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Universal 3D
Filename extension
Internet media typemodel/u3d
Developed by3D Industry Forum,
Ecma International
Initial releaseAugust 2005
Latest release
4th edition
June 2007
Type of formatFile format for 3D computer graphics
Extended fromXML
WebsiteStandard ECMA-363

Universal 3D (U3D) is a compressed file format standard for 3D computer graphics data.

The format was defined by a special consortium called 3D Industry Forum that brought together a diverse group of companies and organizations, including Intel, Boeing, HP, Adobe Systems, Bentley Systems, Right Hemisphere and others whose main focus had been the promotional development of 3D graphics for use in various industries, specifically at this time manufacturing as well as construction and industrial plant design. The format was later standardized by Ecma International in August 2005 as ECMA-363.

The goal is a universal standard for three-dimensional data of all kinds, to facilitate data exchange. The consortium promoted also the development of an open source library for facilitating the adoption of the format.

The format is natively supported by the PDF format and 3D objects in U3D format can be inserted into PDF documents and interactively visualized by Acrobat Reader (since version 7).


There are four editions to date.

The first edition is supported by many/all of the various applications mentioned below. It is capable of storing vertex based geometry, color, textures, lighting, bones, and transform based animation.

The second and third editions correct some errata in the first edition, and the third edition also adds the concept of vendor specified blocks. One such block widely deployed is the RHAdobeMesh block, which provides a more compressed alternative to the mesh blocks defined in the first edition. Deep Exploration, Tetra4D for Acrobat Pro and PDF3D-SDK can author this data, and Adobe Acrobat and Reader 8.1 can read this data.

The fourth edition provides definitions for higher order primitives (curved surfaces).

Application support

Applications which support PDFs with embedded U3D objects include:

See also


  1. ^ "Saving and exporting 3D files (Photoshop Extended)".
  2. ^ "Simplified Generation of Biomedical 3D Surface Model Data for Embedding into 3D Portable Document Format (PDF) Files for Publication and Education". doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079004.s002. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "Towards an easier creation of three-dimensional data for embedding into scholarly 3D PDF (Portable Document Format) files". Retrieved 2015-09-25.