Puneet Varma (Editor)

Maxwell Render

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Available in  English
Type  Raytracer
Developer(s)  Next Limit Technologies
Initial release  26 April 2006; 10 years ago (2006-04-26)
Stable release  3.2 / 5 October 2015; 16 months ago (2015-10-05)
Operating system  Linux (on x86-64) Mac OS X (on IA-32 and PowerPC) Microsoft Windows (on IA-32 and x86-64)

Maxwell Render is an unbiased 3D render engine, developed by Next Limit Technologies in Madrid, Spain. This stand-alone software is used in the film, animation, and VFX industry, as well as architectural and product design visualization. It offers various plug-ins for 3D/CAD and post production applications.



Maxwell Render was released to the public as an early alpha in December 2004 (after 2 years of internal development) utilizing a global illumination (GI) algorithm based on a metropolis light transport variation. Next Limit Technologies released Maxwell Render V3.2 in October, 2015.

The physically correct rendering engine was originally used as a tool for animation and visual effects. Maxwell Render’s trademark Multilight feature, that permits the changing of light intensities and colors in real time, was used in the feature film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

General Features

Physically-based Advantages

  • Accuracy
  • Advanced Ray Tracing
  • Physical Sky
  • Fast Scene Set-up
  • Multilight™ FIRE: Fast Interactive Rendering

  • Immediate feedback to make adjustments to lighting, materials and camera settings
  • Materials Realistic Camera Model

  • Real camera parameters: f-Stop, Focal length, Shutter speed, ISO, film size, diaphragm blades
  • Memory Saving Instances Accurate 3D Motion Blur Hair, Grass and Fur

  • Compatible with many hair systems: Maya Shave and a Haircut, Maya hair, 3ds Max hair, CINEMA hair, Ornatrix
  • Volumetrics Particle Rendering

  • Integration with RealFlow software
  • Maxwell Sea
  • Industry Standard Support

  • Alembic
  • Deep compositing
  • Pixar Open SubDiv
  • Python scripting
  • Network Rendering Post Production

  • Post production plug-ins
  • Channels
  • Custom Alphas
  • New Features in V3.2

  • Virtual reality stereo lenses with two new lens types: Lat/Long and Stereo Fish Lens
  • Subsurface scattering speed improvements
  • Nested dielectrics priority method; render complex water/glass/ice surface without numerical issues
  • PSD Output support: save renders in PSD format in 8, 16 and 32 bits
  • Extensions API that allow third party developers to develop their own procedural geometries, geometry modifiers, procedural textures, camera lens, etc.
  • Procedural emitters to apply emitter materials to entities that are not triangle meshes – such as hair/fur, particles and grass.
  • Separated Reflection & Refraction channels such as “Diffuse”, “Reflections”, “Diffuse + Reflections”, “Refractions”, “Reflections+Refractions”
  • ‘Reflectance’ channel shows plain colors without the influence of global illumination.
  • Improvements in Multilight editor
  • ‘Asset Reference’ extension can reference many different file formats as the geometries are no longer pre-converted to MXS. Some of the supported formats include: OBJ, FBX, Blender, Alembic, DAE, STL, LXO, 3DS, LWO, 3D, etc.
  • World-Y Grass allows you to define the overall growth direction of your grass blades towards the world-Y axis (sky direction)
  • Interaction with other software

    Maxwell Render for SketchUp is a simplified version of Maxwell Render, fully integrated into the SketchUp software application. Users can set the camera, lighting and environment, apply SketchUp or Maxwell MXM materials, and render and save image files. It is widely used in product design, architectural and engineering visualization.


    3D application plug-ins

  • SolidWorks
  • SoftImage
  • MODO
  • MAYA
  • Houdini
  • Rhinoceros
  • SketchUp
  • LightWave
  • Graphisoft ArchiCAD
  • Bonzai 3D
  • 3DS MAX
  • form Z
  • Post Production application plug-ins

  • Photoshop
  • Nuke
  • After effects
  • Third party supported plug-ins

  • solidThinking
  • blender
  • References

    Maxwell Render Wikipedia

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