3D Studio Max is a 3D modeling, animation and rendering platform developed by Autodesk. The program saves model, animation and other related data in the proprietary “3DS” format. Although there are computer-aided design programs available to view 3DS files, you may need to convert the file into something more universal for distribution. Fortunately, several free programs are available to convert 3DS files to the more common ShockWave Flash format, or “SWF.”
1. Sign up for a trial download of Swift 3D, a movie and animation converter than can load 3DS files and export them as SWF. Swift 3D is available both as a 3D Studio Max plug-in and as a standalone program. Open your 3DS file in Swift 3D and click the “Preview and Export Editor” tab. Select the frames of animation you wish to export and click “Export Selected Frames” to generate your SWF file.
2. Open 3DPaintBrush, an animation and modeling program that supports both 3DS and SWF. Open your 3DS file in 3DPaintBrush. Select the section of the animation you wish to export. Click “File” and select “Export.” Select “ShockWave Flash” as your file type and enter a file name to export your file.
3. Download and install Wax, a free video editor and exporter. Choose the “ModelLoader” plug-in from the “Video Plugins” window. Choose your 3DS file to import it to the Wax timeline. If you wish, you can add other images, videos, sounds or other media to create a composite video. When you are finished, click “File” and “Export” and choose “Flash” as the file type.