Solidifying Wireframes

Vinod Srinivasan, Esan Mandal and Ergun Akleman
Renaissance Banff: Mathematics, Music, Art, Culture (2005)
Pages 203–210


In this paper we present a method to convert a wireframe mesh into a 2-manifold mesh consisting of cylindrical pipes in place of the edges and joints in place of the vertices in the original mesh. Our method allows users to create unique artistic depictions of common objects and structures. The resulting mesh is also more effective at conveying the overall 3D structure and any internal elements of a model when compared to regular wireframe or boundary representations. The input wireframe mesh can be any collection of linear edges; they do not have to form a manifold surface or even be connected to each other. The result is always an orientable 2-manifold surface. Our algorithm replaces every edge in the wireframe mesh with a cylindrical 3D pipe. The pipes are connected to each other using 3D joints created at the vertices in the wireframe where the edges meet. Our method has been implemented as part of a polygonal mesh modeling system and has been used to create artistic models of popular architectural structures as well as to create conceptual sketches for virtual environments.