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OBJ (or .OBJ) is a geometry definition file format first developed by Wavefront Technologies for its Advanced Visualizer animation package. The file format is open and has been adopted by other 3D graphics application vendors.

The OBJ file format is a simple data-format that represents 3D geometry alone — namely, the position of each vertex, the UV position of each texture coordinate vertex, vertex normals, and the faces that make each polygon defined as a list of vertices, and texture vertices. Vertices are stored in a counter-clockwise order by default, making explicit declaration of face normals unnecessary. OBJ coordinates have no units, but OBJ files can contain scale information in a human readable comment line.

Geometric vertex

A vertex is specified via a line starting with the letter v. That is followed by (x,y,z[,w]) coordinates. W is optional and defaults to 1.0. A right-hand coordinate system is used to specify the coordinate locations. Some applications support vertex colors, by putting red, green and blue values after x y and z (this precludes specifying w). The color values range from 0 to 1.

Parameter space vertices
A free-form geometry statement can be specified in a line starting with the string vp. Define points in parameter space of a curve or surface. u only is required for curve points, u and v for surface points and control points of non-rational trimming curves, and u, v and w (weight) for control points of rational trimming curves.

Face elements
Faces are defined using lists of vertex, texture and normal indices in the format vertex_index/texture_index/normal_index for which each index starts at 1 and increases corresponding to the order in which the referenced element was defined. Polygons such as quadrilaterals can be defined by using more than three indices. OBJ files also support free-form geometry which use curves and surfaces to define objects, such as NURBS surfaces.