I have a 530 MB .ply mesh file that I am trying to import into a Blender project. However since the file is so large, Blender freezes up whenever I try to import it. Is there a way to work around this? Has anyone else tried importing extremely large files?

@Edit: The file represents a single mesh - it just has a very high triangle/polygon count. It also didn't come from a different program - I downloaded the file already created from online. So I can't break it up into separate files.

  • $\begingroup$ Does the file represent a single object, or a scene? If it came from another program, could that program break it up in to smaller pieces? $\endgroup$
    – jzx
    May 21, 2014 at 22:25
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Does Blender only freeze or does it crash? If it only freezes, it might just take much time for Blender to read the file and convert it into its own data structure. You will probably just have to wait. $\endgroup$
    – maddin45
    May 22, 2014 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ Is the file in text or binary format? It's my understanding that both are possible, and if it's text format you might be able to split it up manually using a good text editor. Some suggestions here: stackoverflow.com/questions/159521/… $\endgroup$
    – jzx
    May 22, 2014 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ @maddin45 If Blender freezes due to not enough RAM it's useless to wait - it will take an eternity to finish. But I'd first try waiting for some hours too. $\endgroup$
    – piegames
    Oct 9, 2016 at 9:27

1 Answer 1


Method 1:

The Blender documentation says:

Use ABC if you want to import/export a large amount of scene data.

So the idea is to find a way to convert your big model from PLY to Alembic. Sadly, I didn't find any converters that generate alembic, but in their GitHub repository, there is an example called WFObjConvert. I'm not used to C++ and don't know about the conversion direction, but the line

OBJ::ParseOBJ( reader, argv[1] );

from the test files indicates that it is taking OBJ and converting to ABC.

If you get this to work, you need to convert your model to Wavefront first. That should be a lot easier due to the popularity of the format. This site should to the job for you.

Method 2:

Just use the converter and convert your file into several other formats Blender can import and try them out.


Using an online converter isn't that a good idea with this file size. Use some offline converter like that one instead.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Meshlab (open source) can handle monstrous meshes, it can help also. $\endgroup$
    – Vinc3r
    Apr 20, 2017 at 9:35

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