The Visual Computer

, Volume 30, Issue 6–8, pp 763–771 | Cite as

Hybrid tree reconstruction from inhomogeneous point clouds

  • Fabian AiteanuEmail author
  • Reinhard Klein
Original Article


Trees are an important asset for natural-looking digital environments. We propose a novel method to automatically reconstruct tree geometry from inhomogeneous point clouds created by a laser scanner. While previous approaches focus either on dense or sparse point clouds, our hybrid method allows for the reconstruction of a tree from an inhomogeneous point cloud without further preprocessing. Using principal curvatures as indicators for branches, we detect ellipses in branch cross-sections and create branch skeletons for dense regions. For sparse regions we approximate branch skeletons with a spanning tree. Branch widths are obtained from the ellipse fitting in dense regions and propagated to the sparse regions, to create geometry for the whole tree. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach in several real-world examples.


Point clouds Reconstruction Trees 



We want to thank Martin Blome for providing the scanned tree data used throughout this paper. This work was partially funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under grant KL 1142/9-1 (Mapping on Demand).


  1. 1.
    Bucksch, A., Lindenbergh, R., Menenti, M.: Skeltre—robust skeleton extraction from imperfect point clouds. Vis. Comput. 26(10), 1283–1300 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chen, X., Neubert, B., Xu, Y.Q., Deussen, O., Kang, S.B.: Sketch-based tree modeling using markov random field. ACM Trans. Graph. (TOG) 27(5), 109:1–109:9 (2008)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fitzgibbon, A., Pilu, M., Fisher, R.B.: Direct least square fitting of ellipses. IEEE Trans. Pattern Anal. Mach. Intell. 21(5), 476–480 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Honda, H.: Description of the form of trees by the parameters of the tree-like body: effects of the branching angle and the branch length on the shape of the tree-like body. J. Theor. Biol. 31(2), 331–338 (1971)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Huang, H., Wu, S., Cohen-Or, D., Gong, M., Zhang, H., Li, G., B.Chen: L1-medial skeleton of point cloud. ACM Trans. Graph. (TOG) 32, 65:1–65:8 (2013)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jayaratna, S.: Tree reconstruction from 3D point clouds (german). Master’s thesis, University of Bonn, Institute of Computer Graphics (2009)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Klasing, K., Althoff, D., Wollherr, D., Buss, M.: Comparison of surface normal estimation methods for range sensing applications. In: IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2009. ICRA’09, pp. 3206–3211. IEEE (2009)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Livny, Y., Pirk, S., Cheng, Z., Yan, F., Deussen, O., Cohen-Or, D., Chen, B.: Texture-lobes for tree modelling. ACM Trans. Graph. (TOG) 30(4), 53:1–53:10 (2011)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Livny, Y., Yan, F., Olson, M., Chen, B., Zhang, H., El-Sana, J.: Automatic reconstruction of tree skeletal structures from point clouds. In: ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), vol. 29, p. 151. ACM (2010)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Neubert, B., Franken, T., Deussen, O.: Approximate image-based tree-modeling using particle flows. In: ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), vol. 26, p. 88. ACM (2007)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Pfeifer, N., Gorte, B., Winterhalder, D.: Automatic reconstruction of single trees from terrestrial laser scanner data. In: Proceedings of 20th ISPRS Congress, pp. 114–119 (2004)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Prusinkiewicz, P., Lindenmayer, A., Hanan, J.S., Fracchia, F.D., Fowler, D.R., de Boer, M.J., Mercer, L.: The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants, vol. 2. Springer, New York (1990)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Quan, L., Tan, P., Zeng, G., Yuan, L., Wang, J., Kang, S.B.: Image-based plant modeling. In: ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), vol. 25, pp. 599–604. ACM (2006)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Reche-Martinez, A., Martin, I., Drettakis, G.: Volumetric reconstruction and interactive rendering of trees from photographs. In: ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), vol. 23, pp. 720–727. ACM (2004)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rosin, P.L.: A note on the least squares fitting of ellipses. Pattern Recognit. Lett. 14(10), 799–808 (1993)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Shlyakhter, I., Rozenoer, M., Dorsey, J., Teller, S.: Reconstructing 3d tree models from instrumented photographs. IEEE Comput. Graph. Appl. 21(3), 53–61 (2001)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tagliasacchi, A., Zhang, H., Cohen-Or, D.: Curve skeleton extraction from incomplete point cloud. In: ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), vol. 28, p. 71. ACM (2009)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Tan, P., Zeng, G., Wang, J., Kang, S.B., Quan, L.: Image-based tree modeling. ACM Trans. Graph. (TOG) 26(3), 87 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Taubin, G.: Estimation of planar curves, surfaces, and nonplanar space curves defined by implicit equations with applications to edge and range image segmentation. IEEE Trans. Pattern Anal. Mach. Intell. 13(11), 1115–1138 (1991)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Wang, Y., Chang, X., Ning, X., Zhang, J., Shi, Z., Zhao, M., Wang, Q.: Tree branching reconstruction from unilateral point clouds. In: Pan, Z., Cheok, A., Müller, W., Chang, M., Zhang, M. (eds.) Transactions on Edutainment VIII. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 7220, pp. 250–263. Springer, Berlin (2012)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wither, J., Boudon, F., Cani, M.P., Godin, C.: Structure from silhouettes: a new paradigm for fast sketch-based design of trees. In: Computer Graphics Forum, vol. 28, pp. 541–550. Wiley Online Library (2009) Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Xu, H., Gossett, N., Chen, B.: Knowledge and heuristic-based modeling of laser-scanned trees. ACM Trans. Graph. (TOG) 26(4), 19 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Yan, D.M., Wintz, J., Mourrain, B., Wang, W., Boudon, F., Godin, C.: Efficient and robust reconstruction of botanical branching structure from laser scanned points. In: 11th IEEE International Conference on Computer-Aided Design and Computer Graphics, 2009. CAD/Graphics’ 09, pp. 572–575. IEEE (2009)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Zhang, X., Li, H., Cheng, Z., Zhang, Y.: Robust curvature estimation and geometry analysis of 3d point cloud surfaces. J. Inf. Comput. Sci. 6(5), 1983–1990 (2009)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Zhang, Z.: Parameter estimation techniques: a tutorial with application to conic fitting. Image Vis. Comput. 15(1), 59–76 (1997)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer GraphicsUniversity of BonnBonnGermany

Personalised recommendations