Volumetric subdivision for consistent implicit mesh generation

Christian Altenhofen*, Felix Schuwirth, André Stork, Dieter Fellner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we present a novel approach for a tighter integration of 3D modeling and physically-based simulation. Instead of modeling 3D objects as surface models, we use a volumetric subdivision representation. Volumetric modeling operations allow designing 3D objects in similar ways as with surface-based modeling tools, while automatic checks and modifications of inner control points ensure consistency during the design process. Encoding the volumetric information already in the design mesh drastically simplifies and speeds up the mesh generation process for simulation. The transition between design, simulation and back to design is consistent and computationally cheap. Since the subdivision and mesh generation can be expressed as a precomputable matrix-vector multiplication, iteration times can be greatly reduced compared to common modeling and simulation setups. Therefore, this approach is especially well suited for early-stage modeling or optimization use cases, where many geometric changes are made in a short time and their physical effect on the model has to be evaluated frequently. To test our approach, we created, simulated and adapted several 3D models. We measured and evaluated the timings for generating and applying the matrices for different subdivision levels. Additionally, we computed several characteristic factors for mesh quality and mesh consistency. For comparison, we analyzed the tetrahedral meshing functionality offered by CGAL for similar numbers of elements. For changing topology, our implicit meshing approach proves to be up to 70 times faster than creating the tetrahedral mesh only based on the outer surface. Without changing the topology and by precomputing the matrices, we achieve a speed-up of up to 2800, as all the required information is already available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-79
Number of pages12
JournalComputers & Graphics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Finite element method
  • Mesh generation
  • Physically-based simulation
  • Tetrahedral meshing
  • Volumetric modeling
  • Volumetric subdivision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

Fields of Expertise

  • Information, Communication & Computing

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