I need to import and specially export in 3DS format. I know that I can import a file in 2.79 and the copy-paste to 2.8, but then when I copy-paste it back to 2.79 I'm having problems with textures missing.

Is there any way to import/export 3ds in 2.8 without using any other version or software like we did in 2.79? The extension is missing in the add-ons repository either.


3 Answers 3


What I normally do in this case is

  1. Import the model in Blender 2.79 then save the file.
  2. Open the new Blender 2.80 project and go to File -> Append menu.
  3. Navigate to your previously saved project with the imported model in 2.79. When you select the file you may need to wait a bit for all the folders to show up.
  4. When all the folders populated then click on the Object folder, may need to wait a bit to populate, and select all the objects here that you want in your new 2.80 project and click on the Append from Library button on the top right.

All the selected objects should appear with the correct materials in your 2.80 project.

In case you still would not get the materials and textures, very unlikely, then go to the File -> External Data menu and select the root directory of your 2.79 project file. Blender will automatically search for the related textures and materials and add them to your 2.80 project. This later is also good when you moved a project file and after reopening the textures and materials are gone because the path has changed. This way you can get Blender to search for them, you just need to point it to the right direction, so to speak.

Unfortunately I do not know an easier solution to export 3ds files from 2.80 but this process can be reversed and exported from 2.79. On the other hand I think you should be fine to export obj file from 2.80. It is supported in nearly any good software.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I didn't know that way of import objects, I usually just import in 2.79 and then open it in 2.8. I'm using a 3D software for creating tracks in certain games (Bob's Track Builder (BTB)) and it only allows 3ds and collada (every time I try to import a collada file in BTB it crash :( ) $\endgroup$
    – Kas
    Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ This was the only way I managed to move 3ds objects into V2.80 but it works well and at least there is a relatively easy work around to get this done without the 3ds import/export plugin present. $\endgroup$
    – Sprad001
    Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ Copy/Paste works, too and is a faster alternative than saving complete scenes out of Blender 2.79. Just open Blender 2.79, import the 3DS there and open the current version of Blender then. Switch back to Blender 2.79 and copy all objects you need there and paste them into the newest version of Blender. This is a fast way, you can try first. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2020 at 10:01

For exporting: In order to get the textures in 3DS export you must carefully name the textures/materials using short names to ensure the image names are 8.3 compliant. Otherwise, the output will not have the proper reference and not be found. It's best to put all the image files in the same directory as the blend file to prevent the appended path name too (this causes file name truncations that can lead to textures not loading).


As @robert-gützkow mentioned, the 3DS addon is still being worked on. It appears to work fine with Blender all the way up to version 2.92. It just hasn't been merged into the main build due to some technicalities that haven't been resolved.

The easiest place to get the current version of the addon is from the Github mirror.

Download all of the scripts (Code->Download .zip) and then pick a method to install the io_scene_3ds addon. Personally, I zipped up the io_scene_3ds directory and used the 'Install...' option to install io_scene_3ds.zip. You could alternatively dump the whole blender-addons-contrib repository into your blender user scripts directory as discussed here: Installing an addon

Once the addon is installed the import/export menus will have a .3ds option.


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