Python library for importing Wavefront .obj files
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PyWavefront reads Wavefront 3D object files (something.obj, something.obj.gz and something.mtl) and generates interleaved vertex data for each material ready for rendering. Python 3.4+ is supported in PyWavefront 1.0.0+. An older python2 branch is still provided for Python 2.7.x, however, only fixes and no new features will be backported. A simple (optional) visualization module is also provided for rendering the object(s). The interleaved data can also be used by more modern renderers thought VBOs or VAOs.

Currently the most commonly used features in the defined specification has been implemented. Positions, texture coordinates, normals, vertex color and material parsing. We currently don't support parameter space vertices, line elements or smoothing groups. Create an issue or pull request on github if needed features are missing.

The package is on pypi or can be cloned on github.

pip install PyWavefront


Basic example loading an obj file:

import pywavefront
scene = pywavefront.Wavefront('something.obj')

A more complex example

  • strict (Default: False) will raise an exception if unsupported features are found in the obj or mtl file
  • encoding (Default: utf-8) of the obj and mtl file(s)
  • create_materials (Default: False) will create materials if mtl file is missing or obj file references non-existing materials
  • collect_faces (Default: False) will collect triangle face data for every mesh. In case faces with more than three vertices are specified they will be triangulated. See the documentation of ObjParser#consume_faces() in
  • parse (Default: True) decides if parsing should start immediately.
  • cache (Default: False) writes the parsed geometry to a binary file for faster loading in the future
import pywavefront
scene = pywavefront.Wavefront('something.obj', strict=True, encoding="iso-8859-1", parse=False)
scene.parse()  # Explicit call to parse() needed when parse=False

# Iterate vertex data collected in each material
for name, material in scene.materials.items():
    # Contains the vertex format (string) such as "T2F_N3F_V3F"
    # T2F, C3F, N3F and V3F may appear in this string
    # Contains the vertex list of floats in the format described above
    # Material properties
    # ..

Binary Cache

When cache=True the interleaved vertex data is written as floats to a .bin file after the file is loaded. A json file is also generated describing the contents of the binary file. The binary file will be loaded the next time we attept to load the obj file reducing the loading time significantly.

Tests have shown loading time reduction by 10 to 100 times depending on the size and structure of the original obj file.

Loading myfile.obj will generate the following files in the same directory.


Json file example:

  "created_at": "2018-07-16T14:28:43.451336",
  "version": "0.1",
  "materials": [
  "vertex_buffers": [
      "material": "Stone",
      "vertex_format": "T2F_N3F_V3F",
      "byte_offset": 0,
      "byte_length": 5637888
      "material": "Grass",
      "vertex_format": "T2F_N3F_V3F",
      "byte_offset": 5637888,
      "byte_length": 6494208

These files will not be recreated until you delete them. The bin file is also compessed with gzip to greatly reduce size.


Pyglet is required to use the visualization module.

pip install pyglet


import pywavefront
from pywavefront import visualization

[create a window and set up your OpenGl context]
obj = pywavefront.Wavefront('something.obj')

[inside your drawing loop]


The default log level is ERROR. This is configurable including overriding the formatter.

import logging
import pywavefront

    formatter=logging.Formatter('%(name)s-%(levelname)s: %(message)s')

Example Scripts

The example directory contains some basic examples using the visualization module

  • : Simple textured globe
  • : Higher resolution textured globe
  • : Boxes demonstrating supported vertex formats of the visualization module

Generating a Wavefront file with Blender

The following presumes you are using Blender to generate your mesh:

  • Using Blender, create a mesh with a UV-mapped texture. The UV-mapping is important! If it is working properly, you will see the texture applied within Blender's 3d view.
  • Export the mesh from Blender using the Wavefront format, including normals.
  • Reference your *.obj file as in the pywavefront example above.


All tests can be found in the test directory. To run the tests:

  • Install nose: pip install nose
  • Change to the top-level directory, e.g. PyWavefront, the directory that contains this README file.
  • Run nosetests


Slack: channel. Email the admins to request an invitation. Ensure you leave the subject line intact!


  • ComFreek
  • Daniel Coelho
  • dav92lee
  • Einar Forselv
  • Jerek Shoemaker
  • Kurt Yoder
  • Marxlp
  • Patrik Huber
  • Sérgio Agostinho
  • Zohar Jackson


PyWavefront is BSD-licensed; see file LICENSE.