A simple Python wrapper for Assimp using cffi to access the library. Requires Python >= 3.7.

It's largely based on PyAssimp, Assimp's official Python port. In contrast to PyAssimp, it strictly targets modern Python 3 and provides type hints. It also aims to allow mutating scenes before exporting by having all wrapper classes operate directly on the underlying C data structures.

Note that impasse is not complete. Many ASSIMP features are missing.


Complete example: 3D viewer

impasse comes with a simple 3D viewer that shows how to load and display a 3D model using a shader-based OpenGL pipeline.

To use it:

python ./scripts/ <path to your model>

You can use this code as starting point in your applications.

Writing your own code

To get started with impasse, examine the simpler script in scripts/, which illustrates the basic usage. All Assimp data structures are wrapped using ctypes. All the data+length fields in Assimp's data structures (such as aiMesh::mNumVertices, aiMesh::mVertices) are replaced by simple python lists, so you can call len() on them to get their respective size and access members using [].

For example, to load a file named hello.3ds and print the first vertex of the first mesh, you would do (proper error handling substituted by assertions ...):

from impasse import load
with load('hello.3ds') as scene:

  assert len(scene.meshes)
  mesh = scene.meshes[0]

  assert len(mesh.vertices)

Another example to list the 'top nodes' in a scene:

from impasse import load
with load('hello.3ds') as scene:

  for c in scene.root_node.children:


Install impasse by running:

pip install impasse

or, if you want to install from the source directory:

pip install -e .

Impasse requires an assimp dynamic library (DLL on Windows, .so on linux, .dynlib on macOS) in order to work. The default search directories are:

  • the current directory
  • on linux additionally: /usr/lib, /usr/local/lib, /usr/lib/<CPU_ARCH>-linux-gnu

To build that library, refer to the Assimp master INSTALL instructions. To look in more places, edit ./impasse/ There's an additional_dirs list waiting for your entries.


Impasse tries to avoid unnecessary copies or conversions of data owned by C, and most classes are just thin layers around the underlying CFFI structs. NumPy arrays that directly map to the underlying structs' memory are used for the coordinate structs like Matrix4x4 and Vector3D.

Testing with the same script against assimp's test model directory:


** Loaded 169 models, got controlled errors for 28 files, 0 uncontrolled

real	0m1.643s
user	0m1.912s
sys	0m0.531s


** Loaded 165 models, got controlled errors for 28 files, 4 uncontrolled

real	0m7.607s
user	0m7.746s
sys	0m0.579s