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The Maxwell for SketchUp plugin exists as two separate products: the Standalone plugin, and the Render Suite plugin.

Which version to install

If you have purchased both Maxwell for SketchUp, and a full Maxwell Render Suite, it is preferable to install the Render Suite version of the plugin. This version also provides export functionality to .MXS (Maxwell's file format), which means you can render your scenes with the full production render engine, use network rendering etc. To download the Render Suite version, log in to the Customer Portal, click the "Download Area" link and then click on the Maxwell logo. This will take you to the main download area where you can also find the Render Suite version of the SketchUp plugin.

Maxwell for SketchUp (Standalone)

The Standalone plugin has no dependencies on Maxwell Render; all rendering is done directly inside of SketchUp, using the Maxwell Fire window. Throughout this manual, topics and features which only apply to the Standalone plugin are marked using the symbol SA.

The Standalone plugin supports both SketchUp and SketchUp Pro, versions 6 and up, on Windows and OSX. In order to support the free version of SketchUp, data-transfer from the SketchUp model into the Maxwell scene description (a.k.a export) is accomplished using a Ruby-based exporter.

By default, the Standalone plugin runs in its unlicensed mode, and allows you to render images without making any purchase from Next Limit. Optionally, a license may be purchased. This license may be activated from within the plugin, providing for an ’in-place’ upgrade. The capabilities of each license are as follows:


LicenseDraft ModeProduction ModeMaximum Resolution
Unlicensed800 x 800 pixels
Licensed1920 x 1080 pixels

Maxwell for SketchUp (Render Suite)

The Render Suite plugin expects to find a full Maxwell Render Suite installation on the machine. Throughout this manual, topics and features which only apply to the Render Suite plugin are marked using the symbol RS.

Although it is possible, as with the Standalone plugin, to render images from within the plugin, this is not the primary intended workflow for the Render Suite plugin; rather, it is primarily designed to accommodate rendering in Maxwell Render, outside of the SketchUp process. As such, the Render Suite plugin provides much broader functionality than the Standalone plugin. For the most part, this functionality concerns features which are provided by Maxwell Render itself, for example, the output of Maxwell MXS files, editing of Maxwell MXM files in Maxwell’s MXED material editor, network rendering via Maxwell Render’s Network Rendering system, etc.

Additionally, this plugin requires SketchUp Pro, since it uses a very high performance C++ -based MXS Exporter to transfer data from SketchUp into Maxwell’s format.

When the Render Suite plugin is run in the absence of a valid Maxwell Render Suite (or Learning Edition) license, it will operate in much the same way as the Standalone plugin: MXS export and external rendering are disabled, and the Maxwell Fire window will only allow rendering in Draft mode. To enable Render Suite functionality, it is necessary to install Maxwell Render and use its license activator to activate a valid Maxwell Render Suite (or Learning Edition) license.


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