International Journal of Computer Vision

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 321-331

First online:

Snakes: Active contour models

  • Michael KassAffiliated withSchlumberger Palo Alto Research
  • , Andrew WitkinAffiliated withSchlumberger Palo Alto Research
  • , Demetri TerzopoulosAffiliated withSchlumberger Palo Alto Research

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A snake is an energy-minimizing spline guided by external constraint forces and influenced by image forces that pull it toward features such as lines and edges. Snakes are active contour models: they lock onto nearby edges, localizing them accurately. Scale-space continuation can be used to enlarge the capture region surrounding a feature. Snakes provide a unified account of a number of visual problems, including detection of edges, lines, and subjective contours; motion tracking; and stereo matching. We have used snakes successfully for interactive interpretation, in which user-imposed constraint forces guide the snake near features of interest.