Technical guide for 3d models in ARcrowd

In this guide you will find a lot of information relative to 3d models and their use in ARcrowd. We suggest you to read it in case that you want to add some models to your ARbooks.

Want more help?

 Contact us
  You might be interested on visit our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

3d models

There are currently many formats for 3d models: dae, 3ds, obj, blend, skp, md2, etc. Each format has its own features and we cannot support all of them because there are not an standard for this.

In ARcrowd we have establish as a valid model a 3d model exported in dae format using OpenCollada plugin.

The OpenCollada plugin is a little plugin for 3ds Max Studio and Maya that allow us to export our model in one of the most standard ways of Collada DAE. Its installation is very simple, and we only need to download and install which support our architecture. It automatically will add another export option with OpenCollada format.

You can download it from developer's Github or from the following links (Which architecture do I have? 32 bits or 64 bits?)

Version Type System Architecture   Description
.msi Windows 32-bit  Download OpenCOLLADA para 3ds Max [2009-2013]
x64  Download
32-bit  Download OpenCOLLADA para Maya [2010-2013]
x64  Download
.zip Mac OS X universal  Download
.msi Windows 32-bit  Download OpenCOLLADA para 3ds Max
x64  Download
32-bit  Download OpenCOLLADA para Maya
x64  Download
.zip Mac OS X SL universal  Download
.exe Windows 32-bit  Download OpenCOLLADA DAE2MA
x64  Download

Export using OpenCollada

To export a model using OpenCollada plugin we should follow this instructions (similar way for Maya):

  1. With your model opened, click on File > Export...
  2. Select OpenCollada (.dae) from list and click on Export.
  3. Check the following options. You can also export animation (completely, or by range).
3ds export to opencollada dae


In ARcrowd we care about performance, and because of this we create this tip list that you should follow to enjoy 3d models better and faster.

1. Simplify your geometry

One more vertex will not care, but an element with a thousand of them probably do. If you need to model a house, try to use textures to show a door or a window (instead of model them). If they are not necessary, replace them with a texture.

2. Simplify your structures

Instead of polygons to create railings or grille, use textures. You will save time, reduce polygons and increase performance.

3. Reduce curve sides

When we need to create a circular element, we can define it number of sides. More sides = more circular, but it will contain more vertices and polygons too. Find the equilibrium between number of sides and final aspect. Maybe you will not need 100 sides for a circle; maybe with only 20 you will achieve the same result.

4. If we cannot see it, we will not draw it

Do not waste your time: element that we cannot see, element that we will not model it.

5. Use instances

If your car model have four wheels, create one and instantiate it. Model will be easier and it only will need to remember one element (not four).

6. Use colors instead of textures

There are elements in our models colored without any kind of special characteristic. In this case, use colors instead of textures of this color.

7. Optimize your textures

It is not necessary a 3256x2530px texture for the eye of our character. Reduce texture sizes to achieve equilibrium between quality and performance. Software like Photoshop, Picasa or Gimp allow us to do this without losing quality in our texture files.

3ds Max Studio and Maya

3ds Max Studio     Maya

3ds Max Studio and Maya are well-known paid software in 3d communities. Both are extremely powerful and complex, but they ensure excellent quality.

We recommend these programs to work with ARcrowd (using OpenCollada plugin).


SketchUp, beside simplicity, is a powerful tool to generate 3d models fast and easy. Furthermore, it also has a library called Google Warehouse where we can find a thousand of models ready to be used.

Nevertheless, we have issues parsing dae files exported with SketchUp due to how this program manages textures. Because of this, we do not support .skp files and we cannot be sure that exported dae from SketchUp will work with ARcrowd.


Blender is another free program that allow us to create model with almost the same quality as paid software like Maya or 3ds Max Studio.

Blender can also be used to export models for ARcrowd using .dae exportation embedded into this software. Remember to check for textures when you are exporting your model.

blender export to dae

Supported formats

ARcrowd currently support 3d models in DAE format. To achieve this, we suggest you:

  • 3ds Max Studio and Maya: OpenCollada plugin.
  • Blender: exportation directly from software.
  • SketchUp: exportation directly from software.
Important Try to export models from Blender and SketchUp to 3ds Max Studio or Maya, and then export them again using OpenCollada.

3d models on the web

There are multiple webs that bring us 3d models for personal and commercial use (free and paid, of course). These are our preferred:

On the Internet you can find a lot of sites like this, but remember that mostly are free. Free models commonly do not contain texture files, or they are embedded in the model itself. You have to fix this before export and use it in ARcrowd.

In ARcrowd we also have some 3d models for free. You can find them when you are adding markers to your ARbook.