Export 3D scene as OBJ file

This April, Sampo Software’s 3D Visioner product has been updated with the new major release — version 2017. As a result of continuous improvement, we present our users the combination of new features and quality improvements. We hope 3D Visioner 2017 to become a new platform for more updates, including new sets of 3D models.

In this first article we open a series of a posts about what is new in 3D Visioner 2017, describing new features and how are they useful. Stories also will contain some tips and tricks with a backstory from development.

First story is about the greatest new feature in this release — OBJ format export. In short, now, in 3D VIsioner 2017 you can export your 3D scene as a file, that can be opened in any major 3D editor or even at any stock WIndows 10 installation. Using this feature it is possible to utilize a scene from 3D Visioner in a larger 3D project in a dedicated editor, such as 3D Studio, Blender, SketchUp and many others. This OBJ format is nowadays considered a “common ground” in the world of 3D design.

3D Visioner 2017 has “Save As” button in the usual place, in a menu bar above 3D scene. There is now a new option, “3D Scene (.OBJ)”. Saving with this option will produce a set of files in selected folder: there will be an .OBJ file with .MTL file. The first one defines 3D geometry, and the second one defines materials used in this 3D scene. In addition to these files, there can be various texture files (.PNG), in case if there are textured models present in the scene.

Here is an example of the exported scene when opened in 3D Studio Max:

Windows 10 has in-built application, called “3D builder” — this can open OBJ files too. So it is possible to send to someone an exported 3D scene as an archive, containing OBJ file with related MTL and PNG — and a person will be able to view that without the need of MS Visio or even opening a drawing at all.

This is an example of an exported scene viewed in Windows 10’s 3D Builder:

his feature was developed in 2017 version as a follow-up for version 2016, where the option of importing OBJ files as custom 3D models has appeared. We found that as well as importing custom 3D models in 3D Visioner, users can benefit from their 3D scenes being used elsewhere — or viewed. From technical standpoint, it was not a trivial task to convert 3D context from DirectX definition to OBJ, this operation required low level translation of all vertex and materials data.

In a short future we will be adding an extension to this feature: web-based view. 3D Visioner users will be able to upload their exported 3D scenes to our server and get an URL links that can be sent to other people. These links will open a web page in a browser, showing 3D scene with pan, zoom and rotation support via mouse in the same way as inside 3D Visioner. This is a great way to instantly share 3D desgins with wide auditory — just publish the short link and it is done!