PET imaging can quantify metabolic processes in-vivo; this requires the measurement of an input function which is invasive and labor intensive. A non-invasive, semi-automated, image based method of input function generation would be efficient, patient friendly, and allow quantitative PET to be applied routinely. A fully automated procedure would be ideal for studies across institutions. Factor analysis (FA) was applied as processing tool for definition of temporally changing structures in the field of view. FA has been proposed earlier, but the perceived mathematical difficulty has prevented widespread use. FA was utilized to delineate structures and extract blood and tissue time-activity-curves (TACs). These TACs were used as input and output functions for tracer kinetic modeling, the results of which were compared with those from an input function obtained with serial blood sampling. Dynamic image data of myocardial perfusion studies with N-13 ammonia, O-15 water, or Rb-82, cancer studies with F-18 FDG, and skeletal studies with F-18 fluoride were evaluated. Correlation coefficients of kinetic parameters obtained with factor and plasma input functions were high. Linear regression usually furnished a slope near unity. Processing time was 7 min/patient on an UltraSPARC. Conclusion: FA can non-invasively generate input functions from image data eliminating the need for blood sampling. Output (tissue) functions can be simultaneously generated. The method is simple, requires no sophisticated operator interaction and has little inter-operator variability. FA is well suited for studies across institutions and standardized evaluations.