3ds max->Maya file conversion?


I’m wondering if anyone knows an effective way to convert 3ds max models to Maya in an effective way?

So far, I’ve experimented with a max .obj exporter, a .3ds file Maya importer, and a demo version of Deep Exploration. I’ve also tried using Filmbox’s .FBX plugins, but it doesn’t work with Maya 4.5. Its seems each of the other methods have problems accepting the geometry or basic material channels correctly. I mean, we’re talking lowest common denominator stuff here like smoothing group info, basic UV coordinates, diff/spec/bump channel info…

Anyone know if reliable ways to get the models in?


hmm ahh… eeerrhh… hmmm… there is this program, cant remember the name, that does this smoothly. transpoly or something… it’s not free though…

maybe i’ll post a more giving answer soon if i can remember the name



Polytrans is what you were thinking of?


also try this it seems to work allright


Thanks for the responses folks,

zworp, Kary: yeah Polytrans was one of the commercial products I was lookin at. Its not cheap, at $400 for the basic package, and its Maya 4.5 support wasn’t clear. Deep Exploration is the other option, but again, not cheap and its performance is not known with regards to this conversion direction…

Little, thanks I wanted to try that but it also won’t load in Maya 4.5. :frowning:

Niether will FilmBox’s FBX export/import plugin which I heard was a good way to go. Again, no support for Maya 4.5.

Well, looks like most of the options out there are only going to work for Maya 4 … argh… ah well, if anyone knows of a new product updated for 4.5 please post!

Guess patience will be the key…


it would be a little bit of a pain but if you have 4 and 4.5 you could use the one that works for 4 and then save it as a maya file and then open it in 4.5


We use FBX in our regular workflow and it’s a killer. I would be very surprised if they didn’t put out a version for 4.5 within reasonable time. 4.5 has only been out for a couple of weeks so my guess is that they’re just a little slow. I doubt Polytrans and the other commersial packages are out with a 4.5 version too, so just hang in there! One day…

Meanwhile, try the “little” way above…


i found another option ( im wanting an answer for this also because if i can learn to import models into maya 4.5 then i dont have to learn to model in maya i can just keep using max )
this worked for me in 4 i dont have 4.5 to test it yet and it worked better then the 3ds importer for maya 4
get wings3d from www.wings3d.com then export from max as 3ds import to wings and export from wings as obj and then import into maya
its a little bit of a pain to go through all those steps but it didnt mangle my model as much as using the 3ds importer did


ok so im posting to fast but i think i found the best way you can go to www.maxplugins.de go under the max 4 section ( even if you have max 5 ) the search for obj there is an obj importer and exporter there from hadware and it seems to work really well


Graf Orlok,
yeah .FBX format export/import was my first choice. Another guy told me it was a great way to go as almost everything was supported. But I tried loading the plugin and alas, being intended for maya4, it won’t load in the plug-in manager. I hope they recompile a new version quickly too!

wow I cant keep up:) Ok well on your last post, So far thats what I’ve been doing is using the OBJ file exporter plugin for max (from maxplugins.de). While maya does inmport the OBJ file, two problems with it that I’ve run into. First is that all of the smoothing group info in max gets lost, so all my round/curved shapes all look faceted once brought into maya (which I don’t know how to fix). Secondly, and not soo bad is that the texture map assignments are lost so Id have to retexure everything.

I’ll have to try the wings3d idea, I haven’t tried that before. Ultimately, its not that I don’t want to learn how to model in Maya, but I want to be able to use the models (few as there are) that I made using max without having to rebuild them.


thats almost the situation im in i dont want to learn how to model in maya if i can get a good way to import and export from max to maya and back then i can model the way iv always done and my partner can do all the texturing so i dont have to learn maya right now


This is just a repost from somehting I posted elsewhere… In case someone reads this from the Sticky Maya FAQ.

I’ve had some luck using RightHemisphere’s Deep Exploration, but I’ve found it to not be very reliable. you can try some converting with their 30 day demo. You’ll also have to download their Maya 4.5 update plugin patch from their forums.

[Deep Exploration 2]
[Additional update plugins]

I say “some” because it doesn’t convert all the geometry I’ve thrown at it so far (going straight from .max to .mb). On a few occaisions I’ve had to start from a .3ds file and also sometimes had to convert to a .obj and import that into Maya. If you can convert from max/3ds to mb then chances are you’ll get the mapping coordinates, but the only channels supported seems to be diffuse/color and transparency. forget procedural shaders like noise or whatever, they won’t go. Neither will complex textures or even textures with multiple UV’s. Bumps map, nope them neither. all that stuff goes poof. occasionly the program couldn’t convert smoothing group data and that was a serious pain in the butt…

oh and you have to have max and maya both installed.

Anyways, I’ve found it be frustrating, incomplete and not very consistent. For this reason there’s no way in hell that I’d pay for the software. But after some hell, you can get your files over but chances are you’ll be reworking them somewhat.

I wish PolyTrans hada 30 day demo…


my main question would be does polytrans work if it does it would be worth the price


Hmm been having the same dilemma, but this MAX2OBJ plugin seem to work really well http://www.habware.at/duck4.htm direct link http://www.habware.at/max4/max2obj4.zip

here’s how Kar looks in Maya

seems only really basic geometry gets mangled, such as his goggle lens and hair plugs :shrug: but that’s really easy to re-create :slight_smile:



Oh by the way, I don’t know what version of maya you’re running, but if its 4.5, have you tried the updated 3ds import plugin? I tried it the other day and I can’t get it to load…

just curious how many other people using 4.5 can’t get it to load. I always get an error message that goes something like “Error: The specified module could not be found.”

you can download the new plugin here:


Thx JasonA, and nope haven’t tried it, the habware .obj exporter worked fine for me :slight_smile: just have to tweak the mesh where somethings fell through



Originally posted by JasonA
[B]just curious how many other people using 4.5 can’t get it to load. I always get an error message that goes something like “Error: The specified module could not be found.”


yup yup same error :hmm:



I have the exact same issue with the new plugin from AW for Maya 4.5.
Here is my Post…



Well, a bit of an update but not entirely a solution.

Alias|Wavefront updated the 3DS -> MB Import Plugin for Maya 4.5 and it actually works now (which is a good thing). However, it still needs more work, as it does not include lights and some other things too. Also, the shader support is very limited.

So far I’ve found several models that don’t import properly in Maya, problems ranging from geometry objects getting scattered throughout the scene, to geometry getting ripped apart (vertex/face stretching). But in some other cases it worked pretty good, so its a bit iffy. Still worth having around but definitly not a %100 solution.



Thanks alot for the update, I will try it out today,