VR(3D) Modeling Datatypes

By Giuse Nguyen:

A quick run down of the various 3D modeling datatypes and their subsequent visualization in VR environments. 3D modeling is the basis for many VR visual experiences, as the views seen in VR are either 2D backgrounds, or 3D models a user can step-through/interact with.

List of 3D model file types I am currently aware of:

  • 3DS

  • Collada

  • DWG

  • DXF

  • FBX

  • KMZ

  • VRML

  • XSI

There are clearly more but the ones I have experience with are listed below.

Wavefront -.obj - Owned by Wavefront, it is a list of vertex information. Compatible with both Unity and Paraview.

Filmbox - .fbx - Owned by Autodesk, it is one of the preferred Unity imports as it allows for animations as well. Not compatible with Paraview. Look at Maya tutorial for information on porting basics.

Collada - .dae - Owned by Khronos Group, an NPO, compatible with Unity and not Paraview. A highly flexible modeling file type but due to its opensource nature there may be occasional bugs/settings users need to get used to, like making sure to have both sides of a 3d triangle be visible. (camera inside of model makes it transparent initially for better or worse).

For further reading, I actually do recommend Wikipedia over the source company's manual pdfs, as Wikipedia explains both from an average user and computer scientist perspective many of the important features and use cases of these file types. The only exception would be COLLADA, but that's due to personal preference of KHRONOS documentation.