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I am working with a freelancer to produce some 3D models of our products. He has been sending me renderings which for the most part is fine, but I'd now like to receive a model that I can rotate around in a scene or more accurately, rotate the camera around. I don't have nor am I willing to purchase a 3D max license. I'm looking for a free 3D viewer - no editing capabilities needed. I just need to orbit the camera.

The CAD world as the STP format and it's plethora of free viewers available. I looked into 3D Max to STP and it doesn't sound like a promising option due to the nature of the model construction methods.

What would you suggest I use to accomplish my goal? I did some googling but it's all a little over my head. I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction.

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Do you have Photoshop Extended? Photoshop extended will import many 3D model formats and allow rotation in 3D space. –  Scott Oct 23 '13 at 17:03

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Well the opensource solution for 3D modeling is Blender but it is a heavy learning curve in regards to animating but animating a camera sequence isn't very complicated. If this is for a one time event you could go to 3DS Max's site and receive a free 30 day trial and follow a couple of video tutorials such as:

A keynote from my experience with 3DS Max back in 2010 is that you cannot open a newer version of a file in a later program without issues. Example: If he is sending you 2013 .max files they may not be opened in a 2010 3DS Max application, this however is my experience with 3DS Max 2008 and 2010 when I was creating animations but it may be different now or they may have allowed this feature in 2013/2014. So if this option is what you intend I would make sure to whoever is doing your modeling is using 2014 because the trial version should be 2014.

If you intend to try your hand at Blender you can go by a few articles on importing a 3DS Max file into Blender:

Also, as Scott has stated you could import it in Photoshop extended. Examples below:

And finally you could do this in After Effects:


This may be off-topic but I don't understand why, if he is sending you renderings, you will not have him create the animations for you. If he is talented and knowledgeable enough to create quality renderings you are wanting to use why not prevent the headache of trying to figure it out for yourself?

Furthermore, check your contract because there is a difference in receiving the renderings and the original files. You may have to pay extra to receive the .max files.

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