Month: July 2010

Contour tracing in Processing

I recently read the book Aarons code, and with that the thought of writing some contour tracing functions came up. When I also, a few days later got an idea for a project, I got to it. Do searches on Google pointed me in the direction of the blob extraction algorithm that OpenCV uses, and so I found “A linear-time component labeling algorithm using contour tracing technique”.

Lately I have also started looking into using NetBeans as an IDE for programming with the Processing library, so I decided that I would implement the algorithm in the paper in java, using Processing.

The code is provided below, and is provided as is. It can probably be optimized a bit, and/or rewritten to be better. But for now it works for me.

If you have any suggestions to changes, or you use it, please leave a comment so I can check it out.

 * An implementation of
 * «A linear-time component labeling algorithm using contour tracing technique»
 * by Fu Chang, Chun-Jen Chen, and Chi-Jen Lu
 * Written in Java for use with the Processing ( library.
 * Code written by Greger Stolt Nilsen
 * ( /
 * Copyright 2010, Greger Stolt Nilsen
 * Code is provided «as is», and no warrenty is given. Use at your own risk.
 * This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
    it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
    the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
    (at your option) any later version.

    This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
    but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    GNU General Public License for more details.

    You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
    along with this program.  If not, see <>.

 * Create a new instance with:
 * ComponentFinder finder = new ComponentFinder(this, image);
 * where "image" is the PImage (or PGraphics) to be traced.
 * use the find()-function, to get all the contours in the contours arraylist.
 * Each contour is by itself an ArrayList of PVectors.
 * render_blobs() will return a PImage object that is a rendering of all the
 * blobs in the traced image.
 * The Image to be traced need to be black (0x000000) objects on white background.
 * So use the threshold-filter to get to that.
 * Also, unless the outer border of pixles is white, the finder will hang.

package ComponentFinder;

import processing.core.*;
import java.util.ArrayList;

public class ComponentFinder
    PApplet parent;
    public ArrayList contours;
    int[] inout;
    int[] L;
    PImage I;
    int C;

    // An array with the 8 direction coordinates (x1, y1, x2, y2... x8, y8)
    int cd[] = {1, 0, 1, 1, 0, 1, -1, 1, -1, 0, -1, -1, 0, -1, 1, -1 };

    public ComponentFinder(PApplet p, PImage img)
	parent = p;
	I = img;
	C = 1;
	L = new int[I.width*I.height];


    int getNumContours()
	if(contours != null)
	    return contours.size();
	else return 0;

    public int find()
		// Initialize the blob map to zero.
		for(int i = 0; i < I.width*I.height; i++)
		    L[i] = 0;

		// Make a new array list to store each contour.
		contours = new ArrayList();

		C = 1;
		int pos = I.width; // Start analyzing the image at the second line


		// Label the first line as blank pixels.
		for(int x = 0; x < I.width; x++)
		    L[x] = -1;

		for(int y = 1; y < I.height; y++)
		    for(int x = 0; x < I.width; x++)
			if(L[pos] == 0) // Only process unlabeled pixels
			    if(((I.pixels[pos]&0xffffff) != 0x000000))
				// White pixel
				L[pos] = -1;
			    else if(((I.pixels[pos]&0xffffff) == 0x000000))
				if((I.pixels[pos-I.width]&0xffffff) != 0x000000)
				    // If the pixel above is a white pixel,
				    // then this is the start of an outer contour
				    L[pos] = C;
				    // Start tracing an outer contour
				    contours.add(contourTrace(new PVector(x, y), 0, C));
				if(((I.pixels[pos+I.width]&0xffffff) != 0x000000) && (L[pos+I.width] == 0))
				    // If the pixel below is a white pixel, then it is the start of an
				    // inner contour, and we get the id for the outer contour
				    // then start tracing the inner contour
					int l;
					if(L[pos] != 0 ) l = L[pos];
					else l  = L[pos-1];
					if(L[pos] != 0) L[pos] = l;
				        contours.add(contourTrace(new PVector(x, y), 1, l));
				if(L[pos] == 0) if(L[pos-1] > 0) L[pos] = L[pos-1];
	return getNumContours();

    // Traces a countour at the given pixel S,
    // r is set to 0 for outer contours, and 1 for inner contours.
    // c is the label to give the contour
    ArrayList contourTrace(PVector S, int r, int c)
	int next = 8;
	ArrayList cont = new ArrayList(32);
	PVector current = new PVector();
	if(r == 0) // Outer contour
	    next = Trace((PVector)cont.get(cont.size()-1), 7, c);
	else if(r == 1) // Inner contour
	    next = Trace((PVector)cont.get(cont.size()-1), 3, c);

	if(next == 8) return cont; // The pixel is isolated.

	PVector T = new PVector(S.x + cd[next<<1], S.y + cd[(next<<1)+1]);

	next = Trace((PVector)cont.get(cont.size()-1), (next+6)%8, c);

	if(next == 8) return cont;


	    current.x = (float)((PVector)cont.get(cont.size()-1)).x + cd[(next<<1)%16];
	     current.y = (float)((PVector)cont.get(cont.size()-1)).y + cd[((next<<1)+1)%16];
		next = Trace(current, (next+6)%8, c);

		// Check if we are back at start position
	    if((current.x == S.x) && (current.y == S.y) && (current.x + cd[next<<1] == T.x) && (current.y + cd[(next<<1)+1] == T.y))
		return cont;

    int Trace(PVector P, int n, int c)
		for(int i = 0; i < 8; i++)
		    // if pixel at position n+i is black, return n+i
		    PVector ni = new PVector(P.x+cd[((i+n)%8)*2],

			if((I.pixels[(int)(ni.y)*I.width+(int)(ni.x)]&0xffffff) == 0x000000)

				L[(int)(ni.y)*I.width+(int)(ni.x)] = c;
				return (i+n)%8;
		    // if not, mark with a negative number
				if(L[(int)(ni.y)*I.width+(int)(ni.x)] == 0)
				    L[(int)(ni.y)*I.width+(int)(ni.x)] = -1;
		return 8; // Should only happen for isolated pixels.

    public PImage render_blobs()
		PImage blobs = parent.createImage(I.width, I.height, PApplet.RGB);
		for(int i = 0; i < L.length; i++)
		    if(L[i] > 0)
				blobs.pixels[i] = parent.color([i], 1, C, 0, 255), 255, 255);//|0xff000000;
		    if(L[i] == -1)
				blobs.pixels[i] = parent.color(0, 0, 255);
		    if(L[i] == -2)
				blobs.pixels[i] = parent.color(0, 0, 0);
		    if(L[i] == 0)
				blobs.pixels[i] = parent.color(0, 0, 128);
		return blobs;


Gutting an old transistor organ

I’ve had an old Viscount c.100 transistor organ standing around in my
studio for quite a while, and I’ve finally come around to start gutting
it. The goal is to learn a bit more about electronics, as well as try to
be able to use the spring reverb, the rhythm generator and the pedals
for something else.


What I am thinking with the reverb is to put it in it’s own box, so that
it can be used as an insert effect on mixers, or as a pedal effect for

The rhythm section can be used for what it is for, but I want to build
it into a smaller box, so it is portable and can be used in different
situations. Also, since I have figured out it gates the bass pedals, I
will try and add connections so it can be used as a trigger/gate for
other stuff.

The pedals I will build into a box, with the oscillators so that it can
be used on it’s own as a foot driven bass keyboard for live performances.

I am self thought when it comes to electronics, and I have not studied
it very well, but I do know some basics. So this is a challenge, but a
good one.

In lack of a proper oscilloscope I am using xoscope with a sound card probe.

More pictures, and some sketches will come when I figure out something
useful, and have organized my notes.

Picasa face detection to Lightroom

I have written a Perl script to move data gathered from Picasa’s face detection function, into the XMP metadata of my NEF files, to be used in Lightroom.

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