A search engine for 3D models
As the number of 3D models available on the Web grows, there is an increasing need for a search engine to help people find them. Unfortunately, traditional text-based search techniques are not always effective for 3D data. In this article, we investigate new shape-based search methods. The key challenges are to develop query methods simple enough for novice users and matching algorithms robust enough to work for arbitrary polygonal models. We present a Web-based search engine system that supports queries based on 3D sketches, 2D sketches, 3D models, and/or text keywords. For the shape-based queries, we have developed a new matching algorithm that uses spherical harmonics to compute discriminating similarity measures without requiring repair of model degeneracies or alignment of orientations. It provides 46 to 245% better performance than related shape-matching methods during precision--recall experiments, and it is fast enough to return query results from a repository of 20,000 models in under a second. The net result is a growing interactive index of 3D models available on the Web (i.e., a Google for 3D models).