Generalized gradient vector flow external forces for active contours

Chenyang Xu, Jerry L. Prince

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Active contours, or snakes, are used extensively in computer vision and image processing applications, particularly to locate object boundaries. A new type of external force for active contours, called gradient vector flow (GVF) was introduced recently to address problems associated with initialization and poor convergence to boundary concavities. GVF is computed as a diffusion of the gradient vectors of a gray-level or binary edge map derived from the image. In this paper, we generalize the GVF formulation to include two spatially varying weighting functions. This improves active contour convergence to long, thin boundary indentations, while maintaining other desirable properties of GVF, such as an extended capture range. The original GVF is a special case of this new generalized GVF (GGVF) model. An error analysis for active contour results on simulated test images is also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalSignal Processing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 15 1998


  • Active contour models
  • Deformable models
  • Edge detection
  • Gradient vector flow
  • Image segmentation
  • Shape representation and recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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