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Visual programming of image processing algorithms using ImageJ


ImageJ is a powerful Java-based framework for image processing that can be used in three modes of operation. The first one is open an image and then apply different operations from the built-in ImageJ commands. Complex algorithms very often consist of a long sequence of individual processing steps. This task can be automated by storing the sequence of individual processing steps in a macro text file. The third and most complicated way is to write a Java plugin performing the desired image processing task.

Especially for inexperienced users finding the correct solution for an image-processing problem can be a tedious process. Therefore we suggest a fourth approach to work with ImageJ. In this paper we propose a visual programming interface for ImageJ. Image processing steps are presented in the form of graphical components that can be combined together in a visual workspace to create complex algorithms. Individual image processing steps are represented as graphical symbols (units). The dataflow is described by links connecting the outputs with the inputs of consecutive processing units.

With the proposed idea the design of image processing algorithms becomes much easier. The user does not need to care about details like image ids, etc. Detail results of an algorithm can easily be verified. Detection of possible errors will be simpler. The proposed approach also is very useful for teaching purposes.

Due to the great variety of ImageJ commands, plugins and their different usages, the first release of the proposed graphical framework probably might not work with all plugins. However, it is expected that it will work with most ImageJ commands and plugins.

Graphically designed algorithms can be saved and it is planned to realize an export functionality to save an algorithm as a macro.


visual programming, graphical dataflow, construction of image processing algorithms

Kai Uwe Barthel, Daniel Senff

FHTW Berlin


Short Biography

Prof. Dr. Kai UWe Barthel:

1996: PhD in Image Compression at Technical University of Berlin

Research Project “3D-Video Coding”

1998: Head of R&D with LuraTech Inc. Berlin

* Development of Hard- und Software for image compression

* Participation in the JPEG2000 standardization committee

* Segmentation of Documents for Mixed-Rster-Content compression

2001: Professor at FHTW Berlin, University of applied sciences

Topics: Image processing, CBIR, image sorting

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