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2-D superpixel oversegmentation of images



[L,numLabels] = superpixels(A,N) computes superpixels of the 2-D grayscale or RGB image A. N specifies the number of superpixels you want to create. The function returns the label matrix L and the actual number of superpixels that were computed, numLabels.

The superpixels function uses the simple linear iterative clustering (SLIC) algorithm [1]. This algorithm groups pixels into regions with similar values. Using these regions in image processing operations, such as segmentation, can reduce the complexity of these operations.

[L,numLabels] = superpixels(A,N,Name=Value) computes superpixels of image A using name-value arguments used to control aspects of the segmentation.


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Read image into the workspace.

A = imread('kobi.png');

Calculate superpixels of the image.

[L,N] = superpixels(A,500);

Display the superpixel boundaries overlaid on the original image.

BW = boundarymask(L);

Set the color of each pixel in the output image to the mean RGB color of the superpixel region.

outputImage = zeros(size(A),'like',A);
idx = label2idx(L);
numRows = size(A,1);
numCols = size(A,2);
for labelVal = 1:N
    redIdx = idx{labelVal};
    greenIdx = idx{labelVal}+numRows*numCols;
    blueIdx = idx{labelVal}+2*numRows*numCols;
    outputImage(redIdx) = mean(A(redIdx));
    outputImage(greenIdx) = mean(A(greenIdx));
    outputImage(blueIdx) = mean(A(blueIdx));


Input Arguments

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Image to segment, specified as a 2-D grayscale image or 2-D truecolor image. For int16 data, A must be a grayscale image. When the parameter isInputLab is true, the input image must be data type single or double.

Data Types: single | double | int16 | uint8 | uint16

Desired number of superpixels, specified as a positive integer.

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64

Name-Value Arguments

Specify optional pairs of arguments as Name1=Value1,...,NameN=ValueN, where Name is the argument name and Value is the corresponding value. Name-value arguments must appear after other arguments, but the order of the pairs does not matter.

Example: B = superpixels(A,100,NumIterations=20); performs twenty iterations.

Before R2021a, use commas to separate each name and value, and enclose Name in quotes.

Example: B = superpixels(A,100,"NumIterations",20);

Shape of superpixels, specified as a positive number. The compactness parameter of the SLIC algorithm controls the shape of superpixels. A higher value makes superpixels more regularly shaped, that is, a square. A lower value makes superpixels adhere to boundaries better, making them irregularly shaped. Typical values for compactness are in the range [1, 20].

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64

Input image data is in the L*a*b* color space, specified as true or false.

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64 | logical

Algorithm used to compute superpixels, specified as one of the following values. The superpixels function uses two variations of the simple linear iterative clustering (SLIC) algorithm.




superpixels uses the SLIC0 algorithm to refine Compactness adaptively after the first iteration. This is the default.


Compactness is constant during clustering.

Data Types: char | string

Number of iterations used in the clustering phase of the algorithm, specified as a positive integer. For most problems, it is not necessary to adjust this parameter.

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64

Output Arguments

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Label matrix, returned as an array of positive integers. The value 1 indicates the first region, 2 the second region, and so on for each superpixel region in the image.

Data Types: double

Number of superpixels computed, returned as a positive integer.

Data Types: double


[1] Radhakrishna Achanta, Appu Shaji, Kevin Smith, Aurelien Lucchi, Pascal Fua, and Sabine Susstrunk, SLIC Superpixels Compared to State-of-the-art Superpixel Methods. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, Volume 34, Issue 11, pp. 2274-2282, May 2012

Extended Capabilities

Version History

Introduced in R2016a

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