Early experiences with a 3D model search engine

Patrick Min, John A. Halderman, Michael Kazhdan, Thomas A. Funkhouser

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


New acquisition and modeling tools make it easier to create 3D models, and affordable and powerful graphics hardware makes it easier to use them. As a result, the number of 3D models available on the web is increasing rapidly. How-ever, it is still not as easy to find 3D models as it is to find, for example, text documents and images. What is needed is a "3D model search engine," a specialized search engine that targets 3D models. We created a prototype 3D model search engine to investigate the design and implementation issues. Our search engine can be partitioned into three main components: (1) acquisition: 3D models have to be collected from the web, (2) analysis: they have to be analyzed for later matching, and (3) query processing and matching: an online system has to match user queries to the collected 3D models. Our site currently indexes over 36,000 models, of which about 31,000 are freely available. In addition to a text search interface, it offers several 3D and 2D shape-based query interfaces. Since it went online one year ago (in November 2001), it has processed over 148,000 searches from 37,800 hosts in 103 different countries. Currently 20-25% of the about 1,000 visitors per week are returning users. This paper reports on our initial experiences designing, building, and running the 3D model search engine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-18+201
JournalWeb3D Symposium Proceedings
StatePublished - 2003
EventProceedings Web3D 2002 Symposium: 7th International Conference on 3D Web Technology - Tempe,AZ, United States
Duration: Feb 24 2002Feb 28 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


  • 3D model database
  • Shape matching
  • Shape query interfaces
  • Specialized search engine


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