There are a variety of 3D file formats available, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to 3D printing, animation, or 3D rendering, the file format you choose is critical to the final product.
Different 3D file formats were created for specific purposes, so choosing the right one for your needs is essential. Below are the ten main 3D file formats.
1. STL (stereolithography)
An STL file stores information about a 3D model in a series of triangular facets connected to form a mesh that 3D printers can read. Due to its simplicity and reliability, this file format has become one of the most widely used 3D modeling and printing options.
When working with this format, it is important to remember that the resolution of the STL file depends on the size and complexity of each facet. Therefore, making sure that your model has well defined edges and sufficient distance between triangles will help to produce the best results during 3D printing.
If you have problems with your STL file, there are several STL editors available that you can use to edit them or even convert them to different file formats.
2. obj (object file)
Just like STL, you can use the OBJ file format for 3D printing. The difference between these two formats is that OBJ can store additional information about the 3D model, such as materials and textures, and can also support multiple colors.
OBJ files are commonly used for computer graphics to store data on 3D models and typically contain information about object surfaces including geometry, color, texture, and material.
You can also use OBJ files to communicate 3D model information between different applications and platforms. You can export and import into various 3D designing programs.
Whether you’re working on a design project or creating digital renderings of your latest product idea, an OBJ file is sure to be an essential part of your workflow.
3. FBX (Filmbox)
FBX files help exchange animation and 3D digital content between different applications. It stores details like rigging and animation, and you can use it in a variety of settings, from video games and motion graphics to virtual reality and architectural design.
An FBX file stores several data types, including geometry, texture maps, and animation keyframes. Whether you want to create virtual environments for a video game or render realistic characters for an animated film, the versatility and flexibility of FBX files make them a reasonable file format for any digital artist or designer in the 3D media industry. Is.
4. COLADA (Collaborative Design Activity)
Like OBJ and STL, which can store mesh details, COLLADA can store additional details such as image and animation information. In addition, it uses the DAE extension (which stands for “Digital Asset Exchange”), making it easy to share digital assets across multiple programs.
These files contain 3D mesh data and information about materials, textures, and other important elements that define the visual appearance of the model. Its open-source nature makes it easily accessible and customizable to suit various purposes.
Graphic designers, animators, and game developers are just a few professionals who use COLLADA files to rapidly share 3D designs and even work together with different 3D designing programs.
5. STEP file (standard for the exchange of product data)
A STEP file, or Standard for the Interchange of Product Model Data file, is a computer-aided design format commonly used with other software to create digital models.
Unlike other standard 3D file formats, a STEP file contains graphical information, metadata, and constraints that help ensure accurate modeling, and is helpful in scenarios where the appearance of the model is essential.
You can use this format when creating digital models for prototyping or simulation software or want to invest in skills that help you take advantage of existing CAD files.
6. AMF (Additive Manufacturing File Format)
Similar to OBJ, the AMF format stores data for 3D models used in additive manufacturing or 3D printing. It can store information such as color and texture, but it can also store details of curved polygons, which can sometimes be difficult in other formats.
AMF files can contain 3D models, textures, physics data, materials, and additional information about 3D objects. Since these files can be opened and modified in multiple 3D designing software, they help share 3D files between creators and collaborators working on the same project or using the same 3D modeler software.
Additionally, because AMF files are usually reasonably small, they are a convenient way to transfer 3D objects over the Internet and to post 3D models online.