To import MD3 file format into Blender.


MD3 is the file format used to hold 3D model data for games based on Quake 3: Arena from Id Software.

Blender is a Free 3D modeller from the Blender Foundation that runs on that runs on just about every platform that Quake 3 does: Windows, Linux/x86, FreeBSD, OSX, BeOS, Solaris, IRIX, and then some. (So it seems Blender is a more fitting companion to Q3 than 3DS is *cough*plugplug*cough*). Blender can trace its lineage back to being a freeware modeller from the Not-A-Number company (corporation?). Blender uses Python as its extensible programming language.


  1. Place files in convenient places.
  2. Ensure is reachable as a python module (usually by setting the environment variable PYTHONPATH to include the's directory).
  3. SHIFT-F11 to open/switch to the Python window.
  4. Then ALT-OKEY to open a script file.
  5. Select (middle-mouse button).
  6. ALT-PKEY to run.
  7. Select MD3 to import by middle-clicking (or use ENTER key).

The bounds/bounding box is imported with the name "bounds", and created in Blender as a rectangular prism (cube). Mangle this however you want: delete, move to another layer, move to another scene.

MD3 tags are created in Blender as Empty objects. The tag names are reflected in the names of the Emptys. Tag orientation (angles) is not yet preserved/imported.


Animation is not imported yet. For any MD3 with animation, only the first frame is imported. MD3 animation is based on storing all vertices for each frame. Blender's VertexKeys IPO is a perfect match for this style of animation, however, I'm having difficulty with the Blender-Python API wrt IPO.

There is another format just above MD3 (MD4?) which uses bones animation. I have no idea what exactly this means, but while analyzing the C data structs, thoughts of Blender's IKA/Armature keep popping up in my mind.

In either case, exporting animation to MD3 in either style should be rather straightforward once all the bit-structuring has been worked out.

Textures and texture coordinates are not imported. I don't understand this texture concept thing... yet.

No export to MD3 yet (still).

Programming Notes

The importing is split into two pieces. Analysis and parsing of the MD3 file is done in, while actual conversion into Blender objects are done in This separation allows to be reusable outside of Blender (My first Python module! Wheee! =).

The resulting object after parsing (from md3.qmodel.parse()) is a mess. It's tough to figure out without seeing how the data is traversed in md3.qmodel.dump().

(2001.03.03) - Python module to parse MD3 file into a messy internal representation. - Python script to import MD3 into Blender using

(2004.09.06) - MD3 importer updated for Blender 2.34. This version preserves all the functionality (read: just as broken as before) as under Blender 2.22. No changes to (modularity!).

One-line bugfix to; was calling class md3's __init__() with extraneous arguments.

Other links:
Last updated 2011.07.11

-- PhaethonH (