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.obj, .x, .3dmf.. there are so many.

Sometimes its nearly impossible to find import plug-ins for loading some particularly weird extension into popular modelling software.

What is the best model format to use when you're exporting something, that you ideally hope to be readable by people "in the past" (running really old software) and "in the future" (5 years from now?)

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

My conclusion: wavefront .obj

The reason is its been around at least since the 80's, its supported as an import file format in at least:

  • all versions of Maya
  • 3ds max
  • blender
  • milkshape 3d
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do you want to tell us why? :) – mihi Jul 31 '09 at 16:12

Maybe I am biased here, but I prefer Blender's File Format, and since blender is Open Source I don't see that getting lost anytime soon (this format is both upwards and downwards compatible)

Also, form my Experience fbx files Port pretty well, but you might try an Open Source format like collada and write your own importer/get someone to write it for you/find someone that already wrote one (which is not rare for collada).

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Good point here - anybody can get blender at any time and install it and use its export tools.. but the question was about any format that all 3d tools can open without having to go through a bunch of import export stufff – bobobobo Jul 31 '09 at 15:47

DXF used to be the format a few years ago; everything knew about it.

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