Segmentation is the art of partitioning an image into different regions where each one has some degree of uniformity in its feature space. A number of methods have been proposed and blind segmentation is one of them. It uses intrinsic image features, such as pixel intensity, color components and texture. However, some virtues, like poor contrast, noise and occlusion, can weaken the procedure. To overcome them, prior knowledge of the object of interest has to be incorporated in a top-down procedure for segmentation. Consequently, in this work, a novel integrated algorithm is proposed combining bottom-up (blind) and top-down (including shape prior) techniques. First, a color space transformation is performed. Then, an energy function (based on nonlinear diffusion of color components and directional derivatives) is defined. Next, signeddistance functions are generated from different shapes of the object of interest. Finally, a variational framework (based on the level set) is employed to minimize the energy function. The experimental results demonstrate a good performance of the proposed method compared with others and show its robustness in the presence of noise and occlusion. The proposed algorithm is applicable in outdoor and medical image segmentation and also in optical character recognition (OCR).