Data Formats: 3D, Audio, Image

Written by Paul Bourke

Standards are good, lets have lots of them. Anon

The following are largely my personal collection of references to a range of data formats in use in the computer industry, some are just copies of manuals and documentation, others are my own investigations and associated reports. The largest section is on 3D geometric formats, but there are also notes on image formats, conventions and other miscellaneous data representation topics.

Please note that I am available as a consultant on all matters relating to the material found here. This may include custom coding of data interchange formats.

Geometric data formats

3D2 Stereo CAD-3D object format
3DML Flatland 3DML language
3D-Studio File Format
3D Studio Max Ascii Export Format
3D Studio Ascii Format
Alchemy III molecule file format
Alchemy 2000 molecule file format
3D data format BMF by David Farrell
BMF as used by FleetFeet and Volumental foot scanners
CDF Cyberspace Description Format
CGM Computer Graphics Metafile (ISO/IEC standard for vector graphics)
cinema4d Cinema4d file format from "Maxon Computer"
glTF GL Transmission Format
COB Calgari trueSpace2 File Format
DAE Sony / Khronos Collada
cmod 3D model format for Celestia
cube Gaussian cube file format for volumetric data
dat ECG files from the Holter recorder
DF3 Povray DF3 density (volumetric) format
Direct-X Microsoft's answer to QuickDraw3D and OpenGL
DMO Duke Nukem 3D or Redneck Rampage
DWF Format used by AutoDesks attempt at an internet format for it's models, used by the WHIP viewer.
Release 14
Release 12
Release 10
DXF, AutoDesk/AutoCAD interchange format in the various format versions that have appeared over the years.
Minimal 3D DXF
The minimal requirements to represent 3D geometry in DXF, useful for creating geometry for commercial packages from your own software.
EDF and EDF+ European Data Format
EGDR MOLA Experiment Gridded Data Record
e57 3D Imaging Data Exchange, most commonly laser scanners
FACT From ElectricImage
FBX Autodesk FBX
FFIVW File Format for the Interchange of Virtual Worlds
fld AVS Field format.
FLT OpenFlight format by MulitGen Inc
GDF GDF from the WAMIT software
GEO Videoscape geo an early Amiga 3D animation program written by Allen Hastings.
Geom Geom format as used by "Stereo", an OpenGL interactive stereo pair package.
GLF 3D font format for the GLF library
HDF Hierarchical Data Format
HIV HyperChem molecular format
HPGL Hewlett Packard Graphics Language for platters
hf Hyperfun: Language for F-rep Geometric Modelling
IGES Initial Graphics Exchange Specification by the National Bureau of Standards
ILDA International Laser Display Association
Infini3D Infini3D internal format
Inventor Inventor ASCII format from SGI
IRIT IRIT interchange format by Gershon Elber
ktx Format for storing textures for OpenGL
LAS and LAZ LASer file format, currently version 1.4
ldt EULUMDAT File Format
Lightwave 5.x
LightWave Object File format
Importing geometry into Lightwave 5.x
MDL From Cornell University and Indiana University
MGF Materials and Geometry format originally appearing as part of the Radiance package. By Greg Ward, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.
MI Mental Images, as used by Mental Ray, SoftImage, and others
MOL2 Tripos mol2 molecule format
MovieBYU Format from Birmingham Young University to represent polygons, originally designed for FORTRAN file IO.
MS3D MilkShape 3D format
MSLD Manchester Scene Description Language
MTL Lightwave / OBJ material file
NDO NENDO by Izware
nff For Eric Haines' SPD package
nff Neutral ASCII File Format
enff Extensions to Neutral File Format
nrrd Nearly Raw Raster Data
NUAGES Format for the NUAGES software, a tool for 3D reconstruction from parallel cross-sections
OBJ Wavefront .obj file format specification for the Advanced Visualizer software.
OFF OFF format as used by the Geometry Center
OFF OFF format specification originally developed by WSE.
OOGL As used by GeomView
PEDR MOLA Precision Experiment Data Records from NASA
PDB (V2.1) Protein Data Base (Atomic Coordinate File)
PHD Polyhedra Database (NetLib)
PI Format for the polyray raytracer by Alexander Enzmann
PLG, FIG, WLD Virtual World formats as used in Gossamer, Rend386, and others.
PLY Polygon File Format also known as the Stanford Triangle Format.
Poly Another Polygon Format from the University of Iowa, Image Analysis Facility
PS Introduction to Postscript
POVRAY (v3.6)
POVRAY (v3.7)
Scene format for the Persistence Of Vision RAYtracer (and derivatives).
City Generator
PTX Laser scan data format
PTS Laser scan data format
Processed VoLume (and other RAW formats) as used by the Drishti volume rendering software.
Volume files from Stefan Roettger.
Macperspective Translator for this undocumented format. The MacPerspective manual
nii NIfTI-1 Data Format: Neuroimagine Informatics Technology Initiative
PowerFlip Data format (SGI)
PRT PRT raytracer format by Kory Hamzeh
PRT Unigraphics "parts" file format.
q3o Quick3D Object File and Scene file format (.q3s)
Primitive summary
Apple's Quickdraw 3D meta format
radio Radio format by Anthony D'Agostino
RAD V3.1
RAD V2.5
Radiance scene description by Greg Ward.
Converters (old)
PovRay raw triangle format
RAY summary
RayShade scene description format, a solid modelling by Craig Kolb.
RIB Pixar RenderMan scene description (RenderMan Interface Bytestream)
Rotater Macintosh interactive line and point viewer by Craig Kloeden.
rsd Playstation
SAT ACIS 3D format for viewing and transferring solid information
SCENE A proposed format for 3D geometry
SCN SCeNe format designed to replace SFF for the Rtrace ray-tracer.
Spatial Data Modelling Language
SGS Stadtplan-Dateien Map File Format
SHP ERSI Shapefile
sjt SiroVision 3D image format
SLC SLiCe format
STL Industry standard format for stereoLithography.
STP SteinLib format
STEP Standard for Exchange of Product models
Super3D Text export format used by the Macintosh modeller Super3D.
SURF Export format from 3D-XplorMath
Tachyon Preliminary scene format for Tachyon by John E. Stone
FORM TDDD By Impulse's Turbo Silver for Sense8's WorldToolKit Neutral File Format specification
tet Format for tetrahedra, originating at the Computer Science department of Williams College.
TIN Triangular Irregular Network
TM LONI triangle surface model format to represent surface models.
TP TecPlot file format
TRI Triangle format
txm Xradia X-ray transmission image data
U3D Universal 3D
USD Universal Scene Description
V VIVID file format by Stephen Coy
VEF Vertex - Edge - Face format
Vision3D Text format for the Macintosh Vision3D modeller, manual (historic interest only)
VLA Digistar II VLA format
vmd VMD - WinOSi (XOSi, MacOSi) raytacer by Michael Granz.
vol .vol by Mark Dow
vol Paul Bourke volumetric data format
VRI Virtual Reality Interchange Language
vwf Vioso Warp Format. Warp and blend data for multiple projector displays.
WLD Morfit's WorldBuilder format
WRM World Reference Model by Multigen Inc.
The Virtual Reality Modelling Language
WMF Windows Metafile Format
XYZ XYZ molecular format
YASRT YASRT - Yet Another Simple Ray Tracer

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

Image formats

PSD, PSB Format of Adobe PhotoShop PSD and PSB files
PPM, PGM, PBM Format of PPM, PGM, PBM files
SVS SVS used by various medical scanners
URT URT image format as used by the Utah Raster Toolkit
SGI RGB Format of SGI RGB image files
ARW Sony RAW format
AVS X AVS "X" image format
TGA Storing images using the TARGA image format
KRO Autopano
BMP Windows BMP file format
TIFF Creating TIFF files of 24bit RGB images
Radiance HDR Radiance HDR format (High Dynamic Range image)
MTV Image format used by MTV
SoftImage PIC Converting SoftImage .pic images
yuv411, yuv422 Video camera formats: yuv411, yuv422
NV12 Video camera format YUV 4:2:0
PFM Unofficial PBM (Portable Float Map)format for HDR images
Gif 89a Specification: This is the complete specification for the GIF format, mostly unheard of until it was used as the standard image format for the WWW.
AsciiArt Character representation of grey scale images. Including a Macintosh application that converts PICT images into an ASCII bitmap format.

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world because they'd never expect it. Jack Handey

Other data formats

Audio formats: AIFF, AU (SUn), WAVE. Descriptions of the minimal requirements necessary to create standard audio data files.

Stereo Pair Image File Format. Format for defining stereo pair attributes proposed by VRex Inc and the interleaved format.

Format for describing warp meshes for unusual projection environments.

Various EEG file formats and Conventions. Includes continuous (cnt) and average (avg) EEG format from neuroscan, EEG format as used at Westmead Hospital (Sydney), and Pauls ad-hoc ascii format for EEG.

Holter open ECG format

Convention for grid data storage.

Six is a number perfect in itself, and not because God created the world in six days; rather the contrary is true. God created the world in six days because this number is perfect, and it would remain perfect, even if the work of the six days did not exist. St Augustine


Reading binary files from PC's on "other-endian" machines, and how to read FORTRAN unformatted data files with C/C++.

Compression: Delta coding and Run Length Encoding compression. Simple compression scheme for audio and images.

Handling data from the Magellan SpaceMouse and decoding the data from a MicroSoft serial mouse

Various character and file standards. The famous ASCII code set. Latin Character set. ANSI Standard (X3.64) Control Sequences. VT100 commands and control sequences. Description of mmencode (rad64) format. MacBinary II format specifications. CSV - Comma Separated Value files.

Image camera sensor and paper dimensions in common usage

Random collection of connector pin outs

Hershey vector fonts

Beginners guide to bitmaps (Historic interest only). Mostly what one needs to know about how images are stored on computers, including colour depth.

Prediction is difficult, especially of the future. Niels Bohr

Contents : Papers, Presentations, Workshops
Geometry, Surfaces, Curves, Polyhedra
Fractals, Chaos, Self similarity
Domes, Planetariums, Fisheye, Spherical Mirror
Stereographics, 3D Projection
Panorama, 360 Video
Photographic Reconstruction
Miscellaneous: Projection, Modelling, Rendering
Data Formats: 3D, Audio, Image
Texture Library, Fun, Puzzles, Travel
All pages in one place
New/Updated : Attractors in 3D for VR viewing
Manual camera calibration for fisheye image projection
Experiments in Reverse Perspective
Tools for Spherical Mirror Projection
Offsite : FaceBook, Sketchfab, YouTube, Vimeo, Shapeways

The contents of this web site are © Copyright Paul Bourke or a third party contributor where indicated. You may print or save an electronic copy of parts of this web site for your own personal use. Permission must be sought for any other use. Any source code found here may be freely used provided credits are given to the author. Purchase of credit free licenses of material found on this site can be negotiated with the author. The author can also quote for unique variations and/or higher resolution versions of the images found on this site.