3DStudio In Add-On

by Emőke Csikós and Dániel Alexander Kovács · updated: 05.09.2017


This ARCHICAD Add-On can convert 3D Studio Max (.3ds) files to ARCHICAD as GDL objects. The conversion process can be customized by the user.

Download and install “3DStudio In” Add-On

  • You can download this Add-On amongst other Goodies by clicking on Help menu/ ARCHICAD Downloads option in ARCHICAD.
    In the appearing Graphisoft download site please select the language of your ARCHICAD then the OS icon matching your computer to download the Goodies Installer.
  • As of version 20 Goodies for ARCHICAD are available in one single installer package. During installation you can select which one(s) you want to install.
  • Start the installer and follow the instructions. The add-on will be automatically loaded the next time you start ARCHICAD.
  • The new commands will appear in the File / Interoperability / 3D Studio sub-menu by default.

Import a 3Ds File as GDL Object

To Convert a 3ds object:

  1. Select the 3ds file with the Import 3ds as GDL Object… command from the “File/Interoperability/3D Studio” menu.
  2. The add-on displays information about the original 3ds file:
    • File Name
    • Number of points, faces and objects
    • Object sizes (X dimension(A), Y dimension(B), and Height). You can modify these
    • Force smooth: Tick this, if you want the add-on to try to smooth all object surfaces.
    • Import hidden objects: If you tick this box, hidden objects will also be imported from the file.
    • Use texture’s alpha channel: If you check this box, the transparency information will be imported from the 3D Studio file, if the related TGA/TIFF textures contain alpha channel information.
  3. Click OK, to start importing.
    • The add-on checks whether the 3DS file contains texture links. If the defined texture file does not exist next to the 3DS file, the program asks the user to specify its location.
    • The add-on creates the new library part. The name will be generated from the original .3ds file name (without the.3ds extension). At the end of the conversion, a message will prompt that the Library Part has been created in the Embedded Library.

Input data:
a .3ds file (3DS Studio file), and occasionally jpg or other texture files. Texture file formats must be one of the picture formats that ARCHICAD supports. Currently these are BMP, GIF, TIFF, TGA, JPG, PICT.

Output data: a .gsm file, and occasionally some texture files (jpg, gif, pict, …) registered to ARCHICAD Library Part manager.

Conversion Options

The conversion process is customizable with the 3ds to GDL Conversion Options… command from the “File/Interoperability/3D Studio” menu.

Coordinate transformation:

  • x, y, z: The user can assign the corresponding x,y or z directions to the original assignment (x=x, y=y, z=z). There can be a ‘-‘ sign before x, y or z to multiply that direction by -1. For example, when 3ds file is converted from Lightwave, the recommended assignment is: x=x, y=z, z=y.
  • Scale: Sets how many millimeters correspond to a unit in the 3ds file.
  • Decimals: Specifies the precision of the converted object’s size.

Fitting transformation:

  • Fit bottom to z=0: fit the object’s bottom to z=0.
  • Fit object’s gravity point to (x=0, y=0): fit the object’s gravity point to (x=0, y=0) in the top view.
  • Fit gravity point to 0 only when needed: this means that “fit gravity point to x=0, y=0” works only when the object in the 2D top view doesn’t contain the (x=0, y=0) point (the 2D origin).

Hotspot creation:

Hotspots in 2D:

  • Bounding box: Automatic ARCHICAD bounding box (this will also occur when no hotspots assigned for 2D)
  • Zero point: x=0, y=0
  • Gravity point: The object’s gravity point
  • Outermost point: Top left, bottom left, top right, etc…. max. 8 hotspot points from among the object’s points
    Note: The last option will create the Hotspots in 3D too!

Hotspots in 3D:

  • Bounding box: Maximum of 6 of the outermost points. Each of these hotspot points is a point on the object.
  • Zero point: x=0, y=0, z=0
  • Gravity point: The object’s gravity point

 Note: The software is provided to you “AS IS,” and you acknowledge that it may contain errors. GRAPHISOFT disclaims any warranty or liability obligations of any kind.

Export to 3DStudio File (.3ds)

3DStudio File (*.3ds) format can be saved from ARCHICAD by default; it is not necessary to have the add-on installed. You can find out more about it here.



Goodies are free Add-Ons developed by GRAPHISOFT to complete ARCHICAD with specific abilities and features. As of ARCHICAD 20 you can install all Goodies at once with the help of the ARCHICAD Goodies Suite installer. They are based on legacy code which GRAPHISOFT does not support anymore. Feel free to use them but please be advised that they might not function properly and they will not be fixed or upgraded.

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