.OBJ File Extension

File Type 1

Wavefront 3D Object File

Developer Wavefront Technologies
Popularity
3.9  |  236 Votes
Category 3D Image Files
Format Text

What is an OBJ file?

An OBJ file is a standard 3D image format that can be exported and opened by various 3D image editing programs. It contains a three-dimensional object, including 3D coordinates, texture maps, polygonal faces, and other object information. OBJ files may also store references to one or more .MTL files that contain surface shading material for the object.

More Information
Screenshot of a .obj file in Microsoft 3D Builder
OBJ file open in Microsoft 3D Builder

CAD users classify the OBJ format as a universal 3D model format since 3D image editing applications widely support it. The format is text-based and straightforward, which is one reason why many programs use it. However, the simple format structure may also lead to huge OBJ file sizes if they store large and complex 3D objects.

You may encounter an OBJ file in various ways, such as when modifying 3D objects in a video game, creating visual effects for a film, or designing a 3D mockup of a real-life object or building. Since the OBJ 3D format is so widely supported, many users export their models as OBJ files when transferring them from one 3D program to another or sharing a 3D model with a co-worker.

NOTE: While the OBJ format is one of the most common formats for storing 3D models, it is only one of many options for saving models. Some other options include .DAE, .STL, .IGS, .FBX, .MAX, .DWG, and .3DS.

How to open an OBJ file

You can open an OBJ file with a large number of free and commercial applications. Some examples include Microsoft 3D Builder, Apple Preview, and Autodesk Maya.

However, you should select the program based on the context in which you will be using the OBJ file. For example, if you are looking to open and modify a 3D object utilized in film special effects and are on a tight budget, you could use the free Blender software.

Opening an OBJ file with a text editor

OBJ file open in Microsoft Visual Studio Code
OBJ file open in Microsoft Visual Studio Code

Since OBJ files are saved in plain text, you can also open them with a text editor, such as Microsoft Notepad (Windows) or Apple TextEdit (Mac), or a source code editor. You may need to rename the .obj file extension to .txt for the text editor to recognize it.

When opened in a text editor or source code editor, you can modify the properties of the OBJ file. Remember that if you incorrectly edit the file, you may inadvertently corrupt the model.

How to convert an OBJ file

Many CAD applications and image editors, including Microsoft 3D Builder, Autodesk Maya, Blender, Apple Preview, and Adobe Photoshop, can convert OBJ files to other formats.

For example, Microsoft 3D Builder can convert OBJ files to the following formats:

  • .3MF - 3D Manufacturing File
  • .STL - Stereolithography File
  • .PLY - Polygon Model File
  • .GLTF - GL Transmission Format
  • .GLB - Binary GL Transmission Format
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Programs that open or reference OBJ files

Updated April 28, 2022
File Type 2

Relocatable Object Code

Developer N/A
Popularity
3.6  |  43 Votes
Category Data Files
Format N/A

What is an OBJ file?

Object data that is referenced by many types of programs

Programs that open OBJ files

Windows
Various programs
Mac
Various programs
Updated 2006

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