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Maxwell Environment properties - Windows version
Maxwell Environment properties - MacOS version

The plugin is capable of translating the Rhino Basic Environment to Maxwell, however, for better control and result, we strongly recommend using the Maxwell Environment that the plugin adds to Rhino.

The Maxwell Environment generates a virtual dome around the scene and can be configured in these ways:

  • Type Sky

    • Sky Type: Physical Sky with or without Sun

    • Sky Type: Constant Dome with or without Sun

  • Type Image Based

    • The four channels (Background, Reflections, Refractions and Illumination) can be set to use an HDR image, use the Sky or can be disabled.

  • Type None;this is the best way of disabling the environment light. The background will be black.


You can create as many Maxwell Environment items as you want but only the one that is active as a 360º Environment in the Rendering panel will be used. You can use the Snapshots panel to store different setups for different views.

Sky Type

Both the Physical Sky option and the Constant Dome option are the same as you can find in Studio. You can find information about each parameter here:

The Sun parameters are also described in the pages above, however, in Rhino we also have the option to keep the Sun position synchronized with Rhino’s Sun, which is on by default. This is convenient as, this way, the shadows in the viewport will match with the render.

When the checkbox is active, the sun location parameters will match the settings in Rhino’s Sun panel. You can open that panel using the Rhino Sun… button.

If the Rhino Sun is deactivated, Maxwell Sun will be turned off too. You can completely control the sun position from the Rhino Sun panel, however, this sun configuration will be shared by all the Maxwell Environment items that have the Synchronization on. If you want to have different sun settings per Maxwell Environment, you should uncheck the synchronization and change their location parameters independently (having Fire as a reference, as the shadows in the viewport won’t match with the render).

Sun control.mp4
Adding a Maxwell Environment and controlling the sun

Copy from Rhino Sun button

This button lets you copy the sun location from Rhino’s sun. When you use this button, the “Sync with Rhino Sun” checkbox is disabled automatically, and the Sun Location is changed to the Angles mode. This way, the Maxwell Environment will preserve the current sun location but will get unsynced from further sun changes. This makes it easy to have several environments with different sun positions. Please, note that the viewport won’t reflect the true Maxwell’s sun location from that point on unless you sync it again.

Image Based Type

This environment type lets you use images such as HDRI or EXR to illuminate the scene, use them as background or for the reflections or refractions of the objects. This method can be combined with the Sky type seen above.

The parameters in this section are explained here: Image Based Lighting.