Paper-craft from 3D polygonal models using generalized cylinders

Fady Massarwi, Craig Gotsman, Gershon Elber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We introduce an algorithm for approximating a 2-manifold 3D mesh by a set of developable surfaces. Each developable surface is a generalized cylinder represented as a strip of triangles not necessarily taken from the original mesh. Our algorithm is automatic, creates easy-to-assemble pieces, and provides L global error bounds. The algorithm consists of three stages. In the first stage, the mesh is segmented into meaningful components. The second stage approximates each of the mesh components in 3D by a set of triangle strips with smooth (non-jagged) boundaries that guarantee a maximal user-defined error relative to the original mesh. Finally, these strips are unfolded to the plane, resulting in flat patterns, which may be cut and assembled from paper. The approximation quality is controlled by a user-supplied parameter specifying the allowed Hausdorff distance between the input mesh and its piecewise-developable approximation. The strips generated by our algorithm may be parameterized to conform with the parameterization of the original mesh, if given, to facilitate texture mapping. We demonstrate this by physically assembling paper-craft models from the strips generated by our algorithm when run on several polygonal 3D mesh data sets. Crown

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-591
Number of pages16
JournalComputer Aided Geometric Design
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


  • Developable surface
  • Hausdorff distance
  • Mesh approximation
  • Paper-craft


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