Supported Mesh File Formats

Output File Formats

  • The results of SEQUOIA are polygonal meshes which can be exported to other 3D applications for further processing and use.
  • SEQUOIA can export the following mesh file formats:

Thinkbox XMesh File Format

  • XMesh is the native mesh file format of SEQUOIA.
  • XMesh was developed in a Visual Effects production pipeline in 2005, with commercial XMesh Saver plugins available for Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya since 2011.
  • Pros
    • Free XMesh Loader plugins are currently available for Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya, and The Foundry NUKE.
    • The file format is very compact thanks to per-channel compression.
    • Individual channels are saved and loaded in separate threads for high-performance reading and writing.
    • Supports all relevant data channels generated by Sequoia.
  • Cons
    • Proprietary Thinkbox Software file format.
    • Not widely used outside of the Visual Effects industry.

OBJ File Format

  • Pros
    • The Wavefront OBJ file format is considered the lowest common denominator among the mesh file formats.
    • It is supported by nearly every 3D application.
    • It is very easy to read and edit by a human if necessary.
    • It supports UV coordinates for texture mapping.
  • Cons
    • OBJ is ASCII text based, resulting in very large files.
    • The original OBJ specification does not support per-vertex color data, and although an extension of the format exists that supports Colors, Sequoia currently does not support it.

PLY File Format

  • PLY on Wikipedia:

    PLY is a computer file format known as the Polygon File Format or the Stanford Triangle Format. It was principally designed to store three-dimensional data from 3D scanners. The data storage format supports a relatively simple description of a single object as a list of nominally flat polygons. A variety of properties can be stored, including: color and transparency, surface normals, texture coordinates and data confidence values.

STL File Format

  • STL on Wikipedia:

    STL (STereoLithography) is a file format native to the stereolithography CAD software created by 3D Systems. This file format is supported by many other software packages; it is widely used for rapid prototyping, 3D printing and computer-aided manufacturing. STL files describe only the surface geometry of a three-dimensional object without any representation of color, texture or other common CAD model attributes. The STL format specifies both ASCII and binary representations. Binary files are more common, since they are more compact.

  • Note

    • Sequoia supports an extension to the STL file format to include Color data.
    • Loading an STL file back into Sequoia will show the correct vertex Color data.
    • It might not be supported by all other 3D applications that can read STL files.

U3D Universal 3D File Format

  • U3D on Wikipedia:

    Universal 3D (U3D) is a compressed file format standard for 3D computer graphics data. The format was defined by a special consortium called 3D Industry Forum that brought together a diverse group of companies and organizations, including Intel, Boeing, HP, Adobe Systems, Bentley Systems, Right Hemisphere and others whose main focus had been the promotional development of 3D graphics for use in various industries, specifically at this time manufacturing as well as construction and industrial plant design. The format was later standardized by Ecma International in August 2005 as ECMA-363. The goal is a universal standard for three-dimensional data of all kinds, to facilitate data exchange. The consortium promoted also the development of an open source library for facilitating the adoption of the format. The format is natively supported by the PDF format and 3D objects in U3D format can be inserted into PDF documents and interactively visualized by Acrobat Reader (since version 7).

  • Note

    • Sequoia supports U3D primarily as a necessary component for 3D PDF export.

3D PDF File Format

  • 3D PDF is an extension of the Adobe Portable Document Format.
  • A 3D scene content exported in the U3D file format (see above) can be embedded in a document.
  • The 3D scene supports interactive navigation, lighting, custom shading and lighting modes, model slicing and more.
  • Pros
    • The 3D content can be viewed and explored by anyone with Adobe Reader, even without any 3D knowledge.
    • The 3D content can be easily printed on paper as part of the document at any time, using any preset or custom view and visualization settings.
  • Cons
    • Sequoia requires a 3rd party open source package (MiKTeX) for the generating of the 3D PDF content.
    • Changes to some Adobe Reader versions and/or the MiKTeX package can easily result in failed export or loading of the 3D PDF file.
  • PDF on Wikipedia:

Autodesk FBX File Format

  • Originally the native file format of Kaydata FilmBox, it was acquired by Alias, which in turn was acquired by Autodesk to become a common 3D scene interchange format between applications.
  • Pros
    • Widely supported in most major 3D applications.
    • FBX SDK for implemeting support in other applications is available for free.
  • Cons
    • While FBX can contain multiple geometry entities, cameras, lights, materials, animation data, bone rigs and more, Sequoia only exports a single mesh entity with optional texture mapping to FBX.

Input File Formats

  • The following mesh file formats (documented above) can also be loaded into SEQUOIA using a Mesh Loader object instance:
    • Thinkbox XMesh File Format
    • OBJ File Format
    • PLY File Format
    • STL File Format
    • Autodesk FBX File Format