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Importing From 3DS Max?

Posted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:01 pm
by hpesoj
I'm sure many similar questions have been asked before, but I have searched and I am still not sure of the answer to the following question:

Which format(s) can be exported from 3DS max and imported by Blender, that contain armature and, if possible, uv data?

I don't have 3DS max, so I can't test this for myself, but someone I know has rigged a model in 3DS max, and it needs to be animated in Blender.

The general concencus in the threads I searched seemed to be that .OBJ is the best format for compatability, but I don't know whether this maintains armature data as well.

Thanks for any help in advance.

Posted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:43 pm
by solmax
.OBJ doesn't take in to account armature data. Maybe I'm not up to date, but blender doesn't seem to be able to import a format that contains both meshes and bone structures at the same time.

a workaround (and this is just a theory) would be a two-stage export (and a two-stage import):

1 - .OBJ for the mesh data
2 - .bvh for the bone movement

The best format for such a task would be .FBX (motion builder), since it is common to most of the "big" apps out there. However, it seems that the SDK for writing a .FBX import/export plugin costs a substantial amount of money, so that it (still) hasn't found it's way into blender.

Hope you'll find a way.


Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:46 am
by alelink
the "AUTODESK" fbx sdk, seems to be free.
this is the link: ... id=6839916

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:00 am
by oin
I think you also posted at Elysiun...I replied there ... :

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 1:35 pm
by hpesoj
Thanks all. Oin's link seems to look the most promising, as I need to keep the vertex groups also (forgot to mention that but it seems obvious). Here is the direct link for anyone who is too lazy to search the doom3 forums:

importing/exporting 3d max files

Posted: Fri May 05, 2006 5:34 pm
by nude0007
NEWBIE ALERT!!! I have barely downloaded the program, so apologies for my newbie-ness, but my reason for seeking out and d-loading it was that I have this game called Freedom Force. It uses 3d max files for its characters. I have been unable to figure out (or find any reference how to ) how to open a max file in the program. I need to know if it will (seems it would) and how. Sure, I don't know how to do anything at all yet, but if I can't do this, then the program is useless to me. I can learn how to do things later, if I know it can import the max file and export it back into a format that the afforementioned game can use.

Help is appreciated greatly, of course.

Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 11:05 pm
by solmax
blender can't read or write the .max file format. it can read and write the old (but still common) .3ds format which was introduced with 3d Studio for DOS (looong ago).

Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 3:42 am
by nude0007
thanks solmax, you have saved me a lot of time and headache.

one more thing: Is there a free program that will convert a 3d max file to and from the original 3ds format? If there is I can still use blender, obviously.

Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 4:25 am
by LetterRip
There is no program that I'm aware (free or commercial) asside from 3ds max that will read the 3ds max format.


Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 11:11 am
by anlumo
nude0007 wrote:Is there a free program that will convert a 3d max file to and from the original 3ds format? If there is I can still use blender, obviously.
AFAIK .max is like a macro in 3DS max, which means that the file contains the commands that 3DStudio Max has to execute in order to get the stored model. That means that if you want to write a .max importer, you have to re-create all of 3DStudio Max, which is a rather challenging task. That's why nobody has done that before.
.3ds however is a simple text format that contains the vertex data in structured blocks, which is easy to parse.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 4:38 pm
by Niels
I am also a newbie and i have a question about functionality. Is it possible to import an animated 3ds file in blender and keep the timeline and movement?

Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 8:03 pm
by solmax
I remember I had a trial version of a 3D scene viewer supporting various formats, including max. I don't think those guys had to rebuild max from scratch just to make objects visible. I don't remember the name of the proggie, but a google search with the keywords "3ds max file viewer" returned some promising search results. Probably the next step to a converter isn't too far.

Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 2:02 pm
by LetterRip

the program was likely refering to the 3ds format which is what 3ds max used to use as its default format long ago.


Posted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:09 pm
by scourage
just for clairification:

the .3ds format is a binary, chunk based format that can have chunks within chunks. Most of the chunk ID's have been "documented" but not by Autodesk or discreet (or whatever they are calling themselves today). The .max format is allegedly similar, but not the same. There is no documentation currently available about the .max format (hence no import/export scripts).

I believe that the current version of the .3ds scripts import some keyframe data from looking at the script. I haven't used it for that, so I can't be sure that it is working 100%.



Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:39 pm
by scourage
ambeerli wrote:How long does it take to learn how to create great animations with 3D Studio Max? I am very interested in animating and it's what i want to do. I am curious about the learning curve, naturally. About how long would it take me to really get 3D Studio max down to the point where I can make great animations. Also, about how long does it take to create a great model along with the textures and create ashort animation? And what's the hardest part? The modeling, animation, or texturing? In danger of falling for troll bait, here I go:

You responded to a 5 year old dead thread with a very off topic question about another 3D modeling package. Your necromancy skills are unheard of. In the future, please start a new thread. I would also recommend visiting, it's a fairly active user community with lots of people that can help. Oh, and the focus is Blender, not 3D studio max. Not too many people use 3D studio max here.

To answer your questions, the Blender learning curve can be pretty big. Modeling, texturing, and animating all require different skill sets and depending on what you have experience with, they're all going to be different. It also depends on you. You can be a very talented artist, but your animations will need lots of work or vice-versa. There is a lot of Blender tutorials out there that you can use to learn how to do just about everything you want to know ( People who are extremely talented with Blender can go from concept to finished product (a few minute short) in a couple of weeks. Other people take longer. The hardest part depends on where your particular talents lay.

Please start a new thread in the beginners forums for more help.