The curve-skeleton of a 3D object is an abstract geometrical and topological representation of its 3D shape. It maps the spatial relation of geometrically meaningful parts to a graph structure. Each arc of this graph represents a part of the object with roughly constant diameter or thickness, and approximates its centerline. This makes the curve-skeleton suitable to describe and handle articulated objects such as characters for animation. We present an algorithm to extract such a skeleton on-the-fly, both from point clouds and polygonal meshes. The algorithm is based on a deformable model evolution that captures the object’s volumetric shape. The deformable model involves multiple competing fronts which evolve inside the object in a coarse-to-fine manner. We first track these fronts’ centers, and then merge and filter the resulting arcs to obtain a curve-skeleton of the object. The process inherits the robustness of the reconstruction technique, being able to cope with noisy input, intricate geometry and complex topology. It creates a natural segmentation of the object and computes a center curve for each segment while maintaining a full correspondence between the skeleton and the boundary of the object.