Blender is being used a lot as part of a pipeline, thus having a great need for import and export of various formats. In this article I list what formats used to be supported in Blender 2.4x series and how well these did their jobs, and then compare them to the current status.

I try to be as complete as possible, but since there are lots of those formats available in both versions I”m bound to overlook something. Feel free to comment about that too, and I”ll modify this article accordingly.

We”re seeking through this article feedback from users on the formats and the take is on how much should be officially supported, and what should we expect the user community to maintain. For Blender 2.5x we have a mechanism to show what is officially supported (considered core to Blender) and what not. Not so long ago this happened in such a way that core import/export scripts resided inside bf-blender repository, but this month we saw a shift towards having those (Python) scripts also hosted in the bf-extensions repository. One reason is to tap into the large scripter user base we have: instead of giving every potential fixer write access to bf-blender repository, we can now defer that to bf-extensions, where this can be managed in a nicer manner without having to control bf-blender repository access more (our centralized approach to write access and such can be discussed to great lengths, but that”s not further the focus of this article).

In Blender 2.4 we have the following list of formats supported, import, export or both.

Blender 2.4x Blender 2.5x
script import export import export official notes
3D Studio (.3ds) V V V V V
AC3D (.ac3d) V
BioVision Motion Capture (.bvh) V V V V
C3D Motion Capture (.c3d) V
Camera Animation export (.py) V V
COLLADA (.dae) V V V V V not a script since 2.5
Direct X (.x) V V V V
Autodesk DXF (.dxf/.dwg) V V V
DEC Object File Format (.off) V V
Video Edit EDL (.edl) V
Autodesk FBX (.fbx) V V
GIMP Image to Scene (.xcf/.xjt) V
HiRISE DTM(.img) V
Lightwave Object (.lwo) V V V
Make Human (.mxh) V
Mobile 3D Graphics (.m3g/.java) V
Quake Map (.map) V
Newtek MDD (Vertex Keyframe) V V V V V
Quake 2 (.md2) V V
Wavefront (.obj) V V V V V
OpenInventor (.iv) V
OpenFlight (.flt) V V
Blizzard M3 (.m3) V
Milkshape 3D (.ms3d) V V
Ogre Mesh (.mesh) V externally developed for 2.5
Ogre Scene (.scene) V externally developed for 2.5
SVG/EPS/AI (.svg, .ps, .eps, .ai, Gimp) V
Stanford PLY (.ply) V V V V V
STL (.stl) V V V
RAW vertices and faces (.raw) V V V V
Pro Engineer (.slp) V
Unreal Skeletal Mesh and Animation (.psk/.psa) V
Pointcache (.pc2) V
VRML97 (.wrl) V V V V
X3D (.x3d) V V V V
XNA (.fbx) V
Softimage XSI (.xsi) V

Many formats have already been ported to the new Blender 2.5 platform and as you can see from the table, we”ve selected currently a few scripts that we more or less support officially.

We”re seeking now feedback from users on the current list of officially supported scripts and on the available formats as a whole. Is it complete? Too much? Of course, input on the working level of formats is also welcome.

As I wrote earlier on this blog, we have now a team to work on our COLLADA support, and since last week there has been also huge interest in our efforts to improve our current integration level from Rémi Arnaud and OpenCOLLADA. Still enough work to be done there to be able to support the specification properly.

For the other listed official formats, much work has been done by Campbell Barton. While porting the VRML and X3D formats to our new platform, he also ensured they work better than before. Further BVH support is greatly improved.

There are many more formats to say something about, and no doubt I missed something (peculiarities for certain formats, etc.) Just notify in comments and I”ll adapt the list in this article accordingly.

To conclude this article, a short screencast about the import/export scripts and the new structure.