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Collaboration with other software
About model and data exchange with 3rd party solutions: Revit, Solibri, dRofus, Bluebeam, structural analysis solutions, and IFC, BCF and DXF/DWG-based exchange, etc.

Exchange models between ArchiCAD and 3ds Max

Katalin Takacs
Graphisoft Alumni
Graphisoft Alumni
Here is a collection of some useful tips to import and export 3ds files:
Do you have your own tricks? Please share.
Katalin Takacs
Since I migrated to OSX, I never used Max anymore, but I did use it quite a bit some years ago.

I remember following tips for getting clean ArchiCAD models into 3ds Max:

Construct the exported model according to materials. But do also check the two other options (write out texture information & object is group name) so the model has all ArchiCAD textures applied and groups are named by their material. Much easier to find everything back again.

I preferred to retain the texture information, as the positioning and scaling of the ArchiCAD textures is retained. You can then replace them with higher resolution texture maps and add bump maps and all other advanced material settings.

It is even better to prepare your ArchiCAD materials with low- or medium-resolution texture maps so they are scaled correctly.

I often had to weld vertices to avoid ugly seams when rendering.

You can try the old plugins from Marc Lorenz, still available on:

In 2004 I wrote a page about this in my old and deprecated website... It is still online:
--- stefan boeykens --- bim-expert-architect-engineer-musician ---
Archicad-user since 1998
my Archicad Book
Not applicable
Not really about Max, but I use often 3ds format to export Google Earth and Warehouse models from SketchUp Pro. The problem is that SketchUp tends to name the textures of each export similarly which messes up the references if brought straight into ArchiCAD. So I rename the texture files prior to import (a file renaming utility is handy for this when doing a lot of it). The importer then asks for the textures it can no longer find automatically.

Another problem is that the importer always seems to set the materials' ambient light parameters to 0.00 making the parts much too dark in rendering. The best fix for this is to open up the part for editing and change the values there before using the part. I find 0.75 to 0.85 usually works pretty well. I usually don't bother with the diffuse settings (which are set to various positive values) unless I'm being particularly fussy.

Both of these seem like problems that could be fixed with revs to the importer if GS were so inclined.