We present a surface deformation framework for the problem of 3D shape recovery. A spatially smooth and topologieally plansible surface mesh representation is constructed via a surface evolution based technique, starting from an initial model. The initial mesh, representing the bounding surface, is refined or simplified where necessary during surface evolution using a set of local mesh transform operations so as to adapt local properties of the object surface. The final mesh obtained at convergence can adequately represent the complex surface details such as bifurcations, protrusions and large visible concavities. The performance of the proposed framework which is in fact very general and applicable to any kind of raw surface data, is demonstrated on the problem of shape reconstruction from silhouettes. Moreover, since the approach we take for surface deformation is Lagrangian, that can track changes in connectivity and geometry of the deformable mesh during surface evolution, the proposed framework can be used to build efficient time-varying representations of dynamic scones. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006.