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In order to use Maxwell for rendering from Max, open the Render Settings panel and select Maxwell Render as the Production renderer in the Assign Renderer rollout. This section documents only the Max-specific settings; for an explanation of the common Maxwell render options, please see this page.

Common Tab

The plug-in takes into account all the output file name, render size and time settings that are found in the Common tab of the Render Settings panel. Currently only the "Single", "Active Time Segment" and "Range" settings are supported.

The plug-in supports most formats from the Image format, namely: PNG, JPG, TGA, BMP, TIFF, EXR, HDR.

When rendering the current frame, Maxwell will use the camera attached to the active viewport.

General Settings

Click here for a description of the Maxwell render options, such as Sampling Level, Multilight etc. The following settings are specific to the Maya plug-in:

Scene Scale Factor

All the positions and distances in the scene will be multiplied by this value on export. Since the plug-in handles unit conversions automatically, this setting should only be modified in scenes which were not modeled to scale. In Maxwell, the size of the objects influences several aspects of the rendered image such as depth of field, transparency and subsurface scattering, so it is important to maintain a realistic scale in order to obtain accurate results.

Attenuation Scale Factor

This factor is multiplied into all the material attenuation values. Modifying the global scale changes the thickness of the objects in the scene, so transparent objects can change appearance due to increased or decreased attenuation. You can use this setting to tweak the scene if the attenuation settings are not to scale. However, same as with the previous setting, it is better to input realistic attenuation values for the materials, and leave this parameter at 1.

Displacement Scale Factor

All the absolute displacement height values are multiplied by this number. Materials using relative displacement height are not affected, since in that case the displacement is proportional to the size of the object.

Motion Type

Set what kind of motion is exported for motion blur:

  • Off: no motion blur is computed.
  • Movement + Deformation: full motion blur, using both changes in the object positions and local deformation such as skinning.
  • Movement Only: deformation is not exported. Some scenes can export faster in this mode and the render performance can improve as well.

Motion Steps

Set the number of positions exported for each object during the exposure interval. Maxwell will interpolate the movement between these positions. For linear motion, two steps are enough to reconstruct the correct path at render time. For more complex motion, such as objects following an irregular path, you will need to increase this parameter to obtain the desired result in the render. Using more steps slightly degrades rendering performance and can slow down the export process.

Read Back Multilight

When Multilight and MXI output are on and this option is checked, the plug-in will attempt to import emitter changes made during the render back into the scene. When the render finishes, you will be presented with a dialog where you can select which changes to read back:

Additional Flags

The contents of this box are passed verbatim on the command line when Maxwell is executed.

Override Image Output

When Maxwell finishes rendering, the plugin reads the final image and sends it to Max in order to show it in the Render View. Upon receiving the image, Max will overwrite the image with its' own version. For low range images this isn't a problem, however in the case of EXR and HDR renderings, it will overwrite some of the embedded channels that Maxwell writes. This setting was added to provide a way to keep the original file after the rendering is done by overriding the final location of the rendered image.

Persistent MXS / MXS Path

When rendering with Persistent MXS off (the default), the plug-in writes the scene to a temporary file which is removed after the render is finished. Enabling this option will leave the exported file on disk. This is useful if you ever need to resume or redo a render. If the MXS Path control is empty, the output scene path is computed by replacing the image file extension with MXS.

Specify MXI Path / MXI Path

Normally, if MXI writing is enabled, the path to the MXI file is computed by replacing the extension of the output image file with MXI. These two settings allow you to override the location of the MXI file written during rendering.

Use 3DSMax Instancing

When this setting is on, the plug-in will export Max instances as render instances. When it's off, Max instances are exported as copies. The Maxwell instancer node will always produce render instances, regardless of this setting.

Export Hidden Objects

 When this setting is on hidden objects are exported as hidden to camera, global illumination and second rays instead of being skipped altogether doing export.


Maxwell environment lighting settings are described in detail on this page. There are only a few Maya-specific settings:

Geographical Location

This setting can have two values:

  • Manual: the sun direction is determined from the longitude, latitude and time settings found in the Geographical Location group.
  • Use a Daylight System: the sun direction will be determined from the orientation of a Daylight system.

Same as background

This option can be found in the reflection, refraction and illumination channel groups. When it is enabled, the respective channel uses the same parameters as the background, and the channel-specific settings are ignored.


There are no Maya-specific settings in this group. See the Channels page for a description of these options.

Render Layers

This group allows you to select which kind of lighting is computed by the render. 


There are no Maya-specific settings in this group. See the SimuLens page for a description of these options.

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