Arcane University: Nif Import

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Importing a NIF into a 3D program can be accomplished by a variety of methods, usually through the same programs that allow you to export to Nif. This page provides a basic overview of the various options, as well as their advantages, limitations and drawbacks.

Importing options[edit]

Meshes can be exported by the following applications:

  • Blender Nif plugin (Blender version 2.7x or 2.8x)
  • 3DS MAX export plugin (Max versions xxx)
  • CK-CMD (any 3D program that can import an fbx file)
  • Outfit Studio (any 3D program that can import an obj file)

Blender Nif plugin[edit]

The Blender Nif plugin allows you to import nifs straight into Blender - the information included will be shading, rigging and most other information. This will also allow you to see the textures, if you imported from a suitable directory. Also very useful when you want to export nifs using the same plugin and you need quick settings, or want to see how to set up your own mesh for that export. This is obviously limited to users of Blender, and so far only directly works for the LE nifs. Supported versions of Blender are 2.7x and 2.8x.

3DS MAX Nif plugin[edit]

The 3DS Max plugin has many of the same advantages as the Blender Nif plugin, with of course the difference that it is geared towards users of 3DS Max. It currently supports both SSE and LE nifs, and works for 3DS MAX version 2015-2018, though other 3DS MAX versions may also be supported depending on which plugin is used.


CK-CMD does not import straight into the 3D programs themselves, but rather allows for conversion of NIF to FBX, a format which most 3D software support. It should be noted, however, that it does not have textures when imported. To convert your NIF into an FBX, run the command ck-cmd.exe exportfbx (NIF filepath) -e (output folder) with the NIF you want to convert. It is important to make sure that your NIF you would like to convert to FBX is a Legendary Edition NIF file, as CK-CMD cannot convert SSE NIFs to FBX at the time of writing this. Once you have run this command, it should export an FBX file with the same name as the converted NIF in the output folder you specified. From here, you can import your FBX into any 3D software that supports FBX.

NOTE: If you don't want to run the command line every time you want to convert a NIF, you can create a file in the same folder as ck-cmd.exe which will convert just by dragging and dropping NIFs onto a .BAT file. To do this, create a .BAT file (Notepad++ supports saving in this file format) with the code "%~dp0\ck-cmd.exe" exportfbx %1 . . > logfile.txt 2>&1. Once you have saved this, you can convert to FBX by simply dragging and dropping your NIF onto the file you created.

Outfit Studio[edit]

Outfit Studio, like CK-CMD, does not import straight into the 3D program. However, it converts nif to obj. This file format is more limited than fbx, which means it can not import things such as vertex colors and vertex weights. Only the mesh geometry and names will be included. However, it has a graphical interface, which may make it slightly easier to use than CK-CMD.