Suggestive contours for conveying shape

Doug Decarlo, Adam Finkelstein, Szymon Rusinkiewicz, Anthony Santella

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

346 Scopus citations


In this paper, we describe a non-photorealistic rendering system that conveys shape using lines. We go beyond contours and creases by developing a new type of line to draw: the suggestive contour. Suggestive contours are lines drawn on clearly visible parts of the surface, where a true contour would first appear with a minimal change in viewpoint. We provide two methods for calculating suggestive contours, including an algorithm that finds the zero crossings of the radial curvature. We show that suggestive contours can be drawn consistently with true contours, because they anticipate and extend them. We present a variety of results, arguing that these images convey shape more effectively than contour alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)848-855
Number of pages8
JournalACM Transactions on Graphics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2003
EventACM SIGGRAPH 2003 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Jul 27 2003Jul 31 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


  • Contours
  • Non-photorealistic rendering
  • Silhouettes


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