Active contours with selective local or global segmentation: A new formulation and level set method

Kaihua Zhang, Lei Zhang, Huihui Song, Wengang Zhou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

717 Citations (Scopus)


A novel region-based active contour model (ACM) is proposed in this paper. It is implemented with a special processing named Selective Binary and Gaussian Filtering Regularized Level Set (SBGFRLS) method, which first selectively penalizes the level set function to be binary, and then uses a Gaussian smoothing kernel to regularize it. The advantages of our method are as follows. First, a new region-based signed pressure force (SPF) function is proposed, which can efficiently stop the contours at weak or blurred edges. Second, the exterior and interior boundaries can be automatically detected with the initial contour being anywhere in the image. Third, the proposed ACM with SBGFRLS has the property of selective local or global segmentation. It can segment not only the desired object but also the other objects. Fourth, the level set function can be easily initialized with a binary function, which is more efficient to construct than the widely used signed distance function (SDF). The computational cost for traditional re-initialization can also be reduced. Finally, the proposed algorithm can be efficiently implemented by the simple finite difference scheme. Experiments on synthetic and real images demonstrate the advantages of the proposed method over geodesic active contours (GAC) and Chan-Vese (C-V) active contours in terms of both efficiency and accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-676
Number of pages9
JournalImage and Vision Computing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Active contours
  • Chan-Vese model
  • Geodesic active contours
  • Image segmentation
  • Level set method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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