Free 3d file format.

Is there any 3D file format avaiable under any of free license. I don’t thibk 3ds is a open format.


You don’t need to license file formats just read and possibly write them.

There are many formats with different features and complexities.

You may want to start with Inventor or VRML, (not that I’m recommending that.) or one of the various game model formats that come with half life quake or unreal that are pretty much open and documented.

I would start off reading in Alias|Wavefront .obj files. They are simple ascii files. Maya can export them, and you can find converters to convert almost any 3d file type to them.

There’s a decenet tutorial on reading them and display them at under tutorials->opengl.

There’s also documentation at


Similar to OBJ files are ASE files that can be exported from 3ds max. They are simple text files that can be opened and read from any text editor.

OBJ and ASE are probably your best bet for simple projects. Once you get to the advanced stuff, you’ll need to write your own exporters.