model to start a training process.

To make this process easier, there are a lot of programs exist to visually annotate images for machine learning. You can ask a search engine something like "software to annotate images for machine learning" to get a list of them. There are also many online tools that can do all this work. One of the great online tools for this is the Roboflow Annotate. Using this service, you just need to upload your images, draw bounding boxes on them, and set class for each bounding box. Then, the tool will automatically create annotation files, split your data to train and validation datasets, will create a YAML descriptor file, and then you can export and download the annotated data as a ZIP file.

In the next video, I show how to use the Roboflow to create the "cats and dogs" micro-dataset.

For real life problems, that database should be much bigger. To train a good model, you should have hundreds or thousands of annotated images.

Also, when prepare images database, try to make it balanced. It should have equal number of objects of each class, e.g. equal number of dogs and cats. Otherwise, the model trained on it could predict one class better than another.

After the data is ready, copy it to the folder with your Python code, that you will use for training and return back to your Jupyter Notebook to start the training process.

How to train the YOLOv8 model

After the data is ready, you need to pass it through the model. To make it more interesting, we will not use this small "cats and dogs" dataset. We will use other custom dataset for training. It contains traffic lights and road signs. This is free dataset that I got from the Roboflow Universe: Press "Download Dataset" and select the "YOLOv8" as a format.

If it will not available on the Roboflow when you read these lines, then you can get it from my Google Drive. This dataset can be used to teach the YOLOv8 to detect different objects on the roads, like displayed on the next screenshot.

Image description

You can open the downloaded zip file and ensure that it structured using the rules, described above. You can find the dataset descriptor file data.yaml in the archive as well.

If you downloaded the archive from the Roboflow, it will contain the additional "test" dataset, which is not used by the training process. You can use the images from it for additional testing on your own after training.

Extract the archive to the folder with your Python code and execute the train method to start a training loop:

model.train(data="data.yaml", epochs=30)
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The data is the only required option. You have to pass the YAML descriptor file to it. The epochs option specifies the number of training cycles (100 by default). There are other options, that can affect the process and quality of trained model.

Each training cycle consists of two phases: training phase and validation phase.

On the training phase, the train method does the following:

  • Extracts the random batch of images from the training dataset (the number of images in the batch can be specified using the batch option).
  • Passes these images through the model and receives the resulting bounding boxes of all detected objects and their classes.
  • Passes the result to the loss function, that used to compare the received output with correct result from annotation files for these images. The loss function calculates the amount of error.
  • The result of loss function passed to the optimizer to adjust the model weights based on the amount of error in correct direction to reduce the error in the next cycle. By default, the SGD (Stochastic Gradient Descent) optimizer used, but you can try others, like Adam to see the difference.

On the validation phase, the train does the following:

  • Extracts the images from the validation dataset.
  • Passes them through the model and receives the detected bounding boxes for these images.
  • Compares the received result with true values for these images from annotation text files.
  • Calculates the precision of the model based on the difference between actual and expected results.

The progress and results of each phase for each epoch displayed on the screen. This way you can see how the model learns and improves from epoch to epoch.

When you run the train code, you will see the similar output during the training loop:

Image description

For each epoch it shows summary for both training and validation phases: the lines 1 and 2 show results of training phase and the lines 3 and 4 shows results of validation phase for each epoch.

The training phase includes calculation of the amount of error in a loss function, so, the most valuable metrics here are box_loss and cls_loss.

  • box_loss shows the amount of error in detected bounding boxes.
  • cls_loss shows the amount of error in detected object classes.

Why the loss split to several metrics? Because the model could correctly detect the bounding box around the object, but incorrectly detect the object class in this box. For example, in my practice, it detected the dog as a horse, but the dimensions of the object were detected correctly.

If the model really learns something from data, then you should see that these values decrease from epoch to epoch. On previous screenshot the box_loss decreases: 0.7751,0.7473,0.742 and the cls_loss decreases too: 0.702,0.6422,0.6211.

On the validation phase, it calculates the quality of the model after training using the images from the validation dataset. The most valuable quality metric is mAP50-95, which is a Mean Average Precision. If the model learns and improves, the precision should grow from epoch to epoch. On previous screenshot it slowly grows: 0.788, 0.788, 0.791.

If after the last epoch you did not get acceptable precision, you can increase the number of epochs and run the training again. Also, you can tune other parameters like batch, lr0, lrf or change used optimizer. There are no clear rules what to do here, but there are a lot of recommendations to write a book about this. But in a few words, need to experiment and compare results.

In addition to these metrics, the train writes a lot of statistics during its work on disk. When training starts, it creates the runs/detect/train subfolder in the current folder and after each epoch it logs different log files to it.

Furthermore, it exports the trained model after each epoch to the /runs/detect/train/weights/ file and the model with the highest precision to the /runs/detect/train/weights/ file. So, after training finished, you can get the file to use in production.

Watch this video to see how the training process works. I used the Google Colab which is a cloud version of Jupyter Notebook to get access to hardware with more powerful GPU to speed up the training process. The video shows how to train the model on 5 epochs and download the final model. In real world problems, you need to run much more epochs and be prepared to wait hours or maybe days until training finishes.

After it finished, it's time to run the trained model in production. In the next section, we will create a web service to detect objects on images online in a web browser.

How to create an object detection web service

This is a moment when we finish experiments with the model in the Jupyter Notebook. Next code you need to write as a separate project, using any Python IDE, like VS Code or PyCharm💚.

The web service that we are going to create will have a web page with a file input field and an HTML5 canvas element. When the user selects an image file using the input field, the interface will send it to the backend. Then, the backend will pass the image through the model that we created and trained and return the array of detected bounding boxes to the web page. When receive this, the frontend will draw the image on the canvas element and the detected bounding boxes on top of it. The service will look and work as demonstrated on this video:

On the video, I used the model trained on 30 epochs, and it still does not detect some traffic lights. You can try to train it more to get better results. However, the best way to improve the quality of machine learning is adding more and more data. So, as an additional practice, you can import the dataset folder to the Roboflow, then add and annotate more images to it and then use the updated data to continue training the model.

How to create a frontend

To start with, create a folder for a new Python project and the index.html file in it for the frontend web page. Here is a content of this file

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <title>YOLOv8 Object Detection</title>
        canvas {
            border: 1px solid black;
    <input id="uploadInput" type="file"/>
       * "Upload" button onClick handler: uploads selected 
       * image file to backend, receives an array of
       * detected objects and draws them on top of image
       const input = document.getElementById("uploadInput");
       input.addEventListener("change",async(event) => {
           const file =[0];
           const data = new FormData();
           const response = await fetch("/detect",{
           const boxes = await response.json();

       * Function draws the image from provided file
       * and bounding boxes of detected objects on
       * top of the image
       * @param file Uploaded file object
       * @param boxes Array of bounding boxes in format
       function draw_image_and_boxes(file,boxes) {
          const img = new Image()
          img.src = URL.createObjectURL(file);
          img.onload = () => {
              const canvas = document.querySelector("canvas");
              canvas.width = img.width;
              canvas.height = img.height;
              const ctx = canvas.getContext("2d");
              ctx.strokeStyle = "#00FF00";
              ctx.lineWidth = 3;
              ctx.font = "18px serif";
              boxes.forEach(([x1,y1,x2,y2,label]) => {
                  ctx.fillStyle = "#00ff00";
                  const width = ctx.measureText(label).width;
                  ctx.fillStyle = "#000000";
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The HTML part is very tiny and consists only from the file input field with "uploadInput" ID and the canvas element below it. Then, in the Javascript part, we define an "onChange" event handler for the input field. When the user selects an image file, the handler uses the fetch to make a POST request to the /detect backend endpoint (which we will create later) and send this image file to it.

The backend should detect objects on this image and return a response with a boxes array as a JSON. This response then decoded and passed to the "draw_image_and_boxes" function along with an image file itself.

The "draw_image_and_boxes" function loads the image from file and as soon as it loaded, draws it on canvas. Then, it draws each bounding box with class label on top of the canvas with the image.

So, now let's create a backend with /detect endpoint for it.

How to create a backend

We will create backend using Flask. The Flask has its own internal web server, but as stated by the Flask developers, it's not enough reliable for production, so we will use the Waitress web server to run the Flask app in it.

Also, we will use a Pillow library to read an uploaded binary file as an image. Ensure that all packages installed to your system before continue:

pip3 install flask
pip3 install waitress
pip3 install pillow
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The backend will be in a single file. Let's name it

from ultralytics import YOLO
from flask import request, Flask, jsonify
from waitress import serve
from PIL import Image
import json

app = Flask(__name__)

def root():
    Site main page handler function.
    :return: Content of index.html file
    with open("index.html") as file:

@app.route("/detect", methods=["POST"])
def detect():
        Handler of /detect POST endpoint
        Receives uploaded file with a name "image_file", 
        passes it through YOLOv8 object detection 
        network and returns an array of bounding boxes.
        :return: a JSON array of objects bounding 
        boxes in format 
    buf = request.files["image_file"]
    boxes = detect_objects_on_image(
    return jsonify(boxes)    

def detect_objects_on_image(buf):
    Function receives an image,
    passes it through YOLOv8 neural network
    and returns an array of detected objects
    and their bounding boxes
    :param buf: Input image file stream
    :return: Array of bounding boxes in format 
    model = YOLO("")
    results = model.predict(buf)
    result = results[0]
    output = []
    for box in result.boxes:
        x1, y1, x2, y2 = [
          round(x) for x in box.xyxy[0].tolist()
        class_id = box.cls[0].item()
        prob = round(box.conf[0].item(), 2)
          x1, y1, x2, y2, result.names[class_id], prob
    return output

serve(app, host='', port=8080)
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First, we import the required libraries:

  • ultralytics for the YOLOv8 model.
  • flask to create a Flask web application, to receive requests from frontend and to send responses back to it. Also, jsonify imported to convert result to JSON.
  • waitress to run a web server and serve the Flask web app in it.
  • PIL to load an uploaded file as an Image object, that required for YOLOv8.

Then, we define two routes:

  • / that serves as a root of web service. It just returns a content of the "index.html" file.
  • /detect that responds to an image upload requests from frontend. It converts the RAW file to the Pillow Image object, then, passes this image to the detect_objects_on_image function.

The detect_objects_on_image function creates a model object, based on the model, that we trained in the previous section. Ensure that this file exists in the folder, where you write the code.

Then it calls the predict method for the image. The predict returns the detected bounding boxes. Then for each box it extracts the coordinates, class name and probability in a way, as we did in the beginning of the tutorial, and adds this info to the output array. Finally, the function returns the array of detected object coordinates and their classes.

After this, the array encoded to JSON and returned to the frontend.

Finally, the last line of code starts the web server on port 8080, that serves the app Flask application.

To run the service, execute the following command:

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If the code written without mistakes and all dependencies installed, you can open http:///localhost:8080 in a web browser. It should show the index.html page. When you select any image file, it will process it and display bounding boxes around all detected objects (or just display the image if nothing detected on it).

The web service we just created is universal. You can use it with any YOLOv8 model. Now it detects traffic lights and road signs, using the model we created. However, you can change it to use other model, like the model used earlier to detect cats, dogs and other object classes, that pretrained YOLOv8 models can detect.


In this tutorial, I guided you thought a process of creating an AI powered web application that uses the YOLOv8 - the state-of-the-art convolutional neural network for object detection. We covered such steps as creating models, using the pretrained models, prepare the data to train custom models and finally created a web application with frontend and backend, that uses the custom trained YOLOv8 model to detect traffic lights and road signs.

You can find a source code of this app in this GitHub repository:

For all the job, we used the Ultralytics high level APIs, provided with YOLOv8 package by default. These APIs are based on the PyTorch framework, that used to create the bigger part of neural networks today. It's quite convenient on the one hand, but dependence on these high level APIs has a negative effect as well. If you need to run this web app in production, you should install all this environment there, including Python, PyTorch and many other dependencies. To run this on a clean new server, you'll need to download and install more than 1 GB of third party libraries!! This is definitely not a way to go. Also, what if you do not have Python in your production environment? What if all your other code written on other programming language, and you do not plan to use Python? Or what if you want to run the model on mobile phone on Android or iOS?

Using Ultralytics packages is great for experimenting, training and preparing the models for production. However, in production itself, you should get rid of these high-level APIs. You have to load and use the model directly. To do this, you need to understand how the YOLOv8 neural network works under the hood and write more code to provide input to the model and to process the output from it. As a reward, you will get an opportunity to make your apps tiny and fast, you will not need to have PyTorch installed to run them. Furthermore, you will be able to run your models even without Python, using many other programming languages, including Julia, C++, Node.js on backend, or even without backend at all. You can run the YOLOv8 models right in a browser, using only JavaScript on frontend. Want to know how? This will be in the next article of my YOLOv8 series. Follow me to know first when it published.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to know first about new articles like this one and other software development news.

Have a fun coding and never stop learning!

Top comments (3)

sirmike profile image
Olaoyo Michael

Hi sir, thank you for this great Tutorial.

I have a question sir. The thing is, I am following this steps to create a Road sign detevtion model and I am stucked.

I have my Directory( Unzipped Dataset), and the folders in the directory are Image and Yolo format(.txt format). The thing is, how do I create a train, test and validation from my Image folder and the Annotation Folders?
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andreygermanov profile image
Andrey Germanov • Edited

Hi, thank you for your interest!

Where did you download the road-signs dataset? From Roboflow?
If yes, then, did you select "YOLOv8" format when downloaded it?

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If yes, then the downloaded archive should contain "train" and "valid" folders, and the "data.yaml" file, as showed on the next screenshot:

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Then, to start training, you need to specify the data.yaml file in the train() method of the model.

But, if you have other data (not in YOLOv8 format), then you need to transform the folder structure to the YOLOv8 format, e.g. make it the same as the folder structure on the previous screenshot, by following the "How to prepare data to train the YOLOv8 model" section of the tutorial.

jcyber2017 profile image
Juan C Rodriguez Salas

Hi Andrey, can you give us a good percentage of images to use in each folder:

  • train folder
  • valid folder
  • test folder