Nowadays, who approaches Computer Vision and Image Segmentation for the first time, often has to face with the following image:

Lena Forsén

Have you ever ask to yourself who the girl in the picture is and why it is commonly used in Computer Vision?

Lena Forsén, previously Söderberg, born Sjööblom (born 31 March 1951), is a Swedish model who appeared as a Playmate in the November 1972 issue of Playboy magazine, as Lenna Sjööblom. Her centerfold was photographed by Dwight Hooker.


In June or July 1973, Alexander Sawchuk, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the USC signal and image processing Institute (SIPI), was looking for a good image to scan for a conference paper. He was looking for something glossy to ensure a high dynamic range, and moreover, he wanted a human face. Then, somebody walked in the lab with a copy of playboy contianing the picture of Lenna Forsén. The engineers tore away the top third of centerfold so they could wrap it around the drum of primitive scanner. The scanner had a fixed resolution of 100 lines per inch and the engineers wanted 512*512 image so they limited the scan to the top 5.12 inches of the picture effectively cropping it at the subject shoulders.

Today, the Lenna image is a standard for testing image processing algorithms. In particular, the images contains a nice mixture of details, flat regions, shadings, and textures that are useful challenges for processing algorithms. It was onw of the first pictures uploaded to ARPANET, and most importantly, it was used for developing the, well known, JPEG format. The Lenna image will be used for many post of this website, so, if you are not familiar with it, you will soon become one.

For more information about Lenna and her story, you can visit the following links: [1] [2]

  1. The above quote is extracted from Wikipedia. ↩︎