We propose a method for constructing generative models of 3D objects from a single 3D mesh. Our method produces a 3D morphable model that represents shape and albedo in terms of Gaussian processes. We define the shape deformations in physical (3D) space and the albedo deformations as a combination of physical-space and color-space deformations. Whereas previous approaches have typically built 3D morphable models from multiple high-quality 3D scans through principal component analysis, we build 3D morphable models from a single scan or template. We demonstrate the utility of these models in the domain of face modeling through inverse rendering and registration tasks. Specifically, we show that our approach can be used to perform face recognition using only a single 3D scan (one scan total, not one per person), and further demonstrate how multiple scans can be incorporated to improve performance without requiring dense correspondence. Our approach enables the synthesis of 3D morphable models for 3D object categories where dense correspondence between multiple scans is unavailable. We demonstrate this by constructing additional 3D morphable models for fish and birds and use them to perform simple inverse rendering tasks.