struc is an omnibus module for processing of anatomical MR images. struc can run the ANTs Cortical Thickness (ANTsCT) pipeline in its entirety or can execute any combination of N4 bias field correction, FSL- or ANTs-based brain extraction, Atropos brain segmentation, and ANTs diffeomorphic registration.


  • corticalThickness
  • mask
  • segmentation

Omnibus modules

Omnibus modules defy modular logic to an extent: they do not comprise a single, well-encapsulated processing step. Instead, they include a number of routines, each of which corresponds to a common processing step. These routines can be combined and re-ordered within the parent module. Much like the pipeline variable specifies the inclusion and order of modules in the pipeline, the module-level process variable specifies the inclusion and order of routines within an omnibus module. An example is provided here for the struc omnibus module::


In the example here, the pipeline variable is defined as a standard anatomical stream that begins with struc.

  • struc_process: the name of the variable specifying the inclusion and order of routines
  • [1]: the scope of the struc_process variable, that is, the first module of the pipeline
  • BFC-ABE-REG-SEG: a series of three-letter codes for module routines to be called within struc, offset by hyphens (-) and ordered in the same order that they are to be executed

Available routine codes


ANTs Cortical Thickness. This routine executes the entire ANTs cortical thickness pipeline. In general, no other routines need to be included if ACT is used.


N4 bias field correction. This routine removes spatial intensity bias from the anatomical image using the N4 approach from ANTs.


ANTs brain extraction. This routine uses antsBrainExtraction to identify brain voxels and remove any non-brain voxels from the anatomical image.


FSL brain extraction. This routine uses FSL’s BET to identify brain voxels and remove any non-brain voxels from the anatomical image.


Anatomical segmentation. This routine uses ANTs’s Atropos with or without tissue class priors to segment the anatomical image into tissue classes.


Registration. This routine uses antsRegistration to diffeomorphically register the anatomical image to a template.

Module configuration


Denoise anatomical image.

Routine: SEG, ACT.

During the segmentation procedure, ANTs can use the DenoiseImage program to remove noise from an anatomical image using a spatially adaptive filter with a Gaussian or a Rician noise model.:

# do not denoise

# apply denoising

struc_denoise_anat must be either 0 or 1.


Prior-driven segmentation.

Routine: SEG.

Segmentation implemented in the SEG routine can be either prior-driven or priorless. In prior-driven segmentation, the segmentation of the brain into tissue classes is guided by prior maps that assign each voxel a probability of belonging to each tissue class, often resulting in a more anatomically correct parcellation. Tissue-class priors are provided for each parcellation. (Disabling this option is not currently available in the ANTsCT routine (ACT); the ANTsCT pipeline will always use prior-driven segmentation.):

# enable prior-driven segmentation

# do not use priors for segmentation

struc_seg_priors must be either 0 or 1.


Prior weight for segmentation.

Routine: SEG.

Segmentation implemented in the SEG routine can be either prior-driven or priorless. If prior-driven segmentation (struc_seg_priors) is enabled, the prior weight determines the extent to which the tissue class priors constrain the parcellation. A higher prior weight will result in a segmentation that more closely conforms to the priors.:

# set prior weight to 0.25

struc_seg_priors must be a value in the interval [0,1] (inclusive).


Posterior formulation.

Routine: SEG, ACT.

The formulation for posterior probability maps produced by the segmentation routine. The default setting ('Socrates[1]') is usually acceptable. Consult the ANTs documentation for more information.:

# Use Socrates formulation with mixture model proportions

# Use Plato formulation with mixture model proportions

struc_posterior_formulation can be, for instance, 'Socrates[1]' (default), 'Plato[1]', 'Aristotle[1]' or 'Sigmoid[1]'. Consult the ANTs documentation for all available options.


Precision for registrations.

Routine: REG, ABE, ACT.

The precision to be used during registrations. 1 indicates that single-precision registration should be used, while 0 indicates that double-precision registration should be used (default, more precision).:

# Use double precision

# Use single precision

struc_floating_point must be either 0 or 1.


Use random seed.

Routine: SEG, ABE, ACT.

The pseudorandom number generator can generate values that appear more random if it is seeded with a value based on the system clock. To use random seeding to initialise the RNG, set struc_random_seed to a value of 1.:

# Use random seed

# Disable random seed

struc_random_seed must be either 0 or 1.


Deformable B-spline SyN registration.

Routine: REG, ACT.

Regularisation during ANTs registration can be performed using a b-spline approach. Please reference the [original article]( for further information.:

# Use deformable B-spline registration

# Use deformable registration

struc_bspline must be either 0 or 1.


Brain extraction threshold.

Routine: FBE

The fractional intensity threshold determines how much of an image will be retained after non-brain voxels are zeroed during the FSL-based FBE routine. It is not used for ANTs-based brain extraction. A more liberal mask can be obtained using a lower fractional intensity threshold. The fractional intensity threshold should be a positive number greater than 0 and less than 1.:

# Fractional intensity threshold of 0.3

Freesufer run.

Routine: FSF

The freesufer can be run with addition of FSF to the procsess as


If the freesufer has be ran before, the directory of freesufer can be copied by including:


this can also be included in the cohort file. the cifti files for cortical thickness are generated.


Quick SyN registration.

Routine: REG, ACT.

SyN registration can be performed using an alternative, faster approach. Although the results are not of the same quality as standard SyN registration, this approach nonetheless typically results in a set of transforms that is adequate for many purposes.:

# Use quick SyN registration

# Use default SyN registration

struc_quick must be either 0 or 1.


Ordinarily, each module will detect whether a particular analysis has run to completion before beginning it. If re-running is disabled, then the module will immediately skip to the next stage of analysis. Otherwise, any completed analyses will be repeated.If you change the run parameters, you should rerun any modules downstream of the change.:

# Skip processing steps if the pipeline detects the expected output

# Repeat all processing steps


Modules often produce numerous intermediate temporary files and images during the course of an analysis. In many cases, these temporary files are undesirable and unnecessarily consume disk space. If cleanup is enabled, any files stamped as temporary will be deleted when a module successfully runs to completion. If a module fails to detect the output that it expects, then temporary files will be retained to facilitate error diagnosis.:

# Remove temporary files

# Retain temporary files


Specifies the order for execution of anatomical processing routines. Exercise discretion when using this option; unless you have a compelling reason for doing otherwise, it is recommended you use one of the default orders provided in the pre-configured design files.

The processing order should be a string of concatenated three-character routine codes separated by hyphens (-). Each substring encodes a particular preprocessing routine; this feature should primarily be used to selectively run only parts of the preprocessing routine.:

# Default processing routine for ANTs Cortical Thickness

# Minimal anatomical processing routine (for use with functional MRI)

# Minimal anatomical processing routine using FSL instead of ANTs for brain extraction

Permitted codes include:

  • ACT: complete ANTs cortical thickness pipeline
  • BFC: N4 bias field correction
  • ABE: ANTs brain extraction
  • FBE: FSL brain extraction
  • SEG: Atropos image segmentation
  • REG: registration to a template
  • FSF: Freesufer or copy freesufer outputs from fmriprep if available