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Bilateral Filtering

version (118 KB) by Douglas Lanman
Implements bilateral filtering for grayscale and color images.


Updated 06 Sep 2006

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Editor's Note: This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week

Bilateral filtering was proposed by Tomasi and Manduchi in 1998 as a non-iterative method for edge-preserving smoothing. For a complete description see the following publication:

C. Tomasi and R. Manduchi. Bilateral Filtering for Gray and Color Images. In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision, 1998.

This package contains a basic implementation (bfilter2.m) of their method for both grayscale and color images. In order to demonstrate the utility of bilateral filtering, the main function is used to implement an automatic image abstraction routine (cartoon.m) inspired by:

Holger Winnemoller, Sven C. Olsen, and Bruce Gooch. Real-Time Video Abstraction. In Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH, 2006.

A demonstration program (runDemo.m) summarizes the typical use of all included files.

A gallery of image and video abstraction results is available at:

Cite As

Douglas Lanman (2021). Bilateral Filtering (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

Comments and Ratings (52)


Yuan Yao

Qu Zhang

thank you for your function. why is the input w only one-dimension? it's because of the square filter window? when I want to use a rectangle window, how can I set w size?

Zhexiang Liu


Chukwuma Valentine

the code runs great though slow a bit. Thanks to the developer

Michael Hughes

Aarsha mv

where is the code? i need the code of bilateral filtering of hsi images

abhayadev malayil

hai i am working image retargeting area.can we use bilateral filter for image retargeting process ?




Firas Alfiky

where is the code ??? plz i need it


Thanks very much!

Alberto Patiño


Good! very nice

Ankit Rohilla

tanu sidhu

i have some problm when i use this code

tanu sidhu


how to implement bilateral filter coding for contrast reduction


i need to know the implementation of bilateral filtering

Supreeth Mannava

Great examples of bilateral filtering. Good way to illustrate how to use MATLAB's image processing tools and functions

ashkan abbasi



Simple and nice review on bilater filtering, using this file can be found here:


Nice...Very Helpful, Thanks!!


thank you. works great!


wei yang

First of all, thank you for the code but, while using with mat lab 6.1 , i am getting errors
??? Error: File: C:\bfilter2\Bilateral Filtering\bfilter2.m Line: 30 Column: 23
Expected a variable, function, or constant, found "|".

Error in ==> C:\bfilter2\Bilateral Filtering\runDemo.m
On line 30 ==> bflt_img1 = bfilter2(img1,w,sigma);

Tell me how to correct the error.

Siyu Zhu


it is useful,thanks very much.


Alireza Saberi

Hello, thank for codes [which works nicely both in gray-level and color image]

Mr Douglas Lanman or Mr. Joseph Shtok,
I have understood the bilateral filter over 2D dimension / an considering Kernel which is a 2D square .

I have question. I'm apply bilateral filter over a sequence of images [video].
In one part of paper it applies 2D bilateral over a frame [which its code is here ]
but in other part of paper, it acquired 1-D bilateral filter for each pixel over frames. question is how?!!
I can't realize kernel here. but Mr. Joseph Shtok mentioned it's simple. Can you please explain?
Best Regards

Alireza Saberi

sankiiiiiuuuu :)


Hi everybody and thanks for the code. I'm a student in an engineering school in France and I'm working on image denoising. Why applying bilateral filtering twice on an image is better than once ?

Regis Melnotte

B.M.E Guo

Great codes and easy to read except for low speed. I try to extend it to 3-D case, however, it's very slow. Could you convert it to the matrix or vector computation instead of loop pixel by pixel?

Joseph Shtok

The code reduces easily and correctly to the one-dimensional case by slight modification of the bfilter2.m. Thank you!

Arun Kesavan

First of all, thank you for the code but, while using with mat lab 7.0 , i am getting errors

??? Error: File: Z:\Bilateral Filtering\bfilter2.m Line: 29 Column: 1
Function definitions are not permitted at the prompt or in scripts.

Error in ==> runDemo at 30
bflt_img1 = bfilter2(img1,w,sigma);

please tell me how to use your code?

Hani Jamleh

Douglas Lanman


Thank you for your comments. I believe the code you referred to, specifically lines 67 and 114 in bfilter2.m, is correct as written. These lines implement the c(\xi,x) equation from Section 2.1 from the Tomasi and Manduchi paper. As they state, c is radially symmetric, with the d(\xi,x) term corresponding to the Euclidean distance between \xi and x. Expanding these expressions, the numerator of the exponent should be -(X.^2+Y.^2), not -(X-Y).^2. Your concern might come from how I've used the G matrix on these lines. This matrix is used to pre-compute c(\xi,x) for a w-by-w sized window. In this case, the origin is always the center pixel, so \sqrt((X.^2+Y.^2)) will represent the Euclidean distance of a pixel from the center of the window, where X and Y are pixel coordinates with respect to the center pixel, i.e. as given on lines 66 and 113. These geometric terms are identical for all windows, which is why I pre-computed their values. Unfortunately, the "intensity similarity" will vary for each w-by-w window. As a result, the H matrix, as given by lines 87 and 140, must be evaluated independently using a "sliding window" analysis.

Please send me an email if you have any further questions about my implementation.

Best regards,

Frederic Garcia

First of all, thank you for the code but, according to the Tomasi and Manduchi paper, I think that instead of:

G = exp(-(X.^2+Y.^2)/(2*sigma_d^2));

it should be:

G = exp(-(X-Y).^2/(2*sigma_d^2));

with respect to the GausSian distance weight in the bfilter2.m file.

Please, correct me if I'm wrong.


DO Quoc Bao

Thanks alot :)

Giljin Jang

Thanks for the hard work. I appreciate the code.

Daniel Oldjira Fufa

Thanks for the code

Seong Park


sethu madhavi

kanch K

Zhi Zhang

Excellent method except the speed. But a lot of papers are coming out. You can go to the SIGGRAPH07 for some information.

anup pandey

Yulia Monich

Tom Pinkiewicz

Great filter but rather slow.
Do you know if it can be vectorised or sped up in some other way?
If there is anyone out there that knows how to speed up this code please let me know.
Good work!

Wenjing Jia

Very easy to understand and use! Comments precede each part. Run perfectly!

Ido Omer

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2006b
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
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