I'm architecting a software project which involves 3D graphics and will soon need to select a 3D modeler to build some models for us. I'm trying to figure out what file format I should require the modeler to deliver to us.
We would ideally like something which can be opened and edited with free tools, but we don't want to force the professional modeler to use non-industry-standard tools which he/she may not be familiar with.
We will need to write a script to batch-render the models with a variety of texture maps. We need to be able to re-run this script on demand, and without using a GUI. So either the format must be accepted by a standalone rendering engine which we can run from the command line, or it must be simple enough that we can write our own scripts to convert it to what the rendering engine accepts.
Can you recommend a suitable 3D model file format?