A serial data image processing system is described whereby interconnect artwork for electronic component manufacturing is scanned by a 1.times.n CCD image pickup element and converted into serial digital data. The serial digital data representing the original image is processed by a programmable serial image processor to detect flaws in the original image artwork. The serial data digital image processor is comprised of a plurality of pipe elements, the configuration of which can be arranged for parallel or serial processing. Each pipe element contains a plurality of 4.times.5 pixel neighborhood array processing blocks, each of which can be programmed to perform one of a number of neighborhood image enhancement techniques. The 4.times.5 pixel neighborhood provides single-pass thinning and trimming algorithms which in turn allows for more efficient processing to be performed in the serial pipeline combination of a plurality of transformation neighborhoods.