Maxwell Interactive

Maxwell Render is not just a render engine – it is a light simulator that produces photo-realistic images of unseen quality. In many cases, it is hardly possible to distinguish the rendered images from real photos. Maxwell Render uses sophisticated algorithms and methods to describe, how light behaves in the real world. Our light simulator also provides physically absolutely correct cameras, an easy-to-use material editor and support for instanced objects, grass and even RealFlow meshes and particles. Thanks to an increasing computer power and our advanced programming technology, it is now possible to use Next Limit Technologies’ photo-realistic, unbiased render engine in VFX productions. A growing number of well-known studios already count on Maxwell Render in many situations – with stunning results.

Another big leap in Maxwell Render’s successful history was Maxwell FIRE (= Fast Interactive Renderer) – a fast preview engine that does not require special hardware extensions or graphic cards, because it works entirely on the CPU. Maxwell FIRE has been integrated into the entire range of available exchange plugins to give users the possibility to evaluate a scene directly within their 3D application. “FIRE”  is completely CPU-based and does not require any special hardware, but it creates a realtime preview with accurate lights and shadows. This seamless integration gives you the possibility to render image sequences from simulations directly inside RealFlow – completely with materials and even the “MultiPoint” feature from the RealFlow RenderKit (RFRK). Apart from the FIRE engine, there is also an implementation of Maxwell's production engine that gives you the possibility of rendering your scenes at a very high quality level. The output is the same with the standalone application, but does not support all of its high-end features, of course. The render engine – “Draft” or “Production” – can be chosen in the “Maxwell Scene Preferences” panel.

The "Maxwell Interactive" window works with and without an explicit “Camera” node and the preview is updated with each change of perspective. If there is a camera, Maxwell will use its “Width” and “Height” settings for the preview window's size (this is, by the way, also valid for plain OpenGL previews). In scenes without a camera, Maxwell reverts to the settings of the associated “Preferences” panel:

Preferences > Preview > Render Options


When you change a camera parameter, the view in the “Maxwell Interactive” window will be updated automatically. Please note that a camera is mandatory when you send a preview or render job to RealFlow's command line version.


Different fluid types rendered directly inside RealFlow.


We have established a short pipeline between RealFlow and Maxwell Render with an easy-to-follow workflow: simply choose “Maxwell Preview” from the "Playback" menu and you will be able to render the simulation inside RealFlow’s “Movie Player” tool. The preview files will be cached and it is also possible to trigger a Maxwell preview render from RealFlow's command line application. To restart Maxwell Render, please press Ctrl (Cmd) + Alt + LMB.

Another exciting possibility is to write MXS files (“Maxwell Scene Data”). In the “Export Central” dialogue you can find an entry in the “PREVIEW” branch of the export tree: “Maxwell Scene (*mxs)”. The Maxwell scene can then be processed inside Maxwell Studio or your 3D program and then sent to the render engine.

To customize the preview, each node contains a “Maxwell Render” tab in its “Node Params” panel. According to the node type you can find either material options or “MultiPoint” parameters to create a denser particle cloud. Meshes and RealWave surfaces offer support for the Maxwell Render preview as well. With RealWave it is also possible to adjust the tiling options of the applied material. Imported objects from 3rd party application are, of course, supported as well.


A "Maxwell Interactive" preview from a RealWave simulation.


The results you get with the Maxwell Render preview engine will not only give you a very good impression of how the fluid will finally look, but it is even possible to render the scene in production quality. Rigid body dynamics simulations can be evaluated with motion blur and real lighting conditions. Materials can be applied to the nodes and objects within RealFlow. For this purpose, every (renderable) node has a “Maxwell” tab in its “Node Params” panel.

Previews have never been so impressive.