I have an obj parser that handles triangle meshes specifically.

I want to extend it (and the rest of my system) to handle animations as well. However, I don't think I am ready to tackle the glTF format. Because it seems to encompass much more than what I want.

I just need a simple file format that describes a mesh, some bones, and the skinning weights of the mesh vertices with respect to the bones. Plus a series of poses for the skeleton.

What file format could I look into?

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    $\begingroup$ Handle animations of what? None of what you're talking about ("some bones, and the skinning weights of the mesh vertices with respect to the bones") are animations. They're just what you need to do skinning; they don't provide actual animations. Also, there's nothing "simple" when it comes to skinning. Lastly, you don't need to "tackle" glTF, because there are dozens of libraries out there who did the hard part for you already. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 4:54

1 Answer 1


For what it's worth, the glTF Tutorials contain a section on Skinning that shows how the raw vertex and joint weight data feed into a vertex shader to distort the mesh.

If you do design your own format to hold this, you'll need tooling to export it from 3D content creation software, as well as software to read the new format into your application. Using an open format like glTF can grant access to existing tools, such as the Blender glTF exporter, that can write all this data into the file, in a form that's ready to load into vertex attributes and shaders.

How skins work


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