A Survey of Deep Learning-based 3D Shape Generation

Qun-Ce Xu, Tai-Jiang Mu, Yongliang Yang

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Deep learning has been successfully used for tasks in the 2D image domain. Research on 3D computer vision and deep geometry learning has also attracted attention. Considerable achievements have been made regarding feature extraction and discrimination of 3D shapes. Following recent advances in deep generative models such as generative adversarial networks, effective generation of 3D shapes has become an active research topic. Unlike 2D images with a regular grid structure, 3D shapes have various representations, such as voxels, point clouds, meshes, and implicit functions. For deep learning of 3D shapes, shape representation has to be taken into account as there is no unified representation that can cover all tasks well. Factors such as the representativeness of geometry and topology often largely affect the quality of the generated 3D shapes. In this survey, we comprehensively review works on deep-learning-based 3D shape generation by classifying and discussing them in terms of the underlying shape representation and the architecture of the shape generator. The advantages and disadvantages of each class are further analyzed. We also consider the 3D shape datasets commonly used for shape generation. Finally, we present several potential research directions that hopefully can inspire future works on this topic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407–442
Number of pages36
JournalComputational Visual Media
Issue number3
Early online date18 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61902210) and RCUK grant CAMERA (Grant Nos. EP/M023281/1, EP/T022523/1).


  • 3D representations
  • deep learning
  • generative models
  • geometry learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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