Fitting Smooth Surfaces to Dense Polygon Meshes

Venkat Krishnamurthy
Marc Levoy
Stanford University

Recent progress in acquiring shape from range data permits the acquisition of seamless million-polygon meshes from physical models. In this paper, we present an algorithm and system for converting dense irregular polygon meshes of arbitrary topology into tensor product B-spline surface patches with accompanying displacement maps. This choice of representation yields a coarse but efficient model suitable for animation and a fine but more expensive model suitable for rendering.

The first step in our process consists of interactively painting patch boundaries over a rendering of the mesh. In many applications, interactive placement of patch boundaries is considered part of the creative process and is not amenable to automation. The next step is gridded resampling of each bounded section of the mesh. Our resampling algorithm lays a grid of springs across the polygon mesh, then iterates between relaxing this grid and subdividing it. This grid provides a parameterization for the mesh section, which is initially unparameterized. Finally, we fit a tensor product B-spline surface to the grid. We also output a displacement map for each mesh section, which represents the error between our fitted surface and the spring grid. These displacement maps are images; hence this representation facilitates the use of image processing operators for manipulating the geometric detail of an object. They are also compatible with modern photo-realistic rendering systems.

Our resampling and fitting steps are fast enough to surface a million polygon mesh in under 10 minutes -- important for an interactive system.

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