Four classes of shape representation are dominating nowadays in computer-supported design and modeling of products, (1) point clouds, (2) surface meshes, (3) solid/surface models and (4) design/styling models. To support applications such as high-level shape design, feature-based design, shape modeling, shape analysis, rapid prototyping, feature recognition and shape presentation, it is required that transitions among and within the four representation classes take place. Transitions from a “lower” representation class to “higher” class are far from trivial, and at the same time highly demanded for reverse design purposes. New methods and algorithms are needed to accomplish new transitions. A characterization of the four classes is presented, the most relevant transitions are reviewed and a relatively new transition, from point cloud directly to design/styling model is proposed and experimented. The importance of this transition for new methods of shape reuse and redesign is pointed out and demonstrated.

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