The Maxwell Render classroom.

Now we have this new addition to the forums, I thought it might be useful to have a Maxwell Q&A and tips thread.

The Maxwell Render v1.1 demo version can be downloaded, for free.


Watermark in the middle of image
Max resolution 800x600 px
No rendering in Studio viewport
No network rendering function

Note:- You will not need any plug-ins for use with Blender.




Sample scenes:-
8 Ball test scene. Right click & save as.

Cups lit with skydome. Right click and save as.

Free materials:- (You will need to register for free, to download any materials.)

Don’t forget that discounted student licences are offered at the main Maxwell website:-

Ask any questions regarding any aspect of Maxwell Render, in this thread and I will answer them to the best of my knowledge.


The initial Blender / Maxwell workflow is incredibly simple. So simple that we don’t need a specific Maxwell plug-in.

Model and UV map in Blender, rotate model 90’ along the X axis and export as an .obj.
My .OBJ export choices for optimum intergration with Maxwell render:-
If the ‘Normals’ button is not pressed, it will not be possible to export any mesh smoothing applied to your objects. This can be useful for un-smoothed clay renders, but not for beauty renders.

Selecting ‘Material Groups’ instead of ‘Objects’, will retain objects as seperate entities when imported into Maxwell Studio. If you assign materials in Blender before export, the material names are added to the opbject names when exported.
This is very useful for assigning MXMs (Maxwell materials), to the correct mesh objects.

You can use .3DS, .LWO and other mesh formats if you prefer them to .OBJ.

The two most important factors with Blender and Maxwell are:-

1>. Scale. - Maxwell will not give correct lighting solutions and incorrect DOF, if the scene scale is wrong.

2>. Converting your mesh to triangular faces before export. - If you don’t triangulate your mesh objects before export, Maxwell Studio will have display issues and will leave holes in your mesh. Re-export from Blender with the ‘Triangulate’ button pressed, or CTRL+T in edit mode.

To help with scale I will post my base .Blend file for accurate scale translation with Maxwell.
This .Blend file includes a simple cube, which when exported as an .OBJ file, will measure 1meter x 1meter x 1meter, when imported into Maxwell Studio. The grid is also set up for accurate real world scale modeling, with 1 grid unit equal to 1m. This will be available later today.

Blender materials will not import into Maxwell. Only the names of your Blender materials will be used. All material work, including primitive UV mapping if needed, can be done once your model has been imported into Maxwell Studio.

Introduction to Maxwell Studio coming tomorrow.


Blender scale file available here:-

Thanks sonix! I want to give maxwell a shot, so this is really helpful.


I can’t wait for the maxwell studio tut.
First off I renderd the cups
Then I fooled around and changed the colors.
Then Using Your workflow did one with suzzane
And Finally Used the basics and wizard tabs in the matireal editor to make glass and copper

The copper wasnt quite what i wanted but oh well
I want to keep learning can’t wait for the next tut :smiley:


i can’t wait till maxwell is free :smiley: i know, it will never happen, but it would be cool.

I did it last night


Nice work Marslyr. Try adding a sub-surf modifier to your Suzanne mesh and then export the .OBJ with the ‘Apply modifiers’ tab pressed.

If you import any object that isn’t smoothed inside Studio, you can smooth it using the Object parameters rollout.

Select the object, then look at the ‘Object parameters’ roll out. Press the ‘Recalc Normals’ button and you mesh will now smooth to the given smoothing angle.

Sorry for the delay in the Studio tutorial, this will be ready today or tomorrow.

Marslyr, can you please render an image for me, I have an idea about the water mark. I just need a black render at maximum resolution.

To do this from a new scene in Studio, create a camera with CTRL+C and select it from the ‘Eye’ icon in the top left of the viewport.
Now turn off Sky and render for 5mins. If you can post that I’ll see if my idea works.



The best thing about the beta version of Maxwell, was it’s simplicity to render physically accurate renders, straight out of the box.

Next Limit kindly kept this simplicity as an option in V1.1. I’ll quickly explain the fastest way to create a render with Studio.

  1. Open Studio.

  2. Import your Blender .OBJ mesh. (Pre UV mapped will make this faster.)

  3. Right click the material list on the right hand side of the Studio window. Click Add new material.

  4. Rename the material to suit and then double click the material in the material list, to open the MXED. (Material editor).

  5. Click on the ‘Basic’ tab to open the basic material wizard.

  6. Select the material type you need.
    Metal, Dielectric (glass etc), Plastic, Emitter & diffuse. For anything with a texture map, use Plastic.

  7. Set the material up to suit. Roughness is how reflective the material is. Lower roughness = Stronger reflections. Shinyness is for specular level.

  8. Left click the material in the material list and drag it onto the object in the Object list.

Note> see alternative method below

  1. Now we need a camera. Press CTRL+C with your mouse over the viewport. Select the camera from the ‘Eye’ icon top left of the viewport.

  2. Now we can move the camera by holding ALT and using the three mouse buttons. LMB=Rotate MMB=Translate RMB=Zoom (More precise than scroll wheel). Holding ALT+SHIFT with the mouse buttons will move the camera around the focal point.

  3. When the camera is set, right click the viewport and select ‘Focus to’, now left click on the object surface that you want to be in sharp focus. (You must be in shaded mode for this to work.)

12.Set the camera settings are:- AutoExposure=On F-Stop=8 Film ISO=100 Shutter=1/250 which I then tweak as needed in the preview window during the render. A higher F-Stop will let less light in, so you may need to compensate with the shutter and film speed(ISO).

  1. Next we set the sky, which by default is activated.

  2. Turn on the Sunlight by clicking the checkbox in the Lighting rollout.

  3. Set the time and day to suit and left click and drag the globe to set world position.

  4. In the render options roll out, we need to set the render path.

  5. Click the MXCL image box and type in the image name with the suffix of the file type you want. ie render1.jpg or// render1.tga etc

  6. Save the scene from the file menu and click render.

  7. If you haven’t assigned a material to an object, then you will get an error message. Just click cancel and assign that object a material and re-render.

  8. When the render window opens, wait for the voxelisation to finish before making any changes in the preview section.

  9. You can turn on ‘Auto exposure’ to let Maxwell render the best it can for the ISO and Shutter values. You can set these as you wish and the main render will update to the preview window at the next SL update.
    9>alt. Clicking the file menu and selecting ‘Load enviroment’, will load a premade Studio lighting set up, with a pre-set camera.

10>alt. Select the camera from the ‘Eye’ icon list. If the Studio scetup is too big for your model, delete the Studio base and emitter planes and load a different eniviroment.

11>alt. Change the camera position and focal point as required, using the same methods as above.

12>alt. Be careful to save these scenes as something else, otherwise you will write over them. It’s an unfortunate bug of loading the enviroments.

A more in depth Studio tutorial will follow.


Before I go on let me thank you for you help Sonix, I can’t wati to learn more.

Here is one I did with the Studio Mini-tutorial. ( It’s a bit bright)
And It has a subsufaced Suzzanne with a glossy plastic mat .

And the black render, I hope that .png is acceptable :smiley:

For my suzzane picture am I correct in thinking that it is so bright be cause on the mini earth were you time and date I placed it to close to the sun?

Sorry mate, my mistake. The background is very bright, because there is no ground plane and I thought the standard camera settings would do.

My usual physky&sun camera settings are:- AutoExposure=On F-Stop=8 Film ISO=100 Shutter=1/250 which I then tweak as needed in the preview window during the render.

You can reduce the sky brightness by adjusting the F-Stop value for the camera. A higher F-Stop will let less light in, so you may need to compensate with the shutter and film speed(ISO).

The globe and sun in the sky settings, will only show longditude & latitude position and sun position. It bears no relation to how far away the sun is from the earth.

Higher Film ISO=More light
Higher F-Stop=Less light
Higher shutter speed=Less light

Useful Shutter/F-Stop chart:-

For quicker renders, use HDRI lighting instead of physky&sun. Just select MXI/HDRI at the top of the physky&sun section. Then load up a HDRI map into each channel.

The Offset values in the HDRI channels are misleading. 0.000 = 0’ & 1.000 = 360’
Press and hold your middle mouse button over a numeric value, and drag the mouse to see any changes you make in the viewport. This works for most numerics in Studio, very useful for translating objects.