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How to convert VRML (VRML2, VRML97, X3D) to 3ds Max (.max)?

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.



VRML2 ("Virtual Reality Markup Language") is one of the very best of non-MCAD file formats, little appreciated and lost (mainly) to the annals of time. Many people (wrongly) believe that FBX is the primary "translation file format" but VRML2 pre-dated it by at least 10+ years and has equally good or better functionality (and in an open, non-proprietary specification). It was supplemented or augmented by the X3D (XML-based) file format in the mid 2000s. The Web3D Consortium supports the evolution of VRML2/X3D and of its acceptance as ISO and IEC standards.

Without getting into specifics, VRML2 can be considered a "rich file format" in terms of its functionality and capabilities, yet few software programs fully utilize all of that functionality. It could have, and should have, become the defacto "universal 3D file format" for data translation and long term storage but it did not have the clout nor marketing dollars that other newer formats had such as from Autodesk (FBX, DWF), Sony (COLLADA), Adobe+Intel (U3D), Dassault Systemes (3DXML) and others.

VRML1 and VRML2 are 3D file formats with a long and complex history. They were originally developed in the mid 1990s to define 'interactive 3D worlds' on the then-new World Wide WEB. However, statistically speaking, VRML2 became more well known as a high quality "data translaton and storage" file format, partly due to Okino pushing it as such a standard in the industry. It was implemented by a good number of 3D software packages and hence became a "reliable back door" to convert 3D assets out of those packages before FBX, DWF, COLLADA, U3D and other similar file formats came along in the mid to late 2000s, or glTF in the late 2010's.

It is also known as VRML2, X3D, Classic VRML, VRML97, VRML1 and Inventor2.


3ds Max

3ds Max has been the flagship DCC/Animation system of Autodesk since its introduction in 1996. It replaced 3D Studio R1-R4 which was a DOS based variation. Both were developed by the Yost Group and licensed to Autodesk.

As is very little understood, no program on this planet can read or write 3ds Max ".max" files because the full geometry modifier stack of the 3ds Max 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 PolyTrans-for-3dsMax system, which allows for all Okino 3D converters to run within 3ds Max itself. For example, if you want to convert to/from CINEMA 4D (.c4d files) then you would do so entirely inside of 3ds Max.

Okino has a very long history with 3ds Max as it got on board in 1986 when Tom Hudson (of the Yost Group) first released "CAD-3D" on the Atari|ST computer. That program morphed into 3D Studio on DOS (.3ds file format) and then into 3ds Max (.max file format).

Note: Please do not confuse the 3D Studio's .3ds format with the 3ds Max .max format. You will find throughout the 3D industry that some companies refer to .3ds as the "3ds Max file format" but this is not true. The native file format of 3ds Max is the .max format, whereas .3ds is just a legacy import/export file format ported over to 3ds Max by Tom Hudson during the transition from 3D Studio R4 back in the early 1990s. DO NOT use the .3ds file format to convert to/from 3ds Max but rather use Okino's dedicated PolyTrans-for-3dsMax plug-in system for 3ds Max.