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What are FBX files and why are they important for 3D design.

On our Windows computer, we use all kinds of files regularly. Indeed, many of us are familiar with them, as we work with them daily. Therefore, we know what to do with them and how to open them. However, at other times we may come across files that we have never worked with before. Moreover, we are not familiar with them and do not know how to deal it. This may be the case with FBX files, which we are going to talk about today. On the other hand, the world of 3D design is a sector that has been growing exponentially over the years. This applies to both hardware and software. Consequently, there are many programs that can handle these three-dimensional files. In this specific case we refer to FBX files. These elements allow us to work in a shared and simultaneous way between several 3D content creation applications.

What is FBX file format?

An FBX file is a format used to exchange animation and 3D geometry data. Different programs can be used to open, edit and export both 2D and 3D files. Generally, these types of files are especially used in the development of movies, games, augmented reality and virtual reality.

It was created by the Canadian company Kaydera. It was originally developed as a software to record data from motion capture devices. To achieve this it is capable of storing all action scene, camera and geometry data. It was later renamed Filmox, with the file extension FBX. In this way it became a file extension for 3D and video related content. After passing through other companies, in 2006 Autodesk finally took ownership of the program and the FBX file format.

Certainly, the FBX format is proprietary to Autodesk. However, there are many modeling and animation applications that can open this type of file. Thus, many creators have the possibility to share 3D models with each other using this format. This is extremely efficient, since it is capable of storing models as binary data.

How FBX files can be used

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At present, developers are responsible for using FBX models to be able to exchange detailed geometric data. They also manage animation data, including textures and colors, between applications and platforms. It is worth noting that most virtual reality and augmented reality platforms are capable of easily importing FBX files without conversion.

However, when importing an FBX file, our program may not be able to import certain types of data. Likewise, we may also encounter problems when exporting textures. Although the default format for this type of file is binary, you can also save a file in the ASCII format above. Thus, we can open an ASCII file with a text editor, such as Notepad, to solve the problem. However, as far as possible, it is not recommended to edit text files as they can easily distort the code.

Advantages and limitations of this format

FBX files are especially useful for exchanging 3D graphics. They also allow management of animations and virtual reality files, and are therefore often used by artists working with various types of equipment and applications. Among its advantages, it stands out for offering 2D and 3D support so that it can be efficiently channeled by most programs.

It can quickly provide skeletal animations, cameras, lighting effects and even textures and colors between programs. In addition, it can convert to formats such as OBJ, DXF, 3DS and DAE. In this way it adapts to the needs of each project or to the functionality of our editing program.

How to open FBX files in Windows

In the following, we will look at several free programs that can be used to open files in the FBX format.

AutoDesk FBX Viewer

This free tool allows the viewing of FBX files. Moreover, it is compatible with platforms such as Windows, macOS, and iOS. It is considered as one of the best programs for viewing this particular type of files, in addition to others related to 3D design. Therefore, when opening an FBX file in this program, different options are presented. Consequently, we can switch between textures, frames, shading and lighting.

Therefore, when opening an FBX file in this program, different options are presented. Consequently, we can switch between textures, frames, shading and lighting. At the same time, it has support for dealing with various camera angles created by the user. In addition, it allows you to easily switch between them. The software allows the user to view 3D content without using a 3D authoring tool. In this way, helping to speed up asset sharing and review for development teams.

The software allows the user to view 3D content without using a 3D authoring tool. In this way, helping to speed up asset sharing and review for development teams. By using it, it is possible to switch between shading modes, animations, cameras and lighting options. This allows for better evaluation of 3D content.

ClockStone FBX Viewer

This is another FBX file viewer that is characterized by being very light and free for Windows. It is a straightforward to use tool and supports several 3D file formats, in addition to the aforementioned FBX. It also has numerous functions for 3D processing. Some of them are real-time shading and post-rendering effects. You can also easily view all the properties of FBX files.

When you run the program, the first thing it will ask you to do is to select the 3D file you want to open. Next, we will have to interact with the three-dimensional model, dragging and adjusting the zoom level with the scroll wheel of the mouse. On the other hand, from the menu bar we will be able to access the shading, view and effects options. Additionally, we can visualize all the properties of the FBX file we are dealing with.

Paint 3D

We cannot leave out a classic of Microsoft systems. So much so that it is integrated by default in Windows 10 as in Windows 11. With Paint 3D, we will also be able to manage this type of files.

It is a program that allows us to see FBX files in Windows and that supposes an evolution of Paint. In fact, Paint 3D allows us to develop 2D and 3D models and interact with them. It also supports several 3D file formats that you can open and view.

However, the tool does not offer many additional options. In fact, it only displays the 3D model and allows us to view it from all angles. However, there are no shadows, no lighting, no metal structure and no other options. Still, it can be considered as a quick option for viewing FBX files. Especially if you want to avoid installing other software exclusively for this purpose. Very well, at the end of the day, we have seen what FBX files are. We also learned why they are important for 3D modeling. See you later!

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