3DS File Extension

Have a problem opening a .3DS file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what 3DS files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .3DS file type?

The key association of the .3ds filename extension belongs to the Autodesk 3ds Max 3D Object (.3ds) file type and format. Historically, 3DS was the native format of Autodesk's old 3D Studio modeling software (MS-DOS), and the support was retained in its well-known successor 3ds Max. Despite its limitations, 3DS has become a widely supported format, even a de facto standard for exchanging 3D models.

The .3ds file represents a complete 3D object or scene. It is a binary file (magic number: "MM") in which triangle-based mesh data, materials and textures, lighting and reflection maps are stored as ordered chunks. Since the 3DS format is understood by virtually all 3D-related software, such files can be opened or imported with a large number of tools. There are vast libraries of both free and commercial 3D models in the 3DS format on the Internet. Additionally, a number of standalone and built-in converters allow to convert .3ds files into other 3D formats, and vice versa. However, because different 3D formats have different features and data structures, not all of them can be equivalently translated into 3DS.

Alternatively, the .3ds extension occurs in relation to Nintendo 3DS, a popular portable gaming console with a 3D screen from Nintendo. Here, it is assigned to the files that contain ROM dumps made off original Nintendo 3DS game cartridges in a special binary format. The purpose of such .3ds files is to play Nintendo 3DS games without their cartridges using certain modified (software-cracked with a special external cartridge) Nintendo 3DS units and emulators. Since all Nintendo 3DS games are copyrighted material, making and distributing .3ds ROM images is illegal in most countries.

Another role of the .3ds extension binds it to the ACD/3D Viewer View Settings (.3ds) file type. ACD/3D Viewer is a freeware tool from Advanced Chemistry Development (ACD/Labs) for visualizing chemical molecular structures and viewing ACD/Labs file formats. In the context, the .3ds file saves current view, color, and atomic radius settings that can be re-opened and applied in ACD/3D Viewer later, or selected to be used by default.

Software to open or convert 3DS files

You can open 3DS files with the following programs: 

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