A scanning electron microscope (SEM) is the metrology tool used to accurately characterize very fine structures on wafers, usually by extracting one critical dimension (CD) per SEM image. This approach for optical proximity correction (OPC) modeling requires many measurements resulting in a lengthy cycle time for data collection, review, and cleaning, and faces reliability issues when dealing with critical two-dimensional (2-D) structures. An alternative to CD-based metrology is to use SEM image contours for OPC modeling. To calibrate OPC models with contours, reliable contours matched to traditional CD-SEM measurements are required along with a method to choose structure and site selections (number, type, and image space coverage) specific to a contour-based OPC model calibration. The potential of SEM contour model-based calibration is illustrated by comparing two contour-based models to reference models, one empirical model and a second rigorous simulation-based model. The contour-based models are as good as or better than a CD-based model with a significant advantage in the prediction of complex 2-D configurations with a reduced metrology work load.