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In this paper, a novel method of the surface reconstruction from a single monocular image is proposed. Our proposed approach (called shape from knowledge) is based on the knowledge of objects, which is acquired by learning from a number of samples. To achieve this, we investigate making use of the hidden Markov model (HMM) framework, which models the correspondence between an intensity image an its depth information. We have applied our algorithm to the 3-D face and 3-D hand reconstruction from single images, and the results show the effectiveness of the proposed method.