The 3ds file format is used by the 3ds Max program. This application was developed by Autodesk and is used for designing and creating 3D animations and images and for 3D modeling and rendering. Files with the 3ds extension contain material attributes, image references, mesh data, smoothing group information, vertices data, viewport configuration, lighting data, mapping parameters and can also include object animation data.
All this information is grouped in blocks which are commonly known as "chunks". Each chunk contains an identifier and a length parameter to indicate the location of the next main data block. All chunks are grouped together to form a hierarchical structure based on the ID of each data block. Since the 3ds format is a binary one, it offers faster loading times and smaller file sizes.
How to open 3DS Files
3ds files can be opened with any version of Autodesk 3ds Max. The program is only available on the Microsoft Windows platform. When importing a 3ds scene file users can merge the imported objects with the ones in the current scene or they can replace the scene completely. In this case it is also possible to change the length of the animation so that it will match the length of the one contained in the imported file.