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Home >> The MODO Interface >> Import/Export

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One of the original axioms of MODO has always been "works well with others". Users rarely work in a single application, so it is important to be a good citizen in the 3D world by supporting multiple input/output formats. MODO supports a wide range of formats for transferring data around. Users can either read the various formats by either opening them directly "File > Open" and selecting the proper file, or by importing "File > Import...". The difference being that opening files makes them their own 'Scene', and importing merges the saved file into the current scene.

Users can save out the various formats using the 'Save As' command "File > Save As" and specifying the intended format, or by exporting "File > Export", the difference between them being that saving the file as a specific format replaces whatever is in memory, and subsequent saves will continue to overwrite the saved file in the same format (as one would expect). Exporting keeps the same scene in memory, only writing the selected format to disk. Additionally, users can RMB+click on any layer in the Items List and choose the 'Save Selected' option from the contextual menu for control over saving individual parts of a scene.
The supported formats include--

LightWave Object (.LWO)
MODO reads and writes LWO2 format for geometry, supporting a full array of features including UV, Weight, Morph and Color vertex maps. Equivalent surfacing data is translated as well, when applicable. Unsupported information is encapsulated and retained, as long as users remain in the LWO format, saving to any other format discard the extra data. The loading and saving of LightWave's scene files is not currently supported.

Wavefront Object (.OBJ)
OBJ is a file format developed by Wavefront Technologies for its Advanced Visualizer software package. The file format being open has been adopted by many other 3D applications because of its simplicity to implement, and for the most part has become a universal exchange format. OBJ supports geometry, layers and simple surfacing. Vertex normal maps are also supported. The OBJ format provides for only a single UV map per object, and all vertices must be mapped (no partial UVs are allowed and will be ignored on export). MODO will both load and save OBJ format.

Alembic (.ABC)
Established by Sony Imageworks and ILM, Alembic is an open computer graphics interchange framework. Alembic distills complex, animated scenes into a non-procedural, application-independent set of baked geometric results. The format currently supports the import and export of both static (non-moving) and animated meshes (including subdivision surfaces) and camera data. While the format does not directly support material information, part and material tags are exchanged with the mesh data. When importing files, users are presented with the following dialogue-


Import as Static Meshes: Converts the loaded scene items to the more efficient, though un-editable 'Static Mesh' item type. This does not apply to items with deformations.

Import all Frames: When loading an animated scene, load the transformations and deformations for the entire sequence. If off, load the scene for the frame specified in "Import Specific Frames"

Store Animated Morphs with Meshes: If enabled, will load all the mesh deformations into the scene file directly. If disabled, the deformations will be referenced from the original Alembic file, and loaded as necessary.

Import Specific Frames: Loads the scene with the transformations & deformations for the defined frame(s) only.

Subdivision Level: When loading subdivision meshes, this value defines their current subdivisions level amount.


McNeel Rhino (.3DM)
Rhino is a NURBS based 3D modeling application. Rhino has the ability to internally convert its curve based NURBS models into a triangulated polygon model. MODO will read the triangulated polygon data from any Rhino 3DM format file (MODO cannot read NURBS data directly). MODO will both Read and Write to the 3DM file format.

COLLADA is an open source 3D interchange format managed by the Khronos Group. The MODO COLLADA exporter can read and write geometry with normals and multiple UV texture coordinate sets, materials, lights, cameras, effects, and transform animations, all using a common technique that is compatible with a wide variety of third-party tools. There are a variety of Preferences that support this format.

Autodesk fbx (.FBX)
FBX is originally a file format developed by Kaydara for their FilmBox application, now owned by Autodesk. It has been adopted as a universal exchange format between digital content creation applications because of its robust support of object and animation data. MODO reads and writes the libraries supplied by Autodesk, that support interchange of geometry, lights, cameras, basic material and surfacing, UVs and transform animations.

Autodesk dxf (.DXF)
DXF is a simplistic geometry format developed for the interchange of data between CAD applications. DXF does not support surfacing, materials, vertex maps or animation. MODO both reads and writes this format.

Web3D Standard (.X3D)
X3D is an XML based 3D standard and is the successor to VRML on the internet, it supports geometry and basic surfacing. MODO is only able to write out to this format.

VideoScape (.GEO)
Aegis VideoScape was a (very) early 3D rendering and modeling program on the Amiga (precursor to LightWave). Users can both read and write geometry into this legacy format, though it is most useful for reading as very few modern programs support the format.

Stereolithography (.STL)
The 'Stereolithography' format is the language of 3D printers and CNC Milling machines, commonly used with rapid prototyping and computer-aided manufacturing. STL only describes the surface of the geometry, ignoring any shading or surfacing values. The STL I/O Preference options allow users to define how unit values are interpreted and define what format the resulting file is written in- Binary format ('Save as ASCII' option disabled), or in the ASCII text format ('Save as ASCII' option enabled).

Encapsulated PostScript (.EPS)
EPS files are a 2D vector format developed by Adobe for exchange of vector drawing information created in their Illustrator application. Though generally used for print applications, EPS files are imported into MODO as Curves, where users may freeze them into faces for further manipulation, or render the curves directly, or use them as a basis for patch modeling. The only way to get EPS file out of MODO is by way of the Export UVs to EPS command in the menu bar "Texture > Export UVs to EPS".

HPGL Plotter File (.PLT)
PLT is a 2D vector-based plotter format originally devised for use with AutoCAD. MODO only exports to this format.



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