New techniques for computing multicolored polygonal masks for image analysis and computer vision applications are presented. The procedures do not require random access of the image memory. They are based on efficient generation of coordinate-reference images (ramps) and other simple general purpose architectural features such as look-up tables. The techniques presented are, unlike their predecessors, highly parallel and can be efficiently implemented in existing pipeline image processors. In addition, we show an architecture in the form of functional building blocks that will enable us to compute polygonal and other masks much faster than commercially available pipeline systems. Extensive motivation and use of the new algorithms for digital visual inspection applications are given throughout. © 1987, ACM. All rights reserved.