Search strategies for shape regularized active contour

Tianli Yu, Jiebo Luo, Narendra Ahuja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nonlinear shape models have been shown to improve the robustness and flexibility of contour-based object segmentation when there are appearance ambiguities between the object and the background. In this paper, we focus on a new search strategy for the shape regularized active contour (ShRAC) model, which adopts existing nonlinear shape models to segment objects that are similar to a set of training shapes. The search for optimal contour is performed by a coarse-to-fine algorithm that iterates between combinatorial search and gradient-based local optimization. First, multi-solution dynamic programming (MSDP) is used to generate initial candidates by minimizing only the image energy. In the second step, a combination of image energy and shape energy is minimized starting from these initial candidates using a local optimization method and the best one is selected. To generate diverse initial candidates while reducing invalid shapes, we apply two pruning methods to the search space of MSDP. Our search strategy combines the advantages of global combinatorial search and local optimization, and has shown excellent robustness to local minima caused by distracting suboptimal solutions. Experimental results on segmentation of different anatomical structures using ShRAC, as well as preliminary results on human silhouette segmentation are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1053-1063
Number of pages11
JournalComputer Vision and Image Understanding
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Active contour
  • Dynamic programming
  • Local optimization
  • Nonlinear shape models
  • Object segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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