In medical image processing, many filters have been developed to enhance certain structures in 3-D data. In this paper, we propose to use pattern recognition techniques to design more optimal filters. The essential difference with previous approaches is that we provide a system with examples of what it should enhance and suppress. This training data is used to construct a classifier that determines the probability that a voxel in an unseen image belongs to the target structure(s). The output of a rich set of basis filters serves as input to the classifier. In a feature selection process, this set is reduced to a compact, efficient subset. We show that the output of the system can be reused to extract new features, using the same filters, that can be processed by a new classifier. Such a multistage approach further improves performance. While the approach is generally applicable, in this work the focus is on enhancing pulmonary fissures in 3-D computed tomography (CT) chest scans. A supervised fissure enhancement filter is evaluated on two data sets, one of scans with a normal clinical dose and one of ultra-low dose scans. Results are compared with those of a recently proposed conventional fissure enhancement filter. It is demonstrated that both methods are able to enhance fissures, but the supervised approach shows better performance; the areas under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve are 0.98 versus 0.90, for the normal dose data and 0.97 versus 0.87 for the ultra low dose data, respectively.