Extracted and collapsed editing timeline (bottom) from 9 keyframes (top) of a genuine modeling sequence with over 7.6 million polygons in total. Legend to the detected operations is listed in §5 and the full timeline is in supplemental materials.
3D Timeline: Reverse Engineering of a Part-based Provenance from Consecutive 3D Models
Jozef Doboš, Niloy J. Mitra, Anthony Steed
Eurographics 2014


We present a novel tool for reverse engineering of modeling histories from consecutive 3D files based on a timeline abstraction. Although a timeline interface is commonly used in 3D modeling packages for animations, it has not been used on geometry manipulation before. Unlike previous visualization methods that require instrumentation of editing software, our approach does not rely on pre-recorded editing instructions. Instead, each stand-alone 3D file is treated as a keyframe of a construction flow from which the editing provenance is reverse engineered. We evaluate this tool on six complex 3D sequences created in a variety of modeling tools by different professional artists and conclude that it provides useful means of visualizing and understanding the editing history. A comparative user study suggests the tool is well suited for this purpose.


Collapsed timelines for Medieval, Brick, Engine, Cruciform and Portico datasets as presented in the paper. Full timelines can be found in the supplemental materials. Please note that for brevity only a subset of the keyframes are shown for the Engine, Cruciform, and Portico datasets.


Comparison, data, etc.:

Please download supplementary material from the following link (22MB).


We would like to thank Jules Bodenstein, Marcin Klicki, Johnathan Good and Ian Brown for modeling sequences, the participants of the user study, the reviewers for their feedback, and the authors of MeshGit for releasing their software. This research was sponsored by the UK EPSRCfunded EngD. Centre in Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation (EP/G037159/1), the Rabin Ezra Trust, Arup, and the ERC Starting Grant SmartGeometry. A sabbatical at Electronic Arts informed parts of this work.


AUTHOR = "Jozef Doboš and Niloy J. Mitra and Anthony Steed",
TITLE = "3D Timeline: Reverse Engineering of a Part-based
Provenance from Consecutive 3D Models",
JOURNAL = "Computer Graphics Forum (Special issue of Eurographics 2014)",
YEAR = "2014", 
numpages = {10},

paper (10MB) paper (1MB)
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