The perceptual organization of texture flow: A contextual inference approach

Ohad Ben-Shahar, Steven W. Zucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Locally parallel dense patterns-sometimes called texture flows-define a perceptually coherent structure of particular significance to perceptual organization. We argue that with applications ranging from image segmentation and edge classification to shading analysis and shape interpretation, texture flows deserve attention equal to edge segment grouping and curve completion. This paper develops the notion of texture flow from a geometrical point of view to argue that local measurements of such structures must incorporate two curvatures. We show how basic theoretical considerations lead to a unique model for the local behavior of the flow and to a notion of texture flow "good continuation." This, in turn, translates to a specification of consistency constraints between nearby flow measurements which we use for the computation of globally (piecewise) coherent structure through the contextual framework of relaxation labeling. We demonstrate the results on synthetic and natural images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-417
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Good continuation
  • Line discontinuities
  • Local parallelism
  • Normal curvature
  • Orientation diffusion
  • Perceptual organization
  • Point singularities
  • Relaxation labeling
  • Shading flow
  • Social conformity of a line
  • Tangential curvature
  • Texture flow
  • Texture segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics


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