“Shape from metric” by Chern, Knöppel, Pinkall and Schröder

  • ©Albert Chern, Felix Knöppel, Ulrich Pinkall, and Peter Schröder



Entry Number: 63


    Shape from metric

Session/Category Title: Cleaning Up the Mesh We Made




    We study the isometric immersion problem for orientable surface triangle meshes endowed with only a metric: given the combinatorics of the mesh together with edge lengths, approximate an isometric immersion into R3. To address this challenge we develop a discrete theory for surface immersions into R3. It precisely characterizes a discrete immersion, up to subdivision and small perturbations. In particular our discrete theory correctly represents the topology of the space of immersions, i.e., the regular homotopy classes which represent its connected components. Our approach relies on unit quaternions to represent triangle orientations and to encode, in their parallel transport, the topology of the immersion. In unison with this theory we develop a computational apparatus based on a variational principle. Minimizing a non-linear Dirichlet energy optimally finds extrinsic geometry for the given intrinsic geometry and ensures low metric approximation error.We demonstrate our algorithm with a number of applications from mathematical visualization and art directed isometric shape deformation, which mimics the behavior of thin materials with high membrane stiffness.


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