Fast surface tracking in three-dimensional binary images

Dan Gordon, Jayaram K. Udupa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In medical 3-dimensional display, an input scene is represented by an array of volume elements (abbreviated as "voxels"), and an object in the scene is specified as a "connected" set of voxels. In such applications, surface tracking is an important, and often time-consuming, precursory step. One of the most efficient surface detection algorithms reported in the literature tracks a specified surface of a 3-dimensional object by visiting each boundary face in the surface twice. In this paper, we present a new definition of discrete objects and boundaries that leads to a modified algorithm, which, on the average, visits only one-third of the boundary faces twice (and the rest once). The algorithm has been implemented in our display software package and is found to achieve a run-time reduction of approximately 35%. This timing includes the computation of surface-normal information which is needed for the realistic rendering of surfaces. Without this computation, the saving would be about 55%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-214
Number of pages19
JournalComputer Vision, Graphics, and Image Processing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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