Creating an attractive mesh animation is a laborious and time-consuming task. In this paper, we propose a practical deformation transfer algorithm to make it easier. To achieve a robust numerical solver, we perform the transfer process in the dual domain; that is, the deformations are transferred between the dual meshes of the source and target meshes. Firstly, the source animation is analyzed and visualized to help the user specify markers in the large deformation regions. Then, through respecting the coherence information, a fast and deformation-aware surface correspondence approach is presented to determine how the source animation is transferred. Finally, the transferred result can be reconstructed via dual Laplacian optimization. Various experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness and applicability of this paper. Moreover, a user study is carefully designed to perceptually validate our motivation and advantages. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.