3D Viewer: What it is and whether you need it

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If you’re a Windows 10 user, you might have noticed a program called 3D Viewer on your computer. But what is 3D Viewer, and do you really need it? In short, 3D Viewer is a simple application that allows you to view 3D models and other 3D content, such as 3D animation and 3D scenes.

3D Viewer was first included in Windows 10 1703 and supports several file formats, including .fbx, .3mf, .obj, and .stl. With this tool, you can import 3D content from external sources like commercial 3D models, 3D printing, and 3D animation. You can also manipulate and modify existing 3D content to create new projects.

But the real question is, do you need 3D Viewer on your computer? The answer depends on your needs. If you work with 3D models or animation, 3D Viewer can be a useful tool. However, if you don’t work with 3D content, you might not need it at all. Keep reading to learn more about 3D Viewer and whether or not it’s worth keeping on your computer.

What is a 3D Viewer?


A 3D viewer is a computer program that allows users to view 3D models on their computer screen. These models can be created using a variety of software programs and can be saved in different file formats. 3D viewers are used by a wide range of industries, including architecture, engineering, and gaming.

Types of 3D Viewers

There are several types of 3D viewers available, each with its own set of features and capabilities. Some of the most popular types of 3D viewers include:

  • Desktop viewers: These viewers are installed on a user’s computer and allow them to view 3D models without an internet connection.

  • Web-based viewers: These viewers are accessed through a web browser and require an internet connection. They are often used for collaboration and sharing of 3D models.

  • Mobile viewers: These viewers are designed for use on smartphones and tablets and allow users to view 3D models on the go.

How Does a 3D Viewer Work?

A 3D viewer works by taking a 3D model file and rendering it on the user’s computer screen. The viewer uses a variety of algorithms to process the data in the file and display it as a 3D image. The user can then manipulate the image using various tools, such as zooming, rotating, and panning.

Many 3D viewers also include additional features, such as the ability to measure distances, add annotations, and change the lighting and shading of the model. Some viewers also allow users to export the model in different file formats or share it with others via email or social media.

Overall, a 3D viewer can be a useful tool for anyone who needs to view and manipulate 3D models on their computer. Whether you are an architect, engineer, or gamer, a 3D viewer can help you visualize your designs and bring your ideas to life.

Why Do You Need a 3D Viewer?

If you work with 3D models, a 3D viewer can be an essential tool. It allows you to view, manipulate, and analyze 3D models with ease. In this section, we will explore the benefits of using a 3D viewer, the industries that use 3D viewers, and how a 3D viewer can help you.

Benefits of Using a 3D Viewer

A 3D viewer can offer many benefits to users, including:

  • Visualization: 3D models can be complex and difficult to understand in 2D. A 3D viewer allows you to view models from all angles, making it easier to understand the structure and design.

  • Manipulation: With a 3D viewer, you can manipulate models in real-time, zoom in or out, and rotate them to view them from different angles.

  • Collaboration: 3D viewers can help teams collaborate on projects by allowing them to share models and work together in real-time.

Industries That Use 3D Viewers

Many industries use 3D viewers to create, analyze, and modify 3D models. Some of these industries include:

  • Architecture and Engineering: Architects and engineers use 3D viewers to create and analyze building designs.

  • Manufacturing: Manufacturers use 3D viewers to create and analyze product designs.

  • Medical: Medical professionals use 3D viewers to create and analyze 3D models of the human body.

  • Gaming and Entertainment: The gaming and entertainment industry uses 3D viewers to create and modify 3D models for games, movies, and other media.

How a 3D Viewer Can Help You

If you work in any of the industries mentioned above or work with 3D models in any capacity, a 3D viewer can be a valuable tool. It can help you:

  • Save time and money: A 3D viewer can help you catch design flaws early on, saving you time and money in the long run.

  • Improve collaboration: A 3D viewer can help you collaborate more effectively with team members, clients, and stakeholders.

  • Better understand designs: A 3D viewer can help you better understand complex designs and structures, leading to better decision-making.

In conclusion, a 3D viewer can be a valuable tool for anyone who works with 3D models. It can help you visualize, manipulate, and analyze models with ease, making it easier to collaborate with team members and make informed decisions.

Types of 3D Models

When it comes to 3D modeling, there are different types of models that you can work with. These models can be created using different techniques and software. Here are the main types of 3D models:

CAD Models

CAD (Computer-Aided Design) models are created using specialized software designed for engineering and manufacturing. These models are precise and accurate, and they are used to create 2D drawings and 3D prototypes. They are often used in the automotive, aerospace, and construction industries, among others.

3D Scanned Models

3D scanned models are created by scanning real-life objects using a 3D scanner. These models are highly detailed and accurate, and they can be used for various purposes, such as creating virtual museums, archiving historical artifacts, and creating digital replicas of buildings.

Photogrammetry Models

Photogrammetry models are created by taking multiple photographs of an object from different angles and then using specialized software to create a 3D model. These models are often used in the film and gaming industries for creating realistic environments and characters.

3D Printed Models

3D printed models are created by printing a 3D model using a 3D printer. These models can be created from various materials, such as plastic, metal, and even food. They are often used for prototyping, creating custom products, and creating replacement parts.

Overall, the type of 3D model you need depends on your specific application. Whether you’re creating a prototype, a virtual museum, or a realistic character for a video game, there’s a 3D modeling technique that can help you achieve your goals.

How to Choose a 3D Viewer

When choosing a 3D viewer, there are a few important features to look for. Compatibility with your device is also a key consideration, as is pricing. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a 3D viewer.

Features to Look For

When choosing a 3D viewer, you’ll want to look for a few key features. These might include:

  • Support for a wide range of file formats, including .fbx, .3mf, .obj, and .stl.
  • The ability to view 3D models in augmented reality (AR).
  • Advanced rendering capabilities, such as the ability to add lighting effects or adjust the camera angle.
  • Support for annotations and other collaboration features.

Compatibility with Your Device

Compatibility with your device is also an important consideration. Before choosing a 3D viewer, make sure that it will work with your device’s operating system and hardware specifications. Some 3D viewers may be designed specifically for Windows or Mac, while others may be available for both platforms. Additionally, some 3D viewers may require a dedicated graphics card or other hardware components to run smoothly.


Finally, pricing is an important consideration when choosing a 3D viewer. While some 3D viewers may be available for free, others may require a subscription or one-time purchase fee. Consider your budget when choosing a 3D viewer, and be sure to read reviews and compare features to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money.

In conclusion, when choosing a 3D viewer, it’s important to look for key features, ensure compatibility with your device, and consider pricing. By keeping these factors in mind, you can find a 3D viewer that meets your needs and helps you view and collaborate on 3D models with ease.


In summary, a 3D Viewer is a piece of software that allows you to view three-dimensional images. It can be helpful in understanding the perspective of an image and how the various elements fit together. While a 3D Viewer is not required to view pictures, it can be a useful tool for those who work with 3D models or who want to explore 3D images.

Whether you need a 3D Viewer or not depends on your specific needs. If you work with 3D models or images, or if you simply enjoy exploring 3D content, a 3D Viewer may be a valuable tool for you. On the other hand, if you primarily work with 2D images or have no need for 3D content, a 3D Viewer may not be necessary.

It is worth noting that there are many different 3D Viewer applications available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Some are designed for specific types of 3D content, while others are more general-purpose. Before choosing a 3D Viewer, it is important to consider your specific needs and research the available options to find the one that best meets your requirements.

Overall, a 3D Viewer can be a valuable tool for those who work with 3D content and want to explore it in greater detail. However, it is not necessary for everyone and should be chosen based on individual needs and preferences.