3D modeling

3D file formats

RWX (RenderWare), COB, 3DS (3D Studio), OBJ (Wavefront Object Files ), 3DMF (QuickDraw 3D MetaFile Format), 3DML (Flatland), DXF (Autodesk's AutoCAD), SVR (Superscape Virtual Reality), ... VRML and X3D are covered separately in the "Web 3D" tutorials.


Rule, K. (1996). 3D Graphics File Formats: A Programmer's Reference. Addison-Wesley Pub Co.


3D Object File Formats
» http://cmp.felk.cvut.cz/~pajdla/Doc/3D.formats.html
[Link updated and viewed 17 March 2007]

The Graphics File Formats Page
» http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/home/mxr/gfx/3d-hi.html
[Link updated and viewed 17 March 2007]

Graphic file formats (from University of Hanover)
» http://www.tnt.uni-hannover.de/soft/compgraph/fileformats/
[Link updated and viewed 23 Feb 2005]

You'll find an extensive listing of open source, freeware, and shareware 3D modeling applications at 3dlinks.com:

» http://www.3dlinks.com/links.cfm?categoryid=1&subcategoryid=2
[Link updated and viewed 17 March 2007]

3D File Translators / file format conversion software

the Web3D Repository (a directory of 3D file translators)
» http://www.web3d.org/applications/tools/utilities_and_translators/
[Link updated and viewed 23 Feb 2005]

Crossroads 3D
» http://home.europa.com/%7Ekeithr/Crossroads/index.html


Exports VRML 2.0 and X3D. (Open source; Linux, Solaris, Irix, Mac, PPCLinux, FreeBSD, BeOS, Win95/98/2000/NT/XP)
» http://www.blender3d.org
» http://www.blender.org
[Links updated and viewed 28 Feb 2007]

See text tutorials at:
» http://www.blender.org/tutorials-help/
» http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro
and video tutorials at:
» http://www.blender.org/tutorials-help/video-tutorials/
[Links verified and viewed 2 March 2007]

The Blender wiki includes the User's Manual, tutorials and further tutorial links, models, textures, Python scripts, the Game Engine Documentation, etc, and may be accessed at:
» http://wiki.blender.org

The Blender 2.30 User Guide and Reference Guide is at:
» http://www.blender.org/documentation/htmlII/

Also see online forum, tutorials, and gallery at BlenderArtists (formerly ElYsiun):
» http://blenderartists.org/cms/index.php
[Link updated and viewed 28 Feb 2007]

Art of Illusion

"... a free, open source 3D modelling and rendering studio. It is written entirely in Java, and should be usable on any Java Virtual Machine which is compatible with J2SE 1.4 or later." Exports VRML 2.0, POV, and OBJ. Platform-independent (Linux, Mac, Win). Download from:
» http://www.artofillusion.org
and find manual and numerous tutorials at:
» http://www.artofillusion.org/documentation

Art of Illusion wiki:
» http://www.housepixels.com/aoitiki/tiki-index.php
[Links updated and viewed 2 March 2007]


open source 3D modelling package. Platform-independent (Linux, Mac, Win).
» http://www.wings3d.com
Download video tutorials from:
» http://www.3d-palace.com/tmas/videos_free.php?pid=7
[Links updated and viewed 2 March 2007]


open source 3D modelling and character animation program. (Windows)
» http://www.anim8or.com
See tutorials at:
» http://www.anim8or.com/tutorials/index.html
[Links updated and viewed 2 March 2007]


Commercial software. Download free full version 3.0 from:
» http://forms.caligari.com/forms/ts3all_free.html
and see video tutorials at:
» http://www.caligari.com/Products/trueSpace/tS7/Brochure/videos.asp
[Link updated and viewed 17 March 2007]

Misfit Model 3D

" ... an OpenGL-based 3D model editor that works with triangle-based models. It supports multi-level undo, skeletal animations, simple texturing, scripting, command-line batch processing, and a plugin system for adding new model and image filters. Complete online help is included. It is designed to be easy to use and easy to extend with plugins and scripts." (Open source; Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, Windows XP)
» http://www.misfitcode.com/misfitmodel3d/ Download latest stable version 1.2.3 from:
» http://www.misfitcode.com/misfitmodel3d/download.html
[Link updated and viewed 28 Feb 2007]


3D modeler with fully integrated ray-tracer
» http://www.equinox3d.com

Documentation (PDFs) and help at:
» http://www.equinox3d.com/Help.html
[Links updated and viewed 1 March 2007]

Cult 3D

interactive 3D animations for the web; browser plug-in + authoring kit; exports objects or scenes from 3D Studio MAX 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0
» http://www.cult3d.com
[Link updated and viewed 17 March 2007]

Tutorials at:
» http://www.cult3d.com/howto/tutorials.asp


Modeler (RWX modeller for ActiveWorlds)
» http://www.rwmodeler.com
[Link verified and viewed 28 Feb 2007]

AutoQ3D (Linux, Mac OS X, & Windows)

"A complete 3D modeling application for computing aided drafting in three dimensions. It is ideal for you to use as modeling editor for your home additions, game design, math geometrical education or whatever your imagination tells you."
» http://autoq3d.ecuadra.com
The open source 'AutoQ3D Community' edition is downloadable from:
» http://autoq3d.ecuadra.com/downloads.htm
The open source Mac OS X version is downloadable from:
» http://downloads.sourceforge.net/autoq3d/AutoQ3D110Mac.pkg.zip
[Link verified and viewed 28 Feb 2007]

3D Canvas

Not to be confused with the Apple <canvas> element. The free version of the programme exports to .obj, .raw, .nff. The inexpensive Pro version exports to additional formats, including .wrl
» http://www.amabilis.com/products.htm
[Link verified and viewed 28 Feb 2007]


3D triangle-mesh modeling program for Mac, designed especially for making compact, efficient objects for use in 3D games or on the web. Imports and exports several file formats, including DXF and optimized 3DMF. It can also be used to produce VRML for the web, models for POV-Ray, sprites, models for OpenGL applications, and more. Download:
» http://www.codenautics.com/meshwork/index.html
[Link verified and viewed 28 Feb 2007]


3DML (3D Markup Language) file format.
» http://www.flatland.com
Tutorials at:
» http://www.flatland.net/blog/?page_id=48
[Link verified and viewed 06 March 2007]


"a complete free-as-in-freedom 3D modeling, animation and rendering system. K-3D features a robust, object oriented plugin architecture, designed to scale to the needs of professional artists. It is designed from the ground up to generate motion picture quality animation using RenderMan compliant render engines. "
» http://www.k-3d.org
[Link verified and viewed 17 March 2007]


"SharpConstruct is a 3D modeling program designed to paint depth on to polygon models in real-time. Unlike traditional modeling programs, SharpConstruct makes it easy to model organic shapes. There is no need to even look at a wireframe (unless you want to). Instead, the model is manipulated much like clay — push or pull an area, smooth it, make a hollow or a hill. The entire process is both simple and organic; you won't need years of modeling experience to create detailed models in SharpConstruct". Download:
» http://sharp3d.sourceforge.net
[Link verified and viewed 28 Feb 2007]

Strata 3D

See online tutorials at:
» http://www.strata3d.com/support_tutorials.asp

Games and the broader application of game technologies The Games Alliance Source
» http://www.ga-source.com/

Half-Life / Worldcraft
» http://halflife.gamedesign.net

[Link verified and viewed 23 Feb 2005]

Epic MegaGames
» http://www.epicgames.com

» http://www.unreal.com

» http://www.unreal.co.uk
The Unreal Editing Engine (with tutorials) can be downloaded from:
» http://www.planetunreal.com/unrealed/

Unrealty (the Unreal technology used for real estate; see white paper and demo)
» http://www.unrealty.net

Digital (http://www.digitalo.com) and the VRND Project
» http://www.vrndproject.com

NuoviMundi -- network multiplayer gaming guide and game demos
» http://www.reference.it/Nuovimondi