Working With 3D File Formats

Womp team
Womp team
Working With 3D File Formats

Just like images and video, there are a variety of 3D file formats available. Different industries and applications use a specific file type. The reasoning varies from one industry to another, and depends on the purpose of the file. There are some file formats used in a majority of sectors. 

In this article, we’ll start by giving you a brief intro to some different 3D file formats and their unique features. We’ll share the popular 3D file formats used in different industries, and converting files in Womp.

2D to 3D files

You probably know that there are differences between 2D and 3D files. There are two main categories of 2D file types: vector and raster. The main difference between vector and raster graphics is that raster graphics are composed of pixels, while vector graphics are composed of paths. 

Raster images are files like .jpg and .gif. Scaling down these images is easy but enlarging them causes pixelation or blurring. So, for images that need to be scaled to different sizes, we use vector graphics. Vector graphics are best for printing since they are composed of a series of mathematical curves. As a result, vector graphics maintain their quality when they’re enlarged. 

You can also easily make a vector file into a 3D STP file by adding depth to it, using beveling, and adjusting lighting. In Womp, you can import 2D icons, text, and files, and export them as a 3D NURB file. You can also convert a 2D .svg file to a 3D .obj file.

3D file types

3D file formats have applications in diverse fields like video games, film production, 3D printing, engineering models, architectural, and various scientific applications.


Non-uniform rational basis spline (NURBS) is a mathematical model using basis splines (B-splines) that’s commonly used in computer graphics to represent curves and surfaces.

STEP or STP stands for The Standard for the Exchange for Product Data. Automobile, aeronautics, construction, and other engineering-related industries rely on this file type. Both STEP and STP formats are acceptable. STP files encode the topology, texture, material type, geometrical tolerance, and other material or product-related information.

Mesh files

The .obj file format is primarily used for 3d print models.

STereoLithography or STL is a universal 3D file extension that’s widely used for 3D printers, computer-aided manufacturing, and rapid prototyping. The .STL file was popularized by 3D Systems which developed stereolithography CAD software.

The .dae file format is used for filmmaking and in video games. This file supports features like animation, textures, materials, colors, and other appearance-related attributes. Because it supports physics and kinematics, it’s a more uncommon 3D file format that stores information with the help of XML.

3D CAD files

CAD stands for Computer Aided Design. A CAD file is a digital file format of an object generated and used by CAD software.

A CAD file contains a technical drawing, blueprint, schematic, or 3D rendering of an object. There may be other CAD tools that can be used to create, open, edit and export these .cad files to more widely used CAD drawing file formats. 

3D CAD is a technology that engineers, product developers, and 3D designers use to create functional prototypes of three-dimensional objects. With 3D CAD, designers can create and modify every detail of a product, part, or assembly.

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