Thursday, December 23, 2010

Template Matching using OpenCV internal function

For this example we need to add the following to the linker dependencies:


#include <stdlib.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <math.h>
#include <string.h>

#include <opencv2\highgui\highgui.hpp>

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
IplImage *img;
IplImage *tpl;
IplImage *res;
CvPoint minloc, maxloc;
double minval, maxval;
int img_width, img_height;
int tpl_width, tpl_height;
int res_width, res_height;

/* check for arguments */
if( argc < 3 ) {
printf( "Usage: template_match <reference> <template>\n" );
return 1;

/* load reference image */
img = cvLoadImage( argv[1], CV_LOAD_IMAGE_COLOR );
/* always check */

if( img == 0 ) {
printf( "Cannot load file %s!\n", argv[1] );
return 1;

/* load template image */
tpl = cvLoadImage( argv[2], CV_LOAD_IMAGE_COLOR );

/* always check */
if( tpl == 0 ) {
printf("Cannot load file %s!\n", argv[2] );
return 1;

/* get image's properties */
img_width = img->width;
img_height = img->height;
tpl_width = tpl->width;
tpl_height = tpl->height;
res_width = img_width - tpl_width + 1;
res_height = img_height - tpl_height + 1;

/* create new image for template matching computation */
res = cvCreateImage( cvSize( res_width, res_height ), IPL_DEPTH_32F, 1 );

/* choose template matching method to be used */
cvMatchTemplate( img, tpl, res, CV_TM_SQDIFF );
/*cvMatchTemplate( img, tpl, res, CV_TM_SQDIFF_NORMED );
cvMatchTemplate( img, tpl, res, CV_TM_CCORR );
cvMatchTemplate( img, tpl, res, CV_TM_CCORR_NORMED );
cvMatchTemplate( img, tpl, res, CV_TM_CCOEFF );
cvMatchTemplate( img, tpl, res, CV_TM_CCOEFF_NORMED );*/

cvMinMaxLoc( res, &minval, &maxval, &minloc, &maxloc, 0 );
/* draw red rectangle */
cvRectangle( img,
cvPoint( minloc.x, minloc.y ),
cvPoint( minloc.x + tpl_width, minloc.y + tpl_height ),
cvScalar( 0, 0, 255, 0 ), 1, 0, 0 );
/* display images */
cvNamedWindow( "reference", CV_WINDOW_AUTOSIZE );
cvNamedWindow( "template", CV_WINDOW_AUTOSIZE );
cvShowImage( "reference", img );
cvShowImage( "template", tpl );

/* wait until user press a key to exit */
cvWaitKey( 0 );

/* free memory */
cvDestroyWindow( "reference" );
cvDestroyWindow( "template" );
cvReleaseImage( &img );
cvReleaseImage( &tpl );
cvReleaseImage( &res );

return 0;


  1. Nice tutorial
    And i want to know that is it possible to run template matching on video capture
    I mean ongoing video...
    Please reply

    1. Yes it is possible..
      you can take input from webcam using cvCaptureFromCAM()and then get the src image using cvQueryFrame().
      CvCapture *capture=cvCaptureFromCAM(1);

  2. Nice,

    but i have question, how i can know if the object has been found or not?

    note: i don't want to draw any rectangles

    i am sory for my English


  3. how can I know the best location for the fitting ?
    if I have multiple templates and I wana find the object
    how can I determine the best locations ?

  4. Hi Aresh T. Saharkhiz,

    Thank you for posting such a nice program. I have one query for you.

    Your program is working fine with one image which consist the face with eyes template like in your example. What about multiple faces with the single template.

    For example: Suppose I cropped an image like yours eyes only and want to match template with multiple faces. I am asking because I tried it and its working for one only. I tried it for car light detection. Any suggestions.

    Actually, I need your help. With the same template, I want to check for multiple cars.

    Thanks in advance.

  5. Hi This always draw a rectangle even template is not in the picture. Can we avoid that. so if template not found nothing happens?

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