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How to convert IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) to Maya (.ma,.mb)?

PolyTrans|CAD+DCC performs mathematically precise CAD, DCC/Animation, GIS and BIM 3D file conversions into all key downstream 3D packages and file formats. Okino software is used and trusted throughout the world by many tens of thousands of 3D professionals in mission & production critical environments, backed by respectable personal support directly from our core development team.



The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) is a CAD data exchange object-based file format with a data model developed by buildingSMART to facilitate interoperability in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, and is a commonly used collaboration format in Building information modeling (BIM) based projects.

IFC files can be written out by such industry standard programs as: ArchiCAD, Allplan, Autodesk's AutoCAD and Revit, Microstation, Tekla Structures, SmartPlant3D and Vectorworks.

Please note: you would always want to use the DWF-3D file format and the Okino DWF-3D file importer to import 3D model data from Autodesk's AutoCAD, Navisworks and Revit, as well as AVEVA's PDMS software.

It is may be safe to say that few 3D graphics users properly understand IFC or why/how it should be used, when it should be used or how it is to be used. In simplistic terms, IFC is NOT a universal data interchange file format like COLLADA, FBX, 3ds, OBJ, DXF, DWG, etc. Rather, IFC is more of an "abstraction" for an architectural model so that BIM companies can exchange IFC files for design iterations without any loss in overall geometric quality. Hence, the basis of IFC is to make an abstract building with stories, floors, doors, columns, windows, etc. From these hang "abstractions" such as 2D plan views and 3D renderable geometric data.

While IFC can be considered a standardized file format by BuildingSmart, not all 3D programs or 3D viewers will "interpret" an IFC file in the same manner due to the abstract nature of the file format and also by the generally loose manner in which a model can be defined and with different contexts and representations.



Maya is a well known and respected DCC/Animation system which had originally been developed by Alias Research in Canada then purchased by Autodesk in 2006 after Alias went bankrupt.

As is very little understood, no program on this planet can read or write Maya ".ma" (ASCII) or ".mb" (binary) files because the full geometry modifier stack of the Maya software, and its various plugin modules, are needed in order to properly evaluate the file before it can be rendered. This is what forced Okino to write its well known PolyTrans-for-Maya system, which allows for all Okino 3D converters to run within Maya itself. For example, if you want to convert to/from CINEMA 4D (.c4d files) then you would do so entirely inside of Maya.

Due to multi-decades history, Maya users are notorious for using the OBJ file format to convert files to/from other software packages just as 3ds Max users wrongly use the 1985-era .3ds file format. OBJ is an "okay" file format but there are much better or more preferred methods to convert the data.