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I am getting my 3D modeling pipeline started and a few questions have come up about modeling packages and formats:

What 3D model format is easy to parse, free to use, and is usable on the iOS/Mac platforms? Will I be able to create my own wrapper classes for said 3D model formats, or is it a code-and-format packaged deal? Does this format come with a free or cheap toolchain for creating new models and editing old models?

Thanks for the insight ahead of time!

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A popular 3d package is Blender. It is used as the toolchain for SIO2, which you might want to look into.

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Ah, Blender, right! We go back a little ways. Kinda surprised I didn't think of that right off the bat. Thanks for the reminder! Has anyone had success loading .blend files? How is the pipeline as far as memory/CPU usage? –  Grimless Sep 12 '10 at 19:23
    
There are lots of exporters/importers for blender. I'm pretty sure you'll find something that fits your need. If not, you can write your own thanks to the python API. –  bummzack Sep 13 '10 at 7:04
    
@bummzack: I'm looking at creating an importer for the .blender format, or should I use some other format? I've been encouraged to look at .fbx, but I'm unsure what the license for that format is and how many tools can export to that format. Besides, Maya is VERY expensive while Blender is free and open source, so I would prefer a Blender pipeline. Any insight? –  Grimless Sep 13 '10 at 19:28
    
In most of the cases you won't even have to write your own exporter, since there are already lots of them out there. For example FBX: wiki.blender.org/index.php/Extensions:2.4/Py/Scripts/Export/FBX –  bummzack Sep 14 '10 at 6:55
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