3DS file format

Autodesk 3D Studio Max (.3ds)

3ds3DS is one of the file formats used by the Autodesk 3ds Max 3D modeling, animation and rendering software. While the 3DS format aims to provide an import/export format, retaining only essential geometry, texture and lighting data, the related MAX format also contains extra information specific to Autodesk 3ds Max, to allow a scene to be completely saved/loaded.

3ds is a binary file format.

The format is based in chunks, where each section of data is embedded in a block that contains a chunk identifier and the length of the data (to provide the location of the next main block), as well as the data itself. This allows parsers to skip chunks they don’t recognize, and allows for extensions to the format.


It has been pointed out that, despite its popularity, the format may not be the most suitable for 3D data exchange. Some of the disadvantages mentioned are:
  • All meshes must be made of triangles.
  • All texture filenames are limited to the 8.3 DOS format.
  • The number of vertices and polygons per mesh is limited to 65536.
  • Accurate vertex normals cannot be stored in the .3ds file.
  • Object, light and camera names are limited to 10 characters. Material names are limited to 16 characters.
  • Directional light sources are not supported.

Source: wikipedia