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Hegadi 1, Adithya Kumar Pediredla 2, and Chandra Sekha r Seelamantula 3 1 School of Computational Sciences, Solapur University, Solap ur - 413 255, India 2,3Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Ba ngalore - 560 012, India Emails: ravindrahegadi@rediffmail.com, adithya.ssa.iisc@gmail.com, chand ra.sekhar@ieee.org ABSTRACT as snake energies and the snake outlining is formulated as inimization problem. Some early contributions in active Medical image segmentation nds application in computercon tour design date back to the work of Kass et al. [1]. Some aided diagnosis, computer-guided surgery, measuring tissue imp ortant recent developments in snakes are the gradient vecvolumes, locating tumors, and pathologies. One approach tor ow (GVF), which drives a pixel-based snake [3, 4]; the to segmentation is to use active contours or snakes. Active par ametric B-spline snake formulation of Jacob et al. [5], and contours start from an initialization (often manually specitem plate-speci c snakes [68]. ed) and are guided by image-dependent forces to the obWe pursue active contour optimization along the lines of ject boundary. Snakes may also be guided by gradient vecthe GVF concept of Xu and Prince. tor elds associated with an image. GVF is a dense vector The rst main result in eld derived by minimizing a certain energy functional in a this direction is that of Xu and Prince, who proposed the novar iational framework. The minimization is accomplished by tion of gradient vector ow (GVF), which is computed iterite ratively solving a pair of decoupled linear partial differenatively. We propose a new formalism to compute the vector tia l equations that diffuses the gradient vectors of a gray-level ow based on the notion of bilateral ltering of the gradient ima ge or a binary edge map computed from an image. The eld associated with the edge map we refer to it as the GVF provides local gradient information to the active conbilateral vector ow (BVF). The range kernel de nition that to a m

tou r and drives the evolution process suitably. The method we employ is different from the one employed in the standard req uires that the initialization be provided close to the desired Gaussian bilateral lter. The advantage of the BVF formalcon tour so that the snake can navigate properly in the vector ism is that smooth gradient vector ow elds with enhanced ow. The GVF has the ability to guide a snake into boundary edge information can be computed noniteratively. The quality con cavities despite initializing inside, outside, or even across of image segmentation turned out to be on par with that obthe object boundary. The standard GVF implementation is tained using the GVF and in some cases better than the GVF. com putationally expensive. Han et al. [9] proposed a numerIndex Terms Bilateral lter, Active contour, Snake, gorithm based on a multigrid method to speed up the Gradient vector ow (GVF), Bilateral vector ow (BVF). putations. Recently Li et al. [10] proposed a fast orithm for computing GVF. They posed GVF computation 1. INTRODUCTION a convex optimization problem with an equality constraint solved it using an inexact augmented Lagrangian method. Active contours may be broadly classi ed into two types: n this paper, we propose a non-iterative vector ow conparametric active contours [1] and geometric active conuction by applying a bilateral lter to the gradient vector tours [2]. Parametric active contours are de ned over the sociated with an image edge map. Bilateral lters were image domain and move under the in uence of two types of troduced by Tomasi and Manduchi [11] and are nonlinforces: internal force de ned within the contour and external edge-preserving smoothing lters. Contrary to classical force computed from the image data. The internal force enear lters that perform smoothing using spatially-invariant sures smoothness of the contour during deformation and the nels de ned on the image domain (domain kernel), bilatexternal force pulls the contour points towards the location l lters employ an additional kernel called the range kernel with high image gradients (edges). These forces are referred t acts on the intensities associated with the pixels of interical al GVF com alg as and I str eld as rst in ear, lin ker era tha

est . Typically, both domain and range kernels are chosen as R. S. Hegadi would like to thank the Indian Academy of Sciences for the Gau ssian functions. The bilateral lter restricts the smoothing fellowship opportunity at the Indian Institute of Science, where this work was pro cess to photometrically similar regions. Bilateral lters carried out. This work is partly supported by the Department of Science and Technology (Government of India) Intensive Research in High-Priority have been shown to emerge from a Bayesian setting [12] Areas (IRHPA) grant.

978-1-4673-2533-2/12/$26.00 2012 IEEE ICIP 2012 ----------------------- Page 2-----------------------


using a suitably de ned penalty function. Direct implemenof the Gaus sian and then computing the gradients along x and tation of the bilateral lters is computationally intensive as y. The vect or ow concept also implicitly leads to the notion the nonlinear ltering process cannot be accelerated using of a basin of attraction as the area around an object of interest fast Fourier transform algorithms. However, thanks to some that attr acts the snake towards its boundary. Choosing gradiingenious recent developments, accurate approximations of ent map a s the vector eld typically results in a small basin of the bilateral lter can now be implemented using fast algoattraction around the boundary. rithms [13, 14]. The basic idea in BVF construction is to smooth the 2.1. GVF approach horizontal and vertical gradients using the bilateral lter. The resulting smoothed eld highlights edge information Xu and Prin ce [3] proposed to obtain the vector eld v (x, y) = and suppresses the effect of noise in smooth regions. As a [u(x, y) , v(x, y)], starting with an edge map f (x, y), as a soconsequence, the active contours initialized on the BVF get lution to the optimization problem given by attracted faster to the boundaries. Experimental results show that the quality of outlining obtained is comparable with that 2 2 2 2 2 2 = (ux +uy +vx +vy )+ |f | |v f | dx dy. (2) obtained with GVF and in some cases better. The key advantage of the BVF is that it is obtained noniteratively, whereas r eld is obtained by the following iterations. the GVF is computed iteratively and it takes several tens of iterations. 2 (x, y, t) = u(x, y, t) [u(x, y, t) fx (x, y)] This paper is organized as follows. In Section 2, we 2 2 [fx (x, y) + fy (x, y)], and present an overview of vector elds, gradient vector ow, and vt (x The vecto


2 then present the bilateral vector ow. In Section 3, we show , y, t) = v (x, y, t) [v (x, y, t) fy (x, y)] how snakes perform on the bilateral vector ow. We also [f 2 (x, y) + f 2 (x, y)], x y provide a comparative assessment of segmentation performance on some synthetic binary images as well as magnetic subscripts denote the corresponding partial derivaresonance images. We report results on the same images as used by Xu and Prince in [3].

where the tives. The

key idea behind solving (2) to create the vector

elds, instead o term of ( the secon

f using the gradient eld f , is as follows: the rst 2. GRADIENT VECTOR FLOW FIELD 2) penalizes the vector eld for not being smooth and d term makes it close to its gradient value. These A snake is a curve x(s) = [x(s), y(s)], s [0, 1] that moves re optimally combined with the parameter . The over an image to minimize the energy functional term is weighted with |f |2 to enhance its imporere the edges are strong and more importance to E = 1 1 |x (s)|2 + |x (s)|2 + Eext (x(s)) ds, terms when it is small. If the image is noisy, 0 2 of should be set high to give more importance to g this is the statistical signi cance of . where and are parameters that control the snakes tension and rigidity, respectively, and x (s) and x (s) denote the rst eral lter approach to compute v (x, y) and second derivatives with respect to s. A snake that minimizes E must satisfy the Euler equation: nt vector ow together with associated smoothing s can be alternatively obtained by smoothing the vec x (s) x (s) Eext = 0, y using a bilateral lter. We propose f a bilateral lter with a domain kernel as in the stanwhich can be viewed as a force balance equation of the type (Gaussian kernel with standard deviation d) and a Fint + Fext = 0, where Fint = x (s) x (s) and rnel speci ed as follows: Fext = Ext . In the GVF formulation, the potential force E is replaced with v (x, y), which is the GVF, to yield 2 2 ext f (x) f (x) f (y) the balance equation: ) = exp 22 , (3) r xt (s, t) = Fint + Fext = Eint Eext , he gradient operator; x is the point of in= x (s, t) x (s, t) + v. a point in its neighborhood. The same bilat-

two terms a second tance wh the smoothing the value smoothin 2.2. Bilat

A gradie propertie

tor eld f (x) direct the use o dard case speci c range ke

h(x, y

where denotes t (1) terest and y is eral lter

is used to smooth the horizontal and vertical comThe curve solving the above dynamic equation is called a f f . Note that the range lter de nition is modGVF snake. The solution is computed iteratively beginning the standard range lter de nition (in particular,

ponents o i ed from

with an edge map derived from the image. Typically, this is presence of the additional term f (x) in the de niobtained by Gaussian smoothing rst with a certain parameter intuition behind obtaining vector eld by ltering 318 ----------------------- Page 3-----------------------

note the tion). The

the gradient eld using the bilateral lter is as follows. The speci c range kernel employed in the bilateral lter highlights the edge information. In regions where the edge information is not strong, that is, where the regions are relatively homogeneous, and corrupted by noise in some cases, the bilateral lter performs smoothing and suppresses noise in the gradients. If the value of r is increased, that is, the spread of the range kernel is increased, smoothing occurs over regions having large intensity differences. This is preferable in high (a) (b) noise situations. Thus, the parameter r effectively plays the role of in (2). The parameter d controls the domain of the bilateral lter, which determines the spread of the gradient information. The counterpart of this effect in the standard GVF formulation is the role of the iterations in smoothing the vector ow eld and ensuring that it creates a basin of attraction around the edges. Hence, the proposed methodology is analogous to the GVF, with the main advantage that it can be computed noniteratively. Thanks to some recent developments, (c) (d) fast implementation of the bilateral lter is possible [13, 14]. 2.3. Discrete BVF computation The BVF on edge-map f (x) is obtained as BVF(x) = kd 1 (x) R2 (e) f ()c(, x) d, where (f ) Fig. 1. Segmentation of frontal horn from brain MRI image: (a) 2 2 f (x) f (x) f () x alization, (b) edge map obtained after Gaus22 22 ing with =5, (c) BVF generated on original image, (d) c(, x) = e r e r of segmentation using BVF, (e) GVF generated on original kd (x) = 2 c(, x) d. (f) result of segmentation using GVF with =2 (Data R y http://www.mr-tip.com). The choice of kernel is based on the noise distribution. chose the standard Gaussian kernel. For discrete images and 3. ACTIVE CONTOURS USING BVF nite support kernels, which are more practical, replacing the We 2 original image with sian smooth , result image, and courtes

integrals by sums, we have re 1, we show the segmentation of frontal horn from RI image. The scale parameter is chosen empirix+m n+m

In Figu brain M

cally b ased on basin of attraction. From Figure 2, we observe BVF(x, y) = k1 (x, y) f (k, l)c(x, y, k, l), F performs segmentation quite effectively and as d k=xm l=nm as the GVF. The GVF is computed iteratively using LAB toolbox of Xu and Prince, available at authors where website : http://www.iacl.ece.jhu.edu/static/gvf/. 2 order to verify that BVF is also capable of driving acf (x, y) f (x, y) f (k, l) 22 rs into boundary concavities, we consider the same c(x, y, k, l) = e r s as those of Xu and Prince. The test images are (x k)2 + (y l)2 Figure 2(a). The initial contours are also shown 22 ages. The corresponding BVF and GVF and the e d , ion results obtained are also shown. We observe x+m n+m that th e BVF-based segmentation is comparable to the GVFkd (x, y) = c(x, y, k, l). egmentation in the rst two cases ( rst two rows of k=xm l=nm and in case of the cardiac MRI image, it is better e GVF-based segmentation. 319 ----------------------- Page 4----------------------(a) (d) (b) (e) (c) based s Figure 2), than th 2 In tive contou example shown in on the im segmentat that the BV accurately the MAT

Fig. 2. Comparison of results obtained using BVF and GVF: (a) Original image w ith initialization, (b) bilateral vector eld with d = 3 and r = 2, (c) segmentation using BVF, (d) gradient vector eld, and (e) segmen tation using GVF (Data courtesy: Xu et al. [3]). 4. CONCLUSIONS [6] A. K. Pediredla and C. S .Seelamantula, Active-contour-

based automated image quantitation techniques for Western We showed that by applying a bilateral lter to the gradient of

Blot Analysis, 7th Intl. Symp. on Image and Signal Process. an edge map, a smooth vector ow, which we referred to as and Anal., pp. 331-336, September 2011. the bilateral vector ow, can be obtained. The BVF enhances [7] R. Delgado-Gonzalo, P. Thevenaz, C. S. Seelamantula, and the edge information and suppresses noisy gradients. This is M. Unser, Snakes with an ellipse-reproducing property, a noniterative alternative to the gradient vector ow. ExperiIEEE Trans. Image Process., vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 12581271, mental results show that the BVF is capable of providing good March 2012. segmentation performance even in the presence of boundary [8] A. K. Pediredla and C. S. Seelamantula, A uni ed approach concavities. The accuracy of segmentation is comparable to for optimization of snakuscules and ovuscules, Proc. IEEE that of GVF and in some cases better. The proposed BVF forIntl. Conf. on Acoust. Speech and Signal Process., pp. 681malism is extendable to 3-D to perform volume segmentation. 684, March 2012. [9] X. Han, C. Xu, and J. L. Prince, Fast numerical scheme for 5. REFERENCES gradient vector ow computation using a multigrid method, IET Image Process., vol. 1(1), pp. 4855, 2007. [1] M. Kass, A. Witkin, and D. Terzopoulos, Snakes: Active contour models, Int. J. Comput. Vis., vol. 1, pp. 321331, 1987. ] J. Li, W. Zuo, X. Zhao, D. Zhang, An augmented Lagrangian method for fast gradient vector ow, Proc. IEEE Intl. Conf. [2] V. Caselles, F. Catte, T. Coll, and F. Dibos, A geometric Image Process., pp. 15251529, 2011. model for active contours, Numer. Math., vol. 66, pp. 131, 1993. [11] C. Tomasi and R. Manduchi, Bilateral ltering for gray and color images, Proc. Intl. Conf. on Comp. Vis., pp. 839846, [3] C. Xu and J. L. Prince, Snakes, shapes and gradient vector 1998. ow, IEEE Trans. Image Process., vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 359369, [12] M. Elad, On the origin of the bilateral 1998. improve it, IEEE Trans. Image Process., lter and ways to vol. 11, no. 10,


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