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Insert shapes in image or video



RGB = insertShape(I,shape,position) returns a truecolor image with shape inserted. The input image, I, can be either a truecolor or grayscale image. You draw the shapes by overwriting pixel values.


RGB = insertShape(___,Name=Value) specifies options using one or more name-value arguments in addition to the previous syntax. For example,insertShape(I,"circle",[150 280 35],LineWidth=5) sets the line width value to 5.


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Read an image into the workspace.

I = imread("peppers.png");

Draw a circle on the image with a border line width of 5.

RGB = insertShape(I,"circle",[150 280 35],LineWidth=5);

Draw a filled triangle and a filled hexagon on the image.

pos_triangle = [183 297 302 250 316 297];
pos_hexagon = [340 163 305 186 303 257 334 294 362 255 361 191];
RGB = insertShape(RGB,"filled-polygon",{pos_triangle,pos_hexagon},...

Display the resulting image.


Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type image.

Input Arguments

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Input image, specified in truecolor or 2-D grayscale.

Data Types: single | double | int16 | uint8 | uint16

Type of shape, specified as "rectangle", "filled-rectangle", "line", "polygon", "filled-polygon", "circle", or "filled-circle", "projected-cuboid".

Data Types: char

Position of shape, specified according to the type of shape, described in the table.

For one or more rectangles, specify M-by-4 matrix where each row specifies a rectangle as [xywidthheight].


Two rectangles, M=2




For one or more disconnected lines, specify an M-by-4 matrix, where each four-element vector, [x1y1x2y2], describes a line with endpoints.


The polyline always contains (L-1) number of segments because the first and last vertex points do not connect.

Two lines, M=2

For one or more polylines or polygons with the same number of vertices, specify an M-by-2L matrix, where each row is a vector, [x1y1x2y2...xLyL], of consecutive vertex locations, representing a polyline or a polygon with L number of vertices.


Two polygons with equal number of vertices, M=2, L=5

For one or more polylines or polygons with unequal number of vertices, specify an M-by-1 cell array, where each cell contains an L-by-2 matrix of [x,y] vertices, or a 1-by-2L vector, [x1y1x2y2...xLyL], of consecutive vertex locations.

The value of L can be different for each cell element. For example,


Two polygons with unequal number of vertices, M=2two polygons, one with 5 vertices and one with 4 vertices

An M-by-3 matrix, where each row is a vector specifying a circle as [xyradius]. The [xy] coordinates represent the center of the circle.



An 8-by-2-by-M array or an M-by-8 matrix, where M specifies a projected cuboid.

When specified as an 8-by-2-by-M array, each row must contain the [xy] location of a projected cuboid vertex. The vertices are connected to form a cuboid with six faces. The order of the input vertices must match the order shown in the diagram.

When specified as an M-by-8 matrix, each row specifies the front-facing and rear-facing sides of a projected cuboid in the form,


where, [x1 y1] and [x2 y2] specify the upper-left coordinates of the front-facing and back-facing sides, respectively. [w1 h1] and [w2 h2] specify the corresponding width and height.

Cuboid showing numbered vertices. The number starts with 1 assigned to the top right corner of the front facing rectangle. Going counter-clockwise 1-4 for the top face of cuboid, then 5-8 for the bottom face. The positive Z-axis goes up, the positive Y-axis goes to the right and the positive X-axis faces forward.

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64

Name-Value Arguments

Specify optional pairs of arguments as Name1=Value1,...,NameN=ValueN, where Name is the argument name and Value is the corresponding value. Name-value arguments must appear after other arguments, but the order of the pairs does not matter.

Before R2021a, use commas to separate each name and value, and enclose Name in quotes.

Example: Color="yellow" sets the shape color to yellow.

Shape border line width, specified in pixels, as a positive scalar integer. This property only applies to the "Rectangle", "Line", "Polygon", or "Circle" shapes.

Data Types: uint8 | uint16 | int16 | double | single

Shape color, specified as a character vector, cell array of character vectors, vector, or an M-by-3 matrix. You can specify a different color for each shape or one color for all shapes. Color values must be specified in the range [0,255]. Values that have a range of [0,1] must be scaled by a value of 255 before using it with this function. For example, [255 255 255].*colorvalue.

Supported colors are: "blue", "green", "red", "cyan", "magenta", "yellow","black", and "white".

Specify one color for all shapes

String or character color name



1-by-3 vector (RGB triplet)

[255 0 0]1-by-3 grid, with columns labeled r,g,b respectively.

Specify a color for each shapeM-element vector


M-by-3 matrix, as a list of RGB values

255 0 0
255 0 0
0 255 255
M-by-3 grid, with columns labeled r,g,b respectively.

Data Types: cell | char | uint8 | uint16 | int16 | double | single

Opacity of filled shape, specified as a scalar value in the range [0 1]. The Opacity property applies to the "filled-rectangle", "filled-polygon", and the "filled-circle" shapes.

Data Types: double | single | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64

Smooth shape edges, specified as a logical value of 1 (true) or 0 (false). A true value enables an anti-aliasing filter to smooth shape edges. This value applies only to nonrectangular shapes. Enabling anti-aliasing requires additional time to draw the shapes.

Data Types: logical

Output Arguments

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Output image, returned as a truecolor image.

Extended Capabilities

Version History

Introduced in R2014a

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