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Here are links to file format specs or implementations, with particlar focus on those useful in DCC (Digital Content Creation); CAD (Computer Assisted Design); video/web animation/3d Display formats; game content formats; 2d image formats; and lastly sound formats

The most widely supported CAD formats are DXF, DWG, IGES and STEP

The most widely supported DCC formats are OBJ, LWO, 3DS, Collada

The most widely supported web 3d content formats are Shockwave, VRML, X3D, U3D

The most widely supported image formats are Adobe Photoshop, PNG, JPG, GIF

CAD formats

DCC file formats

  • FBX API - there is not a format spec available that I can find only specs for the library/api:

WEB file formats

Motion Capture Formats

Image Formats

Vector Image Formats

Scene Description Languages

Lectures on Scene Description languages

PPM Format Specification

Neutral File Format

Polygon File Format

PLY Tools

Scene Description languages

RenderMan Interface Specification

Radiance Scene Description language

Manchester Scene Description language

POVRAY scene description language

YAFRAY scene description language (is there an official version somewhere??)

Another list of format links (most of the links are broken)

Universal translator tools

  • Polytrans - universal 3d format converter - very useful table of what formats are supported by different CAD programs, also explains the strengths and limitations of different formats

Misc lists of formats and universal importers/exporters

  • An extremely large list of formats and specs some with sample code

(note that for some of the formats he links there are much more complete specs availabled - ie lightwave lwo)

  • Material Exchange Format (a subset of the Advanced Authoring Format):

Useful overview of MEF

HOOPS Streaming File Format spec -

Imagine IOB - code to parse it

Misc stuff

Poser related format data