Abstract : Thin objects in 3D volumes, for instance vascular networks in medical imaging or various kinds of fibres in materials science, have been of interest for some time to computer vision. Particularly, tubular objects are everywhere elongated in one principal direction – which varies spatially – and are thin in the other two perpendicular directions. Filters for detecting such structures use for instance an analysis of the three principal directions of the Hessian, which is a local feature. In this article, we present a low-level tubular structure detection filter. This filter relies on paths, which are semi-global features that avoid any blurring effect induced by scale-space convolution. More precisely, our filter is based on recently developed morphological path operators. These require sampling only in a few principal directions, are robust to noise and do not assume feature regularity. We show that by ranking the directional response of this operator, we are further able to efficiently distinguish between blob, thin planar and tubular structures. We validate this approach on several applications, both from a qualitative and a quantitative point of view, demonstrating noise robustness and an efficient response on tubular structures.