Short Description

Like to do things old-school? Track your objects manually, the Icy way!


Automated tracking is the future, so why use manual?!

Automated tracking is on its way, highly motivated by strong arguments such as the need to handle huge data sizes, diminish user bias, produce large reliable statistics etc. Yet, despite the great solutions available out there (including Icy's powerful Spot Tracking plug-in), how many times have you cursed because they seem to just not want to work on *your* specific data set, usually because the objects are hard to detect to begin with, and that causes the best trackers in the world to just break down.

Well, for all of these cases that drive you mad, you can always temporarily rely on a manual option, either because you are running late on a deadline, or until your favorite collaborator finds a way to improve the detection (or tracking) algorithms (if you haven't found one yet, take a minute to send a sample on the support forum).

This is where the Manual Tracking plug-in kicks in.

Its functionalities are pretty basic: it lets you click manually in the center of the object of interest for every time point, and integrates with Icy's great Track Manager so that you still benefit from advanced management and measurements of the tracks.

How do I use it?

The plug-in currently has a minimalistic interface (be sure to add your requests via the ratings!). The procedure is as follows:

1) Type the name of the group of tracks you wish to create (don't forget to hit the return key to validate the new name).

2) Press the Start button on the interface. A Track Manager window will automatically pop up and display your tracks live as you create them.

3) Browse for the first time point where you wish to start a track.

4) Adjust the slice (if you are in 3D) and click on the center of your object. As you click, the viewer automatically moves to the next frame, waiting for your next click.

5) Repeat step 4 until your are done.

6) Click the Stop button on the interface. You have successfully tracked your object!

7) Repeat steps 2-6 to add a new track to the same group (a group may have as many objects as you want)

8) Repeat steps 1-7 if you have another group of objects (e.g. cells, particles, etc.). Using groups is convenient for house-keeping, plus the track manager has some nice options to work with groups, be sure to check them out.


I love a good feeback (even if it's a bad one :)). The ratings await you!

3 reviews on “Manual Tracking

  1. E
    thank you Alexandre!you have already made some improvements, like to be able to see the track as you create it!
  2. a
    This plugin would be super useful if it could be combined with the automated tracking to manually "fix" wrong points in a track. Merging and splitting doesn't always do the trick for me, as the spot detector sometimes misses an object in one frame or detects one where there should be two. Is there any way you could add a function to manually add a single point in the track manager?
  3. R
    A very handy plugin when properly configured !

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  • Version • Released on: 2015-01-23 19:33:19

    * Added instructions on the interface
    * Simplified and optimised code
    * Fixed several issues

  • Version • Released on: 2014-03-25 12:35:01

    Fixed issue causing the first tracking click to fail.

  • Version • Released on: 2014-03-21 16:56:34

    Many bug fixes and easier to use

  • Version • Released on: 2014-03-19 16:12:16