A comparison of 3D file formats

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Informationskodning

Author: Marcus Lundgren; [2011]

Keywords: Comparison; 3D file formats; COLLADA; MD2; B3D; X;

Abstract: Choosing a 3D file format is a difficult task, as there exists a countless number of formats with different ways of storing the data. The format may be binary or clear text using XML, supporting a lot of features or just the ones that is currently required and there may be an official, or just an unofficial, specification available. This thesis compares four different 3D file formats by how they handle specific features; meshes, animation and materials. The file formats were chosen based on if they could be exported by the 3D computer graphics software Blender, if they supported the required features and if they appeared to have some form of complete specification. The formats were then evaluated by looking at the available specification and, if time permitted, creating a parser. The chosen formats were COLLADA, B3D, MD2 and X. The comparison was then conducted, comparing how they handled meshes, animation, materials, specification and file size. This was followed by a more general discussion about the formats.

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