WHAT’S NEW IN MAXWELL V3.2?

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WHAT’S NEW IN MAXWELL V3.2? – JUAN CAÑADA, HEAD OF MAXWELL RENDER TECHNOLOGIES

August 26, 2015 NewsTechnology 19 Comments 

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Hello everyone!

I’m very happy to announce the imminent arrival of yet another feature-filled, free update for Maxwell V3!

V3.2 has just been uploaded to our Early Builds Area, so licensed users can go ahead and try the beta version. In this post I’m going to run through some of the main new features and improvements, so that you know what you should be looking out for! So, let’s take a look…

MORE SPEED – SUBSURFACE SCATTERING

Improvements here are remarkable! This scene was rendered with V3.1.0 on the left, and the new V3.2 on the right. Both were rendered for the same time, up to sampling level 12. Check out the difference in noise clean up (click on the images and look at the ear).

Subsurface Scattering_1

Subsurface Scattering_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

NESTED DIELECTRICS

This is a major improvement, especially for anyone rendering fluids – dielectrics inside dielectrics render much better now in Maxwell V3.2, as you can see clearly in the example below: Before (on the left) and after with V3.2 (on the right):

dielectrics_1

dielectrics_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just to explain briefly how this is done – there is a new material parameter called “Nested Priority”. By default all materials will have the same priority (0, which is the maximum), but when adjusted, Maxwell will prioritize the one with the lower number over the rest – useful when you have an overlapping of dielectrics/SSS materials. With this method it is possible to render complex water/glass/ice surface without numerical issues, by simply adding a small overlap between geometries. In the liquid inside a glass example, the liquid is modeled slightly larger, invading the glass body. The priority is then set to 0 for the glass, and 1 for the liquid (or any value higher than that used for the glass). This way, the overlapping volume with be filled with just glass, the liquid wall will be removed, and the remaining walls will then render appropriately as either glass or liquid, depending on the ray direction.

This improvement will be especially useful to Maxwell and RealFlow combined workflow users and anyone rendering fluids.

Here’s another example below, and you can read more about this new feature in our Support Center here:

nested dialectrics_ bottle1

HERE COMES VIRTUAL REALITY: STEREO LENSES

Lat-Long Stereo left-right loop

We have implemented two new lens types in V3.2: Lat/Long (image above) and Stereo Fish Lens (image below). These lenses are stereo lenses, which means that the user can choose if they render the left or the right eye and can set the intraocular distance. They are geared up for camera travelling in virtual reality (VR) systems such as Oculus. We hope that our archviz users affected by the VR revolution will find these new lenses useful and exciting!

Fish Stereo left-right loop

DEVELOPERS BEWARE: API EXTENSION

It is now possible for third party developers to develop their own procedural geometries, geometry modifiers, procedural textures, camera lens, etc. Many of the latest improvements in Maxwell (volumetrics, hair, grass, particle rendering, etc) use this API internally. The possibilities are endless! This API extension is included with the main package and is free for both personal and commercial use.

PSD OUTPUT SUPPORT

PSD_Export

Maxwell V3.2 can now save the render in PSD format in 8, 16 and 32 bits. It supports multi-layered PSD’s, so channels and light buffers (when Multilight is enabled) can be embedded as separated passes. Simple!

PROCEDURAL EMITTERS

Glowing_Rat

As you probably know, the way Maxwell that produces light involves an emitting material being applied to an actual triangle mesh. Now it’s possible to apply emitter materials to entities that are not triangle meshes – such as hair and fur, particles, grass.

SEPARATED REFLECTION & REFRACTION CHANNELS

In V3.2 we have made it possible to render many more channel combinations – such as “Diffuse”, “Reflections”, “Diffuse + Reflections”, “Refractions”, “Reflections+Refractions”. These 6 available options make it possible to apply denoisier algorithms to specific passes. Rendering the diffuse and reflective components separately allows for greater flexibility when compositing.

We hope that you will find this helpful when rendering glass for example. Less noise in glass buildings for our architect users! :)

Lampara cuenco_ Render passes_ TODAS LAS IMAGENES apaisado

MAXWELL SCATTER: IMPROVED

We have added a new “remove overlapped” option to avoid collisions between instances generated by the scatter algorithm. In your scene you might want to distribute trees over your garden randomly, but you do not want these to intersect in a way that would not happen in real life. Now you can automatically avoid this!

There is also a new “uniform scaling” option to avoid undesired deforming when scaling scattered instances.

overlapped scattering

NEW “REFLECTANCE” CHANNEL

This new channel shows plain colors without the influence of global illumination. It is very useful for achieving “self illuminated textures” when used in combination with custom alpha channels.

Render on the left and Reflectance channel on the right – notice there aren’t any shadows or highlights!Tazas Reflectance Channel montada

MAXWELL GRASS – WORLD-Y GROWTH

Grass grow 002 ed

This new percentage allows you to define the overall growth direction of your grass blades towards the world-Y axis (sky direction). This follows the natural phototropism in plants, where no matter the ground surface angle, they will grow towards the direction of the World-Y. The rest of the angle parameters can be applied after this main growing parameter; so the Initial Angle will mean a deviation from this main growing direction, as well as the Initial Angle Variation.

Capture_Grass

IMPROVEMENTS IN MULTILIGHT EDITOR

In V3.2 it is now is possible to select and edit multiple emitters at the same time and there is a new “Sort by name/type/intensity” function.

NEW “ASSET REFERENCE” EXTENSION

This new extension allows you to work with references of many different file formats, in the same way Maxwell works with referenced MXS’s – so these geometries are not pre-converted to MXS files but Maxwell now works with them directly, and they are loaded in render time.

Some of the supported formats include OBJ, FBX, Blender, Alembic, DAE, STL, LXO, 3DS, LWO, 3D, etc.

Maxwell Render V3.2 will be a free update for all V3 users, we hope you enjoy the new features and improvements. I’ll leave you with a list of additional bug fixes!

Thanks to all Maxwell users for your feedback and for making Maxwell what it is.

Juan

BUGS FIXED

The new “nested dielectrics” feature also fixes artifacts with dielectrics/SSS objects that intersect.
Fixed artifacts rendering intersecting volumetrics
Error messaging improved, specially with licensing errors.
Fixed issues in opaque material type when using textures
Color space management of input textures improved
Fixed “hidden from reflections and refractions” was not working properly with coatings.
Fixed instances of hidden reference were not visible unless they were translated
Fixed issue with scaled instances of procedural geometries not showing up in the render
Extra Sampling:
Fixed Extra Sampling with render region was not stopping at the desired sampling level
Better support for missing paths for bitmap masks
Fixed custom alpha channels in referenced MXS
Fixed other minor bugs
Fixed potential crash in procedural displacement
Fix potential crash when using EXR in OSX
Fixed hang when using deep channel at very high resolutions
Fixed crash when opening/resuming corrupted MXI files
Fixed issue in texture interpolation
On the fly displacement improved.

NETWORK

The new network system (tp_network) is much more stable now. Many features of the old network system have been added.
Better support for Extra Sampling in cooperative renders

Stay tuned for more: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

Maxwell Render

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Review: Maxwell Render

We go under the hood of Next Limit Technologies’ physically-based renderer Maxwell Render.

Lexus big

I’ve always loved the Maxwell Render Engine and yet have never used it as part of my everyday workflow. For some reason it’s never surpassed or replaced my love for V-Ray, but who knows, that may well change in the future.

If you want a render engine that is obsessed with doing things physically and accurately then this is most definitely the solution for you. And let me tell you, it is excellent at doing that. It focuses on light and ensures that it represents it as it should. This ensures artists can trust it to get incredible photo-realistic images.

If you’re an artist who knows what a good looking image looks like then you’ll get on well with Maxwell

The other reason they can trust it is because of how straightforward it is to use. You don’t have to be incredibly technical to use it. Instead, if you’re an artist who knows what a good looking image looks like then you’ll get on well with Maxwell. Everything is set up based on the real world – from the lights, all the way to the cameras.

Maxwell is a progressive renderer, so if you’re after a solution that is going to deliver results quickly, then it’s definitely worth giving it a try. I find it incredible how much quality and detail can be calculated in such a short space of time; you can make changes and see them appear in front of you (obviously hardware dependent).

Getting this level of quality is also surprisingly easy to set up. They try and stay away from stacks of complicated parameters and really let you only specify the quality and sharpness you want. It’s refreshingly simple.

Lexus big
You don’t have to be a tech wizard to get to grips with Maxwell Render

A broad appeal

Maxwell has been increasingly trying to appeal to a variety of different markets including architecture and product design, as well as film, animation and VFX. They provide easy-to-use tools that make working in each of these industries a job. The Multilight feature for architectural visualisations is genius and enables artists to focus on making creative choices, not on long re-renders. The attention to real-world materials means product visualisations stand out as a cut above the rest. Massive scene handling means that you can use it confidently on huge scenes, even with complex animations.

One other thing to note, while on the subject of animation, there is no flickering! Everything is calculated in exactly the same brute force way for each frame, so it’s a solution that you can rely on.

All in all Maxwell is an excellent renderer that should always be considered when starting out or switching rendering engines. Its price point is attractive and it’s floating license with render nodes makes it even more appealing to small studios. They provide a demo version of the render suite and I would highly recommend giving it a few minutes of your time.

THE VERDICT

8

OUT OF 10

Maxwell Render

All in all Maxwell is an excellent renderer that should always be considered when starting out or switching rendering engines.

Rob Redman puts Next Limit’s latest Maxwell Render update to the test

Rob Redman
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Rob Redman puts Next Limit’s latest Maxwell Render update to the test, including VR-ready stereo sound, PSD saving capabilities, and more…

Rob Redman

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Product: Maxwell Render

Company: Next Limit

Website: www.maxwellrender.com

Next Limit are pretty good at point version upgrades for free, and Maxwell Render has now reached V3.2 which brings less in the way of new features and more in the way of real updates to help modern artist’s workflows.

 

 

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Setting up a render for use in VR is simplicity itself

Virtual Reality

Maxwell has always had a strong toolset but times change at a rapid rate, and it’s nice to see Next Limit keeping pace, introducing tools that many might not use just yet but are bound to in the near future. The main of these in 3.2 is the new stereo camera system, developed to allow output ready for devices such as the Oculus Rift. Set up is a simple job of applying a Maxwell Camera Tag and choosing left, right or center from the drop-down menu, and then setting a distance between the sides. Simple as that. The render comes out as a 360-degree spherical map which can then be used in your VR system. Very nice.

 

Sub Surface speed boost

Of more use for the majority of artists, at least on a daily basis, are the other improvements to Maxwell. The main player here is the speed hike that rendering sub surface scattering has been given. SSS could previously be a bit of a hog on the CPU, but Next Limit seem to have tamed that particular beast and even complex materials with multiple lights and no physical sky (which helps speed renders up) reach the desired SL much sooner than before.

 

 

691_tid_SSSPiggy.jpg
Multiple lights and complex SSS materials render faster thanks to V3.2

Photoshop output

By far the most useful addition to V3.2 is the ability to save rendered files as Photoshop PSD format. For anybody using more than just a beauty pass this is huge news. You can now save out one file with all your channels, and even multilight passes embedded. This serves two purposes. Firstly, it saves on management in your finder/explorer, as everything is nicely contained within one file, meaning losing a key pass is unlikely. Secondly, it reduces the time spent copying passes from their separate files into one master file for the comp work. What’s more you can choose between 32- and 64-bit output. Even better. I don’t know why it’s taken so long to implement this but it’s a very welcome addition to the tool set.

691_tid_psd.jpg
Getting all your channels into one Photoshop document is now a simple case of choosing your format and bit depth

 

Light emission

Applying a light emitting material has been, up to now, sometimes limiting, with the only option of emitting objects being standard meshes, triangulated at render time. This wasn’t too much of a problem but did mean that certain tasks took longer as you needed to convert other objects into editable meshes to make them light up. V3.2 now allows you to apply emitting materials to other objects, from particles to fibers, so if you want to add glowing dust to the air, or have luminous grass, you can and with ease.

 

And there is more

Not content with those features or updates already mentioned, Next Limit have included more in the latest version, from native reading and rendering of many files types from other applications, such as MODO, Lightwave and so on, as well as Alembic and FBX files. If you work with transparent dielectric materials you can now have them interact more realistically without problems.

 

 

691_tid_glowingfibres.jpg
The power to add emitting materials to fibers and particles is really very useful

New grass attributes and a reflectance channel output join the line up to make this point version release complete. While it’s fair to say Maxwell could still take a little tweaking, it’s a great renderer and this update makes it even greater and what’s more, it’s a free update. Nice work Next Limit.

There can be no doubt that Maxwell’s end results are beautiful and up there with the best available, and once you adjust to a different way of thinking the speed of the renderer is less of an issue. While it could stand some speed boosts, it’s still one for the shortlist of best in class.

 

Score (out of 5): 4

Price: From A$125 to *A$ 1,800

( *incl 10x free Render nodes + GST)
Educational license (if available): free to A$125 + GST

Release date: Now

 

Related links

Download your copy of Maxwell Render
Take a look at the free tutorials on offer on 3dtotal

Maxwell V3.2 released

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Maxwell V3.2 released.

Maxwell Render v3.2 lense_virtual_mw32

Hi Everyone!

Maxwell V3.2 released!

Maxwell V3.2 released October 5, 2015 is another update packed with new features and workflow improvements so check out the new features below and make sure you have the latest version

If not look here for upgrades.

Did you know? That’s 32 brand new features added since V3!

If you want a list of your customers who still haven’t upgraded to V3, please just ask me for it.

If you haven’t already seen the V3.2 new features webpage, here are just some of the highlights…..

Maxwell Render V3.2 features