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Maya Binary Scene File Format

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name Maya Binary Scene File Format

Maya Binary files define the geometry, lighting, animation, rendering, and other properties of a 3D project scene. They are created using the Autodesk Maya software application. MB files are short for Maya Binary. These Maya scene files can be stored in ASCII as Maya ASCII files or in binary as Maya Binary files. Maya Binary files contain commands that specify information about the virtual scene encoded in binary.

See Maya ASCII for technical characteristics and capabilities of Maya Binary files. Comments welcome.

Production phase Generally used for final-state, end-user delivery.
Relationship to other formats
    Affinity to MA, Maya ASCII. Maya ASCII and Maya Binary files have the same technical construction but are saved to disk as either a text-based or binary-based file.
    Affinity to Maya IFF. From PRONOM: "Maya IFF files are raster images used for images and textures within Maya." Not described separately at this time.

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings The Library of Congress has a small number of Maya Binary files in its collections as of May 2024.
LC preference See the Library of Congress Recommended Formats Statement for format preferences for Design and 3D formats.

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms


Poor disclosure from Autodesk, Inc. Maya Binary files are mentioned in passing, e.g. "Managing files for file referencing", but the format structure is not disclosed. Comments welcome.


None. Documentation exists for Maya Binary's text-based sibling format, Maya ASCII. See Maya ASCII.


Used in Autodesk Maya, a software used to develop modeling and animating 3D assets and used in modeling, animation, lighting, and VFX. This software requires a subscription to use.

According to Autodesk Maya, Maya ASCII and Maya Binary are the only formats that preserve all the information contained within a Maya scene.

    Licensing and patents None specified. Comments welcome.
Transparency Requires Autodesk software to read and write. See also: Maya ASCII.
Self-documentation See Maya ASCII. Comments welcome.
External dependencies There are no specific external dependencies for this format, but it is designed to be used with Autodesk Maya software.
Technical protection considerations None.

Quality and functionality factors Explanation of format description terms

3D Model Geometry Maya Binary files store geometry as nodes, and these nodes can be grouped together to form transformations. Attributes include size, position, translation, scaling, and rotation.
3D Model Appearance Maya Binary files can store colors, textures, material types, and shading.
3D Model Scene Maya Binary files can store lighting and other scene properties.
3D Model Animation Maya Binary files can store animation and rendering.

File type signifiers and format identifiers Explanation of format description terms

Tag Value Note
Filename extension mb
As declared by Autodesk, Inc.
Magic numbers 464F5234{4}(4D617961|4D415941)464F5234
32 Bit values, from PRONOM.
Magic numbers 464F5238{12}(4D617961|4D415941)464F5238
64 Bit values, from PRONOM.
Pronom PUID fmt/861
Maya Binary File Format 32 Bit. See
Pronom PUID fmt/862
Maya Binary File Format 64 Bit. See
Wikidata Title ID Q59653785
Maya Binary File Format, 32 bit. See
Wikidata Title ID Q59653819
Maya Binary File Format, 64 bit. See
Wikidata Title ID Q28771305
Maya scene. See

Notes Explanation of format description terms


From Maya Books (link via Internet Archive), "Maya is the culmination of three 3D software lines: Wavefront's The Advanced Visualizer (in California), Thomson Digital Image (TDI) Explore (in France) and Alias' Power Animator (in Canada). In 1993 Wavefront purchased TDI, and in 1995 Silicon Graphics Incorporated (SGI) purchased both Alias and Wavefront (due to pressure from Microsoft's purchase of Softimage earlier that year) and combined them into one working company, producing a single package from their collective source code. The combined company was referred to as Alias|Wavefront."

According to Wikipedia, the initial release of the software was February 1, 1998. In 2003, Alias|Wavefront was awarded an Oscar for its development of Maya software. AAlias|Wavefront was acquired by Autodesk, Inc. for $182 million in October 2005.

Format specifications Explanation of format description terms

Useful references


Last Updated: 05/14/2024