Skeleton extraction by mesh contraction

Oscar Kin Chung Au, Chiew Lan Tai, Hung Kuo Chu, Daniel Cohen-Or, Tong Yee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extraction of curve-skeletons is a fundamental problem with many applications in computer graphics and visualization. In this paper, we present a simple and robust skeleton extraction method based on mesh contraction. The method works directly on the mesh domain, without pre-sampling the mesh model into a volumetric representation. The method first contracts the mesh geometry into zero-volume skeletal shape by applying implicit Laplacian smoothing with global positional constraints. The contraction does not alter the mesh connectivity and retains the key features of the original mesh. The contracted mesh is then converted into a 1D curve-skeleton through a connectivity surgery process to remove all the collapsed faces while preserving the shape of the contracted mesh and the original topology. The centeredness of the skeleton is refined by exploiting the induced skeleton-mesh mapping. In addition to producing a curve skeleton, the method generates other valuable information about the object's geometry, in particular, the skeleton-vertex correspondence and the local thickness, which are useful for various applications. We demonstrate its effectiveness in mesh segmentation and skinning animation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number44
JournalACM Transactions on Graphics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2008


  • Laplacian
  • Mesh contraction
  • Segmentation
  • Skeleton
  • Skinning
  • Smoothing


Dive into the research topics of 'Skeleton extraction by mesh contraction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this