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


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.

System Pipeline:




We are grateful to Xiaolong Lou for his help with sketching; Chen Li for his help with the rendering; Cristina Amati for video voiceover; Bongjin Koo, Hung-Ku Chu, and Tao Du for their comments on the initial draft of the paper; and the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions.We are thankful to Carl Liu for the folding camera; Spencer Nugent for the toolbox and toaster oven; and Danian Yang for the lock sketches. The project was partially supported by a China Scholarship Council Fund, Adobe, NSFC grants, 973 program of China, the Open Project Program of the State Key Lab of CAD & CG, and a Marie Curie CIG.


AUTHOR = "Tianjia Shao and Wilmot Li and Kun Zhou and Weiwei Xu and Baining Guo and Niloy J. 
TITLE = "Interpreting Concept Sketches",
JOURNAL = "ACM Transactions on Graphics",
VOLUME = "32",
NUMBER = "4", 
YEAR = "2013", 
numpages = {10},

paper (20MB) paper (4MB) demo (63MB)
back to publications
back to homepage