Interpreting concept sketches

Tianjia Shao, Wilmot Li, Kun Zhou, Weiwei Xu, Baining Guo, Niloy J. Mitra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Concept sketches are popularly used by designers to convey pose and function of products. Understanding such sketches, however, requires special skills to form a mental 3D representation of the product geometry by linking parts across the different sketches and imagining the intermediate object configurations. Hence, the sketches can remain inaccessible to many, especially non-designers. We present a system to facilitate easy interpretation and exploration of concept sketches. Starting from crudely specified incomplete geometry, often inconsistent across the different views, we propose a globally-coupled analysis to extract part correspondence and inter-part junction information that best explain the different sketch views. The user can then interactively explore the abstracted object to gain better understanding of the product functions. Our key technical contribution is performing shape analysis without access to any coherent 3D geometric model by reasoning in the space of inter-part relations. We evaluate our system on various concept sketches obtained from popular product design books and websites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number56
JournalACM Transactions on Graphics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Concept sketch
  • NPR
  • Part relations
  • Product design
  • Shape analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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