Datakit: A new library for FBX format

The French data transfer specialist in CAD systems adds a writer for FBX format files to their current offer. It's a fast and compact format used mainly in the animation world and is read natively on Windows 10.

The French publisher Datakit, specialist in data exchange tools between CAD systems, has just added to its current offer a writer for FBX format files, used widely in the world of animation.

The FBX format (.fbx) is an Autodesk proprietary file format widely used by the publisher with Maya, 3ds Max and MotionBuilder animation software, as well as its CAD software. It facilitates the acquisition and exchange of 3D models, documents and associated media from multiple sources, especially in the world of animation and video games.

FBX was originally developed in 1996 by publisher Kaydara. It uses an object-based model and had been created for their motion capture software Filmbox in order to insert animated characters into scenes made in 3D. It's fast, efficient and compact because it uses a binary format. It became more well-known thanks to a toolkit for developers of other programs aimed at creating plug-ins.

Kaydara was acquired by Alias in 2004, which was then acquired by Autodesk in 2006. As of today, this publisher is what ensures the sustainability of the FBX format.

Note that Windows 10 now comes with FBX readers, so you can easily read FBX with Paint 3D or Windows 10 native tools.

FBX: a new offer for Datakit
As demanded by customers, Datakit decided to develop a writer for FBX format files in version 7.4.

"We started development in 2019 and it took several months to complete a first draft, which was later available in version 2019.4 of our tools last October. We then continued with development based on requests by customers for new functionalities," explains Frédéric Martinez, responsible for the development of the FBX library.

Today, with the release of version 2020.1, Datakit's tools for writing in FBX format are available both for developers via the CrossCad/Ware software development kit (SDK), and for end users via the CrossManager standalone software.

Software publishers now have the possibility to offer FBX format exporting in their own software via the CrossCad/Ware SDK, along with many other supported formats. Over a hundred programs use Datakit's exchange technology, which has become a reference in the field.

End users can also use the CrossManager software to convert their models, which can be in any of the 30 most common CAD formats, into FBX in order to quickly and efficiently translate them to a more compact format.

FBX: writing and soon reading
Datakit's tools currently support writing in this format, allowing 3D CAD models of multiple formats to be exported into FBX for light graphical rendering. In order to do so, they manage the colors, transparency and the concept of assembly, which facilitates the manipulation of the parts constituting an assembly.

The reading tools are currently under development and will arrive at some point later this year, as well as some other improvements.

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