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I'm looking for a way to export 3D graphics objects to the Collada (.dae) format. I need an automated way, i.e. using Blender to manually convert from another format is not a good solution.

I'm sure all of the following is not possible at the same time, but ideally:

  • Aspect ratio (BoxRatios) should be preserved

  • Colours should be preserved (if possible)

  • Visible bounding box should be preserved (if possible)

  • Initial view point should be preserved when opening the file in a viewer (if possible)

  • Supporting Polygon and Cuboid is sufficient.

Information that would help me implement this myself:

  • Which formats that Mathematica supports can theoretically handle most of the requirements above? Out of these, which one does Mathematica have the best support for?

  • Are there command line programs or other Mathematica-controllable tools that can convert a Mathematica-exportable format to Collada?

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2 Answers 2

I've used Assimp for this, though I have never managed to preserve box ratios, the bounding box, or the view point.

Export["g.lwo", %]
Run["assimp.exe export g.lwo out.dae"]

enter image description here

For OS X, pre-compiled Assimp binaries are available in MacPorts.

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Do you recommend 3DS as the intermediary format or you're also not sure which one is best? –  Szabolcs Jun 24 at 18:15
Yeah, I am unsure -- I just use 3DS out of habit because it has always met my needs. But the library supports quite a few formats. –  mfvonh Jun 24 at 18:19
This was very promising, but unfortunately both assimp 3.0 (MacPorts) and assimp 3.1.1 (compiled it) produces broken DAE files. Neither Blender, nor OS X Preview can read them. I tried a complex object as well as a simple Graphcis3D[{Cylinder[]}]. –  Szabolcs Jun 24 at 18:34
@Szabolcs Try .lwo, I was able to get that to open in Blender. Seems like 3DS is specifically not advisable because it's resulting in unescaped XML like this: <visual_scene id="<3DSDummyRoot>" name="<3DSDummyRoot>">. It seems to lose color info; it may be worth playing with the available formats. –  mfvonh Jun 24 at 18:51
Alternatively you could pass it back through Mathematica and try to clean up the XML lol –  mfvonh Jun 24 at 18:54

I have successfully exported many 3D Mathematica objects in the .stl format (used for 3D printing). I use Cheetah3D on the Mac (now $69) to work with the object, add axes or colors, then export as a .dae for use in Collada environments like iBooks Author. Maybe Google Sketchup would also work; it has Collada as a native format but not sure what it imports. Hope this helps!

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