Maxwell Render

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Maxwell Render
Developer(s)Next Limit Technologies
Initial release26 April 2006; 13 years ago (2006-04-26)
Stable release
4.2[1] / 21 February 2018; 16 months ago (2018-02-21)
Operating systemLinux (on x86-64)
Mac OS X (on IA-32 and PowerPC)
Microsoft Windows (on IA-32 and x86-64)
Available inEnglish
LicenseProprietary commercial software

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 in architectural and product design visualization.[2] It offers various plug-ins for 3D/CAD and post production applications.[3]


Maxwell Render was released to the public as an early alpha in December 2004 (after two years of internal development) utilizing a global illumination (GI) algorithm based on a metropolis light transport variation.[4] Next Limit Technologies released its latest version of Maxwell Render V4.2 in February 2018.[5]

The physically correct rendering engine was originally used as a tool for animation and visual effects. Maxwell Render’s trademark Multilight feature,[6] which permits the changing of light intensities and colors in real time, was used in the feature film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.[7]

General features[edit]

Physically-based advantages

  • Accuracy
  • Advanced Ray Tracing
  • Physical Sky
  • Fast scene set-up
  • Layer-based materials
  • Multilight

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
  • Maxwell Volumetric
  • Maxwell Grass
  • Maxwell Scatter

Industry standard support

  • Alembic
  • AxF
  • Deep compositing
  • Pixar Open SubDiv
  • Python scripting
  • VDB

Network Rendering Post Production

  • Post production plug-ins
  • Channels
  • Custom Alphas

New Features in V3.2[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Maxwell Render for SketchUp[8] 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

Postproduction application plug-ins

  • Photoshop
  • Nuke
  • After effects

Third party supported plug-ins

  • solidThinking
  • blender

Version history[edit]

2004 Maxwell Render Alpha version
2005 Maxwell Render Beta version
2006 Maxwell Render 1.0

Maxwell Render 1.1

2007 Maxwell Render 1.5

Maxwell Render 1.6

Maxwell Render 1.6.1

2008 Maxwell Render 1.7
2009 Maxwell Render 2.0
2011 Maxwell Render Suite 2.6

Maxwell for Google SketchUp

2012 Maxwell Render 2.7

Maxwell Render Learning Edition

Maxwell Render 2.7.1

2013 Maxwell for SketchUp

Maxwell Render 3.0

2014 Maxwell Render 3.0.1

Maxwell Render beta

2015 Maxwell Render 3.1

Maxwell Render

Maxwell Render 3.2

2016 Maxwell Render
2017 Maxwell Render

Maxwell Render 4.1

2018 Maxwell Render

Maxwell Render

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Latest release". Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 October 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Review: Next Limit's Maxwell Render - Computer Graphics World". Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Next Limit Technologies - All Products - (866) 362-8970 Novedge, Authorized Reseller". Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Multilight_features". Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  7. ^ "10 things you didn't know about Maxwell Render". NOVEDGE blog. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Plug-ins - Maxwell Render V4 Documentation - Next Limit support site". Retrieved 12 June 2019.

External links[edit]