Shape conceptualization is considered as an iterative search process with the goal to gather, generate, represent, transform, manipulate, and communicate information and knowledge related to various kinds of shape concepts. The search for shape concepts is not focused on finding a specific solution, but on exploring, analyzing and comparing various alternatives. This search is vague because shape concepts and mental models are abstract, uncertain, and incomplete. They gradually become concrete, definite, and complete as the design process advances. Therefore, the main challenges for model representation of shape design concepts are (a) facilitation of capturing, transforming and manipulating uncertain, incomplete, and abstract mental images by computer, and (b) handling coexistence of shape alternatives. Due to these features, the development of computer aided conceptual design systems for shape conceptualization applications is not without problems. Intensive research is carried on to solve the problems and to propose solutions. Due to the wide horizon of research and the lack of papers surveying the progress and the open issues, there is no comprehensive picture on the state of the art. Starting out from the methods and tools developed for shape modeling, this study investigates the means for shape conceptualization. First, a reasoning scheme is introduced to make the investigation systematic. From the point of view of information captured in a representation on a shape, simplified, nominal, and expanded shape modeling methods have been found and investigated. The paper concludes about an optimum modeling approach, which melt the advantages of the present techniques and extends it with new features.

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