v5 Next Limit Maxwell | Maya


Next Limit Maxwell | Maya
Next Limit Maxwell | Maya

High quality, photorealistic 3D rendering for architecture and product design

Maxwell | Maya offers seamless integration, allowing you to work comfortably within the Maya interface. This product has been specifically designed for rendering in Maya with a simple yet comprehensive Maxwell toolbar. It brings you advanced Maxwell Render technology in a simple, self-contained package.

Maxwell is all about quality. Period. This has been our sacred mantra for almost 15 years of development. Our secret sauce is a physically-correct unbiased spectral engine, which produces not only beautiful images but also lighting-accurate simulations. In fact, Maxwell is considered the ground-truth in rendering and CGI production. We strive to inspire others, and you inspire us when you use Maxwell.

What is Maxwell Render?

Maxwell Render™ is a rendering engine based on the mathematical equations governing light transport, meaning that all elements, such as emitters, materials and cameras, are derived from physically accurate models. Maxwell Render is unbiased, so no tricks are used to calculate the lighting solution in every pixel of a scene; the result will always be a correct solution, as it would be in the real world. Maxwell Render can fully capture all light interactions between all elements in a scene, and all lighting calculations are performed using spectral information and high dynamic range data.

Due to its very nature, Maxwell Render enables users to create accurate and extremely realistic images. Maxwell Render is a recognized standard in architectural visualization, product design, jewelry, film production, scientific research and other high-end rendering markets, and the leader in render quality.

Maxwell Render is a rendering engine that accepts models and scenes created in 3D or CAD applications. Several of these applications are directly supported through a Maxwell Render plug-in; others can be used in conjunction with Maxwell Render by importing the geometry into Maxwell Studio, a component of the software.

next limit maxwell gpu


If you have ever heard that Maxwell is slow…well, yes, it was. Our commitment to developing the most accurate render engine on the market isn’t negotiable. The story has changed in Maxwell 5. A fully rewritten multi-GPU core now delivers final results in minutes and accurate previews in seconds, keeping physical accuracy intact. With multiple GPUs working in parallel you’ll get an unprecedented Maxwell experience. With Maxwell 5, time is now in your hands.

next limit maxwell cloud speed


The new Cloud Render service allows you to access the most powerful machines available in the cloud (up to 96 cores) speeding up the render process and thus improving your productivity. Cloud render jobs can be easily dispatched from Maxwell Studio and the plugins, freeing the local computer from high CPU loads. Cloud Render helps you optimize your time and resources more efficiently.

next limit maxwell integrations


Maxwell 5 is seamlessly integrated in most of the major 3D/CAD software solutions such as Rhino, SketchUp, Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Revit, ArchiCAD, and Cinema 4D. As an alternative, the standalone Maxwell Studio offers an independent production/rendering environment to create, edit and render Maxwell scenes. Render nodes and network tools for advanced deployments are included. Maxwell is available for Windows, MacOS and Linux. Learn More

New Features in Maxwell 5

New Multi-GPU Engine

Fully rewritten MULTI-GPU engine provides more than 50x speed-up compared with a high-end CPU, preserving the Maxwell quality and delivering results in minutes or even seconds.

Cloud Render Service. Always ready for you.

Fully rewritten MULTI-GPU engine provides more than 50x speed-up compared with a high-end CPU, preserving the Maxwell quality and delivering results in minutes or even seconds.

Additive Materials in GPU

Materials with additive layers are now GPU-ready, increasing compatibility with the majority of Maxwell materials.

V-Ray Scene Import

Import native V-Ray scenes and convert them to Maxwell automatically. Only supported in Maxwell Studio. Plugin integrations coming soon.

Improved Interactivity and Stability

FIRE (Fast Interactive Render) is now faster and optimized to update instantly and reflect the changes in the scene, providing a great interactive workflow.

Procedural Textures

Add more variability and realism to your scene by randomizing texture properties automatically across multiple objects or tiled surfaces.

Light Groups (Multilight)

Lights can now be grouped and controlled like single emitters in the Multilight ’emixer’. Useful to keep MXI files more compact, reduce memory footprint and decrease complexity in scenes with lots of emitters.

Support for High Resolution (4K) Screens in both Render and Studio

Now Studio and Maxwell Render interface are able to accommodate to high resolution displays like 4K or higher.

Improved Workflow

Nested references allow for better management of large scenes with deep hierarchies, optimizing file sizes. Dependencies are now searched in several subfolder levels, streamlining assets management.

Maxwell Essentials

next limit maxwell realismUnsurpassed Realism

Unbiased spectral ray-tracing designed to simulate light and materials exactly as it behaves in the real world. No tricks. Just accurate real-world physics.

next limit maxwell interactiveInteractive

Maxwell’s interactive engine gives you immediate feedback for adjustments to lighting, materials and camera settings.

next limit maxwell materialsThousands of Materials

Hundreds of online materials in our community based library. Materials are based on real optical properties, creating unrivalled realism. A Material assistant will help you create perfectly optimized materials in just seconds!

next limit maxwell denoiserDenoiser

The Denoiser feature provides faster results (2x to 6x), obtaining higher quality at lower sampling level.


Light intensities can be changed during and after rendering, saving out as many images as needed – all from just a single render.

next limit maxwell cameraRealistic Camera Model

Set optical properties such as f-stop, focal length, shutter speed, ISO, film size, etc. Get DOF, bokeh, scattering and exposure effects to boost realism.

next limit maxwell motion blurAccurate 3D Motion Blur

Accurate 3D motion blur can handle unlimited sub-steps, and can be set for both a still camera to mimic long exposure effects such as trails of light, or a film camera to show the motion blur effect of fast moving objects.

next limit maxwell physical skyPhysical Sky

Wide range of real-life, physically-correct variables to control the look of the sky and lighting, including Earth location, time, sun’s aspect, and atmosphere.

next limit maxwell volumetricsVolumetrics

Create large atmospheric haze effects or thick fog, compatible with particles files in several formats including RealFlow .bin, OpenVDB and density fields/voxels directly from Maya and Houdini.

next limit maxwell seaMaxwell Sea

Create realistic ocean surfaces and waves controlling water depth and surface dimensions. From swimming pools to open ocean.

next limit maxwell hairHair

Photoreal hair rendering, compatible with Maya Shave and a Haircut, Maya hair, 3ds Max hair, Cinema 4D hair, and Ornatrix. Any Maxwell material can be applied.

next limit maxwell grassGrass and Fur

Create photoreal grass or fur on a selected piece of geometry. Designed to offer maximum control and impeccable detail.

Advanced Features

Realflow Import

Render your RealFlow™ particles directly with Maxwell Render, meshing the point cloud at render time.

Pixar Open Subdiv

The Pixar Open Subdiv feature subdivides object surfaces only at render time – saving space and data transfer.

Network Rendering

Render one image using all of your computers, or set each computer to render one animation frame. Complete control and flexibility.

Memory Saving Instances

Instances are a great way to save memory when rendering. They are great for creating vegetation, bricks, furniture or any other extensively repeated geometry in your scene.


Alpha, Z-buffer, Shadow, Material-Id, Object-Id, Motion Vector, Roughness, Fresnel, Normals, etc. Create unlimited ‘layers’ of custom alphas and add any object(s) to those layers to isolate them.

Extra Sampling

Define a specific area of your image to be rendered to a higher sampling level than the rest – dedicating all render power to the areas where it is most needed.

Deep Compositing

Deep image format stores color as well as depth information per pixel, making it much easier to composite rendered objects together as well as eliminating troublesome edge artefacts. Export to EXR or DTEX formats, in rgba or alpha.

Python Scripting

The Python SDK allows you to write custom tools such as extracting certain channels from an MXI sequence, creating materials on the fly, network render management and much more.


The Alembic file format allows for very efficient storage of geometry and other scene data, which can now be referenced directly in Maxwell. Support for Alembic includes static and animated geometry as well as particles. It also works with the Exocortex CRATE suite of Alembic plugins.


Maya 2016 – 2019

The minimum system requirements for Maxwell Render V5 are as follows:


  • Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, all 64 bits versions.
  • 2 GHz Intel® Core2 processor, AMD Athlon 64 or better
  • 1GB RAM minimum. 4 GB of RAM memory is highly recommended
  • 400 MB available hard disk space for installation
  • Accelerated OpenGL drivers
  • 3 button mouse recommended


  • Mac OSX 10.7, 10.8, 10.9, 10.10 and 10.12
  • 1 GB RAM minimum. 4 GB of RAM memory is highly recommended
  • 400 MB available hard disk space for installation
  • 3 button mouse recommended

Linux 64

  • x86_64 distribution with a 2.6 Kernel and glibc 2.5
  • Tested in Debian GNU/Linux 7 (wheezy), Fedora Core release 6 (Zod), CentOS release 6.5 (Final), Ubuntu precise (12.04.2 LTS)
  • 2 GHz Intel® Core®2, AMD Athlon 64 or better
  • 1 GB RAM minimum. 4 GB of RAM memory is highly recommended
  • 400 MB available hard disk space for installation
  • 3 button mouse recommended

GPU engine

  • Graphics cards that support CUDA platform (Nvidia).
  • Maxwell and Pascal architectures are supported (for reference you can check this link); it could work on older architectures but it could be unstable and the experience won’t be good.

What’s new in version 5?

Maxwell Render

New Features
  • Nested references.
  • New procedural texture: Random Color.
  • New procedural texture: Random Uvs.
  • Emitter groups for multilight.
  • Searching paths include 3 levels of subfolders.
  • Multilight intensity override decimal precision at Mxi Batch Processing tool.
  • Normals channel now shows normal and bump mapping.
  • UI for hi-dpi screens (4k and on).
Known Issues
  • Wrong data issues with TIFF images and LZW compression in Linux platforms (including Maxwell Cloud nodes).
  • Using emixer files at MXI Batch Processing tool makes other changes to be ignored.
  • Noise procedural texture doesn’t use the seed.
  • If a texture is blended with a procedural texture and tiling is used, procedural texture uses squared tiling.
  • Selecting a folder on UI sets the path without final slash.Dropping a file on a path UI sets the file path wrong.
  • Crash when closing app if any field has focus.
  • Bad illumination patterns with high values of blur in spotlights.
  • Random crash using denoiser.
  • Switching between GPU and CPU engines at render time can make some emitters to stop working.
  • Slow render using custom alpha channel on 2 socket machines.

Maxwell GPU

New Features
  • Additive materials.
  • Multi-GPU rendering.
  • High resolution renders supported.
  • Graphics Card driver version detection.
Known Issues
  • Crash when consecutive renders with different resolutions are done with multi-gpu.
  • Dielectrics materials don’t behave as intended on some scenes.
  • Some channels (alpha, material, object, position, z-buffer) may show artifacts.
  • If an instance of an object has a material but the original object uses the default one, both of them use the default material.
  • Deleting BSDFs with FIRE-GPU “on”, makes other objects to change their material.
  • Object opacity clipmaps fails on some scenarios.
  • Ghost BSDF in combination with other BSDFs doesn’t behave as expected.
  • Some scenes have noisy caustics where draft CPU engine doesn’t.
  • Some monochrome images (i.e. TIF format) do not work properly in monochromatic maps (i.e. opacity).
  • “No tiling” feature on textures does not work.
  • Render Booleans are not interacting properly with indirect lighting rays.
  • Black emitter + BSDF makes FIRE to crash at stop.
  • FIRE-GPU can crash at material change.
  • Monochrome textures not being sampled properly.
  • Textures for opacity layers not working in emitters.
  • Re-enable a disabled material layer with FIRE running may crash.
  • Moving an emitter with FIRE running may crash.
  • Materials with roughness between 90 and 100 may not behave as intended.
  • Repeated textures are repeated on GPU memory too.
  • CPU memory peak on GPU copy.
  • Moving instances on FIRE-GPU may crash.
  • Changing resolution between renders may make GPU render to crash.
  • Multistep motion blur may have triangles disappearing.


New Features
  • Maxwell Cloud.
  • Network always render with production engine.
  • If denoiser is activated on scene, network denoiser options doesn’t override it.


New Features
  • MXS and MXI files have metadata.
  • Crash editing MXI files with Simulens “on”.

Version 4.2.2 – 26 Feb 2019

New things and improvements:

  • Added support for Maya 2019.
  • Added support for Maxwell material representation in Viewport 2.0 (Core Profile) for Maya 2017 and newer; in the case of Maya 2016 Legacy Default Viewport has to be used but the features regarding viewport shaders will be the same as in previous versions.
    • Added support for showing in viewport the color or texture of Reflectance 0º and 90º.
    • Added support for showing in viewport the transformations of textures loaded in Reflectance 0º and 90º (Invert, UV Rotation, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation and Hue from “Maxwell Image Controls” and Repeat UV and Offset from “place2dTexture”)
    • Added support for showing in viewport the textures loaded in Layer Masks and BSDFs Weight Texture with support for Invert and UV Rotation from “Maxwell Image Controls” and Repeat UV and Offset from “place2dTexture”
    • Added support for showing in viewport any texture using “Enable Viewport Override” with support for Invert, UV Rotation, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation and Hue from “Maxwell Image Controls” and Repeat UV and Offset from “place2dTexture”
    • Added support for showing in viewport an approximation of the transparency set in Transmittance as well as textures with support for Invert and UV Rotation from “Maxwell Image Controls” and Repeat UV and Offset from “place2dTexture”
    • Added support for showing in viewport an approximation of the blending between Reflectance 0º and 90º (colors or textures) affected by roughness value.
    • Added support for showing in viewport an approximation of the blending of multiple BSDFs as well as multiple layers (limited to 32 elements, that is BSDFs or layers) taking into account Normal or Additive blending modes.
    • Added support for showing the main color and texture of the assistant materials in the viewport.
    • Added support for showing any other texture of the assistants through “Enable Viewport Override” with support for Invert, UV Rotation, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation and Hue from “Maxwell Image Controls” and Repeat UV and Offset from “place2dTexture”.
    • Added support for showing environment viewport preview for Windows and Linux (in Mac it’s not working as it is based on OpenGL 2.0 and in Mac it’s only supported from version 3.2 and up. We’ll try to add support for this in future updates).
  • New Maxwell Material Preview area in Attribute Editor; bigger, more useful, collapsible and detachable).
  • Added a bigger material preview area that can be set to three different sizes.
  • Added engine selection options for the material preview (drop-down and right-click menus).
  • Added controls for Sampling Level (SL) and Time limits as well as the number of threads for the Material Preview.
  • Added a drop-down menu to be able to select the preview scene from the ones available at the Maxwell installation preview folder.
  • Added a text box where to store custom information about the material.
  • Added a toggle button to change from On Demand preview update mode to Automatic.
  • Added a button to edit the material in Maxwell Material Editor (MXED).
  • Added buttons to detach the material preview to a floating window.
  • Added update preview button.
  • Added new buttons to create embedded, referenced and assistant materials (new).
  • In the case of MXS references, we added new object ID options, so you can choose between Container (it will show the one of the MXS reference itself, so it will be one single color), Content (it will show the object ID of the individual objects inside the reference, so it will show several colors) or Recolor (this will generate new random colors for the objects inside the reference which will be persistent between renders).
  • Reorganized assistant materials’ options and default values so they match the ones in MXED; also added some missing texture chips and fixed some problems using textures.
  • Added Hair assistant material.
  • Added an alternative custom saving folder for the Online Gallery downloads in Preferences.


  • Launching a region render crashed Maya when the image was returned to the image frame buffer.
  • When using “Export selected” from File menu with Pack and Go, all the materials of the scene and related files were exported, instead of only the ones related to the selected objects.
  • The plugin was ignoring Maya lights and MXS references when exporting under certain circumstances.
  • Maya crashed if the plugin could not find the right version of Maxwell. It now informs of the problem and disables the plugin.
  • MXS references were not displaying correctly in the viewport in the case of grouped geometry that had transformations applied to the group (although they rendered fine).
  • Some of the fields were showing a light grey background while Maya default color is dark grey.
  • Instances with negative scales exported from Maya were not opened in the right place in Studio (although they rendered correctly).
  • Maya was crashing when trying to open another file after saving one.
  • When Maxwell was set as default renderer, Render Settings panel showed empty.

Version support changes:

  • Dropped support from Maya 2012 to 2015 (included) as some of the new features were not able to work on the old versions.

Version 4.2.1 – 21 Feb 2018


  • Update to Maxwell

Version 4.2.0 – 09 Feb 2018


  • Built with Maxwell SDK
  • Added channel “Triangle ID”.

What’s new in version 4.1?

The new Denoiser feature helps to achieve clear images at a lower SL, and makes Maxwell up to eight times faster, depending on the scene. Instead of having to render images to a high sampling level, users can keep it low and let the Denoiser do the job, setting it to denoise at all SLs or at the end.

In addition, Maxwell 4.1 brings a number of new features, fixes and improvements, including:

  • Optimized GPU-handling memory – paving the way to Multi-GPU in a future update
  • Maxwell | Multilight™ Standalone V2 – a FREE tool for light management, now with the possibility for animations and more
  • New Lights panel in Maxwell | Studio to play with light intensity
  • New illumination assets in the Library Panel
  • New material compatibility: MERL, X-rite AxF, Real-IES files
  • For the full list of features and specs consult the Maxwell 4 website

In Depth: 3D Renderers (Updated 6 January 2020) #3drenderer

There are so many renderers available out there, and how does an artist know what to choose? Although they really do the same thing, they work differently and have different results. Here is a breakdown of what the different renderers offer, not reviews, so you can decide which renderer is right for you.


PBR Workflow in Maxwell | Parts 1, 2 & 3

In this 3 part tutorial serials, Artem Paramonov shares his approach on pairing PBR textures with Maxwell Render.


Introduction to Maxwell Render

Novedge held a webinar in the late winter with Dominik Dammelhart, aka CurseStudio, is a 3D Generalist. In the webinar, they went over the new features of Maxwell Render V4.