Maxwell Render 1.1 Review (1) [en]

Japanese German

January 4, 2007

Written by Hirofumi Kasagi


  1. Introduction - Installation of Maxwell Render 1.1 basic operations -
  2. Explanation of Maxwell Materials
  3. Explanation of the new "Multilight" function


This tutorial is based on 3ds max materials and scenes.

Machine spec

Below I listed the machine I used for this review.

The machine matches pretty closely to the recommended system components as

mentioned in the Maxwell Render manual.

  • OS / Windows XP SP2
  • CPU / Pentium 4 630 (3.0GHz, L2 cache 2MB)
  • Graphic Card / ATI FireGL V5100
  • Memory / PC3200 unbuffered 2.0GB (512M ×4)
  • 3D application / Autodesk 3ds max 8.0 SP.3

● What is Maxwell Render?

Maxwell Render is a new render engine based on the physics of real light.

Its algorithms and equations reproduce the behaviour of light in a completely accurate way.

All of the elements in Maxwell, such as light sets, physical materials and cameras, are entirely based on physically accurate models.

・Spectral Calculations for Light and Object Properties

It is very common, even standard nowadays, that most render engines perform

calculations in a specific color space(typically RGB).

However, this is physically incorrect and therefore Maxwell avoids this approach

and considers real world behavior instead.

In harmony with reality, Maxwell considers light as an electromagnetic wave

defined by a frequency spectrum.

Maxwell considers a spectrum which ranges from the Infrared to the Ultraviolet.

・Full Global Illumination

Maxwell calculates all possible interactions between light and the object within a scene.

These interactions range from the usual indirect diffuse illumination now handled

by most render engines to much more complex lighting scenarios such as indirect

glossy caustics caused by volumetric object which are participating media.

the global illumination interacts with surfaces and also layers beneath the

surface to produce translucency and subsurface scattering effects.

It also interacts with the space between objects when a participating medium

exists (causing absorption and scattering) and all combinations of this behavior

are posiible.

・Material Based On Real Optical Properties

Maxwell material are modeled in a physically correct manner.

They are defined from their BSDF curves (Bidirectinal Scattering Distribution

Function) adding the ability to superpose different layers of physical materials

in the same object like other BSDF or SSS (sub surface scattering) effects.

Thin coating are also available for very subtle and realistic effects.

The possibility to use direct IOR data files measured in laboratory allows

rendering real life materials easily.

・Realistic Camera Model

Camera in Maxwell operate complely differently to those in other render engines.

Traditionally, most render engines use a pinhole camera.

This type of camera simulates a tiny hole that allows light rays coming from

the scene to reach the viewing surface.

Maxwell simulates a real camera model Maxwell can automatcally simulate depth

of field, motion blur effects, image distortion and color dispersion due to

the lens set.

All other render engines curently on the marker use post-render filters or

special tricks to create these effects.

・Object Light Emitter as Light Sources

Maxwell is a physical-based render and it only uses objets whose area is greater

than zero as emitters emulating what happens in the real world.

This approach produces a higher degree of realism in comparision to traditional

render engines outputting smoother shadows and increasing the overall quality.

Quoted from "Maxwell Render Tutorial"

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