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Best 3D file format for Importing

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Hey Everyone,


Just wondering what everyones preferred file format for importing Complex 3D files into Vectorworks is. I have tired 3DS and OBJ  but with both Vectorworks seems to struggle with a bit. 


My Machine is

AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT

64gb RAM

1gb Samsung SSD 970 EVO

GeForce RTX 2080TI


The main slow part is importing. Takes hours and when I check the performance of what the PC is doing nothing is stressing out so that makes me think that Vectorworks its self is struggling with it.


Thanks for the help



Edited by JonnyC

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You mean 3D Mesh formats, like from Blender, Modo, C4D, ....

not CAD files ?


In this case VW import options are a bit limiting.

Beside most CAD Apps don't really like Mesh data.

(I think VW is even on the better side here)


If it is about CAD exchange,

I always try to get exports in IFC or DWG first,

if not possible I would accept, in the worst case, RVT, DXF than Rhino.

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Yea not CAD files. For example its a set drawing that has been made which I want to get into vision. Im pretty sure its made in Rhino. Would IFC or DWG be better than OBJ and 3DS?


I might see if I can get it either of those and try them.



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It very much depends on the quality of the file, which varies a lot. I personally use OBJ for the most part as the program I export from typically delivers rock solid results with perfect UV mapping of textures. The results are consistent when importing to a wide range of programs. I have however found that you have to try a few formats when the model comes from an unknown source. This applies to many programs that can read these file types, even high end ones heavily relying on being able to import files. So, the conclusion is to try to get at least a few different file types and use the file type providing the best possible result with any given file. 

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If it is from Rhino,

I would try Rhino import first if you can get the file.


Well, I did some Rhino import tests and for me it was not so useful ...

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I totally agree with  Claes. I import a lot of objects into  VW and for me, obj works the best in most cases. Mainly because the textures on the object(s) are very faithful to how they should appear.  That said, many times after import you will need to flip the orientation and sometimes scale the objects. I will say that the only other choice is 3ds, but I have found that less reliable, especially where  ore complex textures are in involved.

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Just importing a model correctly is unfortunately not good enough. On the OBJ side, VW could improve it substantially by leaving the original internal file and object / texture  structure alone. As it is now, it tends to merge things into meshes in a completely erratic way. It effectively stops models from being edited and textured in an efficient way. I have bug reported it.  

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