On visual complexity of 3D shapes

Waqar Saleem, Alexander Belyaev, Danyi Wang, Hans Peter Seidel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


We present an approach to compute the perceived complexity of a given 3D shape using the similarity between its views. Previous studies on 3D shape complexity relied on geometric and/or topological properties of the shape and are not appropriate for incorporating results from human shape perception which claim that humans perceive 3D shapes as organizations of 2D views. Therefore, we base our approach to computing 3D shape complexity on the (dis)similarity matrix of the shape's 2D views. To illustrate the application of our approach, we note that simple shapes lead to similar views whereas complex ones result in different, dissimilar views. This reflected in the View Similarity Graph (VSG) of a shape as tight clusters of points if the shape is simple and increasingly dispersed points as it gets more complex. To get a visual intuition of the VSG, we project it to 2D using Multi-Dimensional Scaling (MDS) and introduce measures to compute shape complexity through point dispersion in the resulting MDS plot. Experiments show that results obtained using our measures alleviate some of the drawbacks present in previous approaches. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-585
Number of pages6
JournalComputers and Graphics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • 3D shape complexity
  • MDS
  • Shape perception
  • View similarity


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