OBJ Viewer

3D viewer allows you to easily visualise OBJ 3D models directly on the browser, with or without the support of texture and MTL files, letting you perform all the actions that you would normally do to inspect an OBJ 3D model such as rotate, zoom in/out, measure and more advanced actions such as taking high resolution screenshots, create annotations with markups and comments and embed your 3D model in external websites and applications.


  • What is an OBJ file?
  • How to use the OBJ viewer
  • Difference between OBJ and STL
  • Where can you find free OBJ files?
obj file

What is an OBJ file?

Obj is an open file format widely used in 3D graphics.

It’s a simple data-format that stores information about a 3D model’s geometry, including its vertices, faces, vertex normals and UV position of each texture coordinate vertex in case of texture applied.

OBJ files are widely supported and exportable by most 3D design software. This is because they are simple and realistic, especially when used with a MTL material file.

OBJ Files offer many advantages, such as:

  1. Compatibility:
    • One of the primary advantages of OBJ files is their compatibility with a broad range of 3D modelling and rendering software. This interoperability makes them a preferred choice for users working with diverse tools.
  2. Human-Readable Format:
    • Being a plain-text format, OBJ files are human-readable, making it relatively easy to understand and even modify using a simple text editor. This readability enhances accessibility and facilitates collaboration.
  3. Versatility:
    • OBJ files are versatile and support various types of geometry, including polygons of different complexities. This versatility allows them to represent a wide range of 3D objects.
  4. Texture Mapping:
    • OBJ files support texture coordinates, enabling the mapping of textures onto 3D models. This capability is essential for creating realistic and visually appealing renders.

While OBJ files offer numerous advantages, some challenges should be considered when working with them:

  1. File Size:
    • Because OBJ files are human-readable (plain-text format), they can become large when storing complex models with high polygon counts. Large file sizes can impact storage, transfer times, and system performance.
  2. Limited Material Information:
    • OBJ files may not fully capture all material properties, especially in comparison to more advanced formats like FBX or COLLADA. Users may need to rely on associated MTL files for additional material details.
  3. No Animation Support:
    • Unlike some other formats, OBJ files do not inherently support animations.

Start using the online OBJ viewer now by registering a FREE account.

3d viewer functionality for 3d rendering

Other than just viewing a 3D model, with the online OBJ viewer you will be able to do a lot of things for your 3d rendering:

  • View/Inspect an OBJ 3D model
  • Share the OBJ 3D model with your collaborators
  • Create markups and comments directly on the OBJ model
  • Take a screenshot of the OBJ 3D model
  • Download the OBJ 3D model
  • Measure the OBJ 3D model (distance between points, overall size, diameter)
  • Embed the 3D model in external websites and applications
  • View the online OBJ model in full screen
  • View the online OBJ model from tablets and mobile devices
  • Select a predefined View (Top, Right, etc..)

All these functions are available on the online OBJ viewer toolbar located on the top left part of the screen and do not require any previous knowledge of a 3D software.

Measure the OBJ 3D Model

The online 3D OBJ viewer has the ability to measure the distance between two points. It can also determine the size of the 3D model. Additionally, it can calculate the diameter of a circular feature.

In the picture below an example of a measurement of the overall 3D model size and a measurement between two points are presented.

obj file overall size

Wireframe visualisation

The wireframe visualisation, available on the 3D model settings page, allows you to inspect the triangular mesh that defines your OBJ 3D model geometry. This can be particularly useful to identify possible ways to increase or reduce the size of your OBJ 3D model.

wireframe obj

Create markups and comments directly on the OBJ 3D model

The markups feature allows you to make notes and drawings on the OBJ 3D model. You can use it for yourself or to communicate your ideas with customers and colleagues. The markups let you also easily highlight possible design issues on the 3D model which might cause problems during 3D printing, saving therefore time and money compared to fixing the same issues after the model has been already printed. Check out our article about the 10 most common 3D printing design issues and how to avoid them.


The commenting feature allows you to create comments about the OBJ 3D model, which might include markups as well if necessary. Posting or replying to comments is as easy as posting on any social platform. You also have the possibility to attach documentation to your post, such as material datasheets, simulation results or international standards. All your communication will be connected to the 3D model, making it easier for the people involved in your project to access and use it.

Embed the OBJ 3D model directly on your website, CMS or app

The Embedding function of the online OBJ viewer lets you embed the step 3D model directly in your website, CMS or app by using an iFrame code, similarly to what YouTube does for videos. This can add more 3D viewing capabilities to your platform, with engaging content.

iframe obj

Take a high resolution screenshot of the 3D model

The screenshot function of the online OBJ viewer allows you to instantly download a high resolution picture of what you see on the screen. This feature is particularly useful when you need to include realistic renderings of your OBJ file on your website or marketing material. To achieve the best realism with effects such as lights and reflections, you can easily edit the 3D settings of that 3D model (check out how to change the scene settings).

Start using the online OBJ viewer now by registering a FREE account.

Difference between OBJ and STL

The STL file lacks texture, materials, and normal information, making the 3D model look less realistic compared to an OBJ file.

Despite both formats are widely adopted and can be used in additive manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, the main difference between them is presented below: 

  1. Information Depth:
    • OBJ: Emphasizes comprehensive information, including geometry, texture coordinates, normals, and material details. Suitable for various applications where a detailed representation is essential.
    • STL: Primarily focuses on surface geometry, providing a mesh representation without detailed information about vertices, texture mapping, or material properties. Suited for 3D printing applications where only surface geometry matters.
  2. Geometry Representation:
    • OBJ: Utilizes vertices, faces, normals, and texture coordinates to define the 3D geometry. Well-suited for representing complex and detailed models in various industries.
    • STL: Relies on a mesh of triangular facets to represent the surface geometry. This simplicity makes STL files efficient for 3D printing but less suitable for detailed visualizations.
  3. Material Support:
    • OBJ: Supports material information through associated MTL files. Capable of representing color, shininess, transparency, and texture references.
    • STL: Does not inherently support material information. Material properties are typically managed separately during the 3D printing process.
  4. Applications:
    • OBJ: Widely used in CAD, 3D animation, VR, AR, and game development due to its versatility and ability to encapsulate detailed information about 3D models.
    • STL: Primarily used in 3D printing and rapid prototyping applications where only the surface geometry is critical. Less versatile for applications requiring comprehensive model information.
  5. File Size:
    • OBJ: Can result in larger file sizes, especially for complex models with high polygon counts and detailed textures. Larger file sizes may impact storage, transfer times, and system performance.
    • STL: Generally has smaller file sizes due to its focus on surface geometry. Compact file sizes contribute to faster transfer times and reduced storage requirements.

The choice of the right format therefore depends on many factors such as:

  1. Complexity of the Model:
    • OBJ: Ideal for complex and detailed models where comprehensive information about geometry and appearance is crucial.
    • STL: Well-suited for models where only surface geometry matters, such as those intended for 3D printing.
  2. Application Requirements:
    • OBJ: Suitable for applications that require a detailed and versatile representation of 3D models, including visualizations, animations, and simulations.
    • STL: Specifically designed for 3D printing applications, where the emphasis is on efficiently representing the surface geometry for additive manufacturing.
  3. Ease of Use:
    • OBJ: Offers a human-readable format, making it easier to understand and edit using a simple text editor. Accessibility is a key advantage.
    • STL: Known for its simplicity and compatibility with 3D printers, providing a streamlined process for 3D printing applications.

Start using the online OBJ viewer now by registering a FREE account.

Where can you find free OBJ files?

It’s easy to find free OBJ files online on platforms and communities that share 3D models.

Here are some popular websites where you can find a wide variety of free OBJ files:

  1. TurboSquid:
    • Website: TurboSquid
    • Description: TurboSquid is a leading marketplace for 3D models. While it offers paid models, there is also a section dedicated to free 3D models, including OBJ files. You can find a range of models from characters to architectural elements.
  2. Free3D:
    • Website: Free3D
    • Description: Free3D is a repository of free 3D models, including OBJ files. The platform covers a broad spectrum of categories, allowing users to download models for various purposes.
  3. Sketchfab:
    • Website: Sketchfab
    • Description: Sketchfab is a platform where users can share and explore 3D content. While some models are available for purchase, many creators share their work for free. You can find a variety of models, and Sketchfab supports direct OBJ file downloads.
  4. CGTrader:
    • Website: CGTrader
    • Description: CGTrader is another popular 3D model marketplace. The platform offers both paid and free models, and you can filter your search specifically for free OBJ files.
  5. Archive 3D:
    • Website: Archive 3D
    • Description: Archive 3D is a website dedicated to providing free 3D models. While the interface may be a bit outdated, it hosts a collection of OBJ files that you can download for your projects.
  6. NASA 3D Resources:
    • Website: NASA 3D Resources
    • Description: NASA provides a collection of 3D models related to space and science. These models are freely available for educational and non-commercial use. You can find OBJ files representing spacecraft, satellites, and celestial bodies.
  7. 3D Warehouse by SketchUp:
    • Website: 3D Warehouse
    • Description: 3D Warehouse is a platform provided by SketchUp where users share their 3D models. While the majority of models are in SketchUp format, many can be downloaded in OBJ format.
  8. RenderHub:
    • Website: RenderHub
    • Description: RenderHub is a 3D marketplace that offers a mix of free and paid 3D models. The platform supports OBJ file downloads, and you can explore various categories for your specific needs.
  9. GrabCAD:
  • Website: GrabCAD
  • Description: GrabCAD is a community for engineers and designers. While its primary focus is on CAD models, you can find a variety of 3D models, including OBJ files, shared by the community.

Start using the online OBJ viewer now by registering a FREE account.