This paper newly proposes a mesh regularization method for the enhancement of the efficiency in sheet metal forming analysis. The regularization method searches for distorted elements with appropriate searching criteria and constructs patches including the elements to be modified. Each patch is then extended to a three-dimensional surface in order to obtain the information of the continuous coordinates. In constructing the surface enclosing each patch, NURBS (non-uniform rational B-spline) surface is employed to describe a three-dimensional free surface. On the basis of the constructed surface, each node is properly arranged to form unit elements as close as to a square. The state variables calculated from its original mesh geometry are mapped into the new mesh geometry for the next stage or incremental step of a forming analysis. The analysis results with the proposed method are compared to the results from the direct forming analysis without mesh regularization in order to confirm the validity of the method. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.