This paper introduces anew free-form surface representation scheme for the purpose of fast and accurate registration and matching. Accurate registration of surfaces is a common task in computer vision. The proposed representation scheme captures the surface curvature information (seen from certain points) and produces images, called "surface signatures," at these points. Matching signatures of different surfaces enables the recovery of the transformation parameters between these surfaces. We propose using template matching to compare the signature images. To enable partial matching, another criterion, the overlap ratio is used. This representation scheme can be used as a global representation of the surface as well as a local one and performs near real-time registration. We show that the signature representation can be used to recover scaling transformation as well as matching objects in 3D scenes in the presence of clutter and occlusion. Applications presented include: free-form object matching, multimodal medical volumes registration, and dental teeth reconstruction from intraoral images.