A method of image analysis is proposed for detection of local defects in materials with periodic regular texture. A general improvement and enlargement of vision system capabilities for versatility, full automatism, computational efficiency, and robustness in their application to the industrial inspection of periodic textured materials is pursued. In the proposed method, a multiscale and multiorientation Gabor filter scheme that imitates the early human vision process is applied to the sample under inspection. The designed algorithm automatically segments defects from the regular texture. A variety of examples of fabric inspection are presented. In all of them defects are successfully segmented from the texture background. © 1998 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.