Surfaces with negative Euler characteristic numbers admit hyperbolic structures and allow hyperbolic geometry. All surfaces admit real projective structures and are equipped with real projective geometry. Because of their general existence, both hyperbolic structures and real projective structures have the potential to replace the role of affine structures in defining manifold splines.
This paper introduces theoretically rigorous and practically simple algorithms to compute hyperbolic structures and real projective structures for general surfaces. The method is based on a novel geometric tool - discrete variational Ricci flow. Any metric surface admits a special uniformization metric, which is conformal to its original metric and induces constant curvature. Ricci flow is an efficient method to calculate the uniformization metric, which determines the hyperbolic structure and real projective structure.
The algorithms have been verified on real surfaces scanned from sculptures. The method is efficient and robust in practice. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work of introducing algorithms based on Ricci flow to compute hyperbolic structure and real projective structure.
More importantly, this work introduces the framework of general geometric structures, which enable different geometries to be defined on manifolds and lay down the theoretical foundation for many important applications in geometric modeling.