Accurate representation of skeletal structures is essential for quantifying structural integrity, for developing accurate models, for improving patient-specific implant design and in image-guided surgery applications. The complex morphology of thin cortical structures of the craniofacial skeleton (CFS) represents a significant challenge with respect to accurate bony segmentation. This technical study presents optimized processing steps to segment the three-dimensional (3D) geometry of thin cortical bone structures from CT images. In this procedure, anoisotropic filtering and a connected components scheme were utilized to isolate and enhance the internal boundaries between craniofacial cortical and trabecular bone. Subsequently, the shell-like nature of cortical bone was exploited using boundary-tracking level-set methods with optimized parameters determined from large-scale sensitivity analysis. The process was applied to clinical CT images acquired from two cadaveric CFSs. The accuracy of the automated segmentations was determined based on their volumetric concurrencies with visually optimized manual segmentations, without statistical appraisal. The full CFSs demonstrated volumetric concurrencies of 0.904 and 0.719; accuracy increased to concurrencies of 0.936 and 0.846 when considering only the maxillary region. The highly automated approach presented here is able to segment the cortical shell and trabecular boundaries of the CFS in clinical CT images. The results indicate that initial scan resolution and cortical-trabecular bone contrast may impact performance. Future application of these steps to larger data sets will enable the determination of the method's sensitivity to differences in image quality and CFS morphology.