RealFlow does not only provide a convenient method to create plain previews from the viewports, but also to render photorealistic images and movies with Maxwell Render's FIRE engine. With FIRE you can evaluate the look and feel of your current scene together with materials and a physically correct lighting system in realtime. This absolutely unique feature is not only available with objects, but throughout all node groups – even standard particles, Hybrido and RealWave are supported. To make use of this high-quality preview system, each node provides a “Maxwell Render” panel where you can find specific settings for the render process.
When we say “realtime”, we definitely mean realtime, because the “Maxwell Interaction” window (this is the place where you can see the current preview) directly reacts on any change of view you make in the viewport and updates the image accordingly, but also on parameter changes. Additionally, it is possible to create a complete preview sequence of your simulation and assemble the frames to a complete movie. This way you do not have to import the simulation data to your 3D application anymore, set up a complete environment and adjust lighting. Now, everything can be done directly within RealFlow and you can even control the quality of the render with just a few clicks.
To activate the Maxwell Render preview option, simply follow a few easy steps:
File (OS X: RealFlow) > Preferences > Preview > Renderer > Maxwell Render
Layout > Maxwell Interactive
If you are not happy with the current lighting setup or render speed you can either change this globally under “Preferences” again
File (OS X: RealFlow) > Preferences > Preview > Renderer > Maxwell Options
or you make settings for each scene individually with the “Maxwell Scene Preferences” from the “Icon Bar”.
Each emitter can be excluded from the render with this switch. With “Yes” (the default setting) the node will be visible in the preview. Please note that the node's viewport visibility is not taken into consideration by default, and the “Yes” and “No” states work independently from the “Set Selected Visible” and “Set Selected Hidden” options. If you want to use the current state of visibility in the viewport for the node, choose “Same as display”.
As mentioned in the introduction, RealFlow already provides many common materials, for instant usage, but there is more: with “From Node”, Maxwell will take the colour from the “Node” panel's “Color” parameter. There you can specify any colour by simply using the operating system's colour picker. Please bear in mind that colours are always rendered opaque (non-transparent).
“From File” gives you the possibility to load a Maxwell material file directly from your hard drive. If you already use Maxwell Render in your production environment, you can create your own material definitions with the “Mxed” application – the Maxwell material editor. You can also find a lot of ready-to-use materials in your Maxwell application folder. Another method is to freely register on Maxwell's online material database and download files:
The “From File” option also unlocks the “@ File” field where you can browse your disk to search for a material file. Maxwell materials have the extension MXM. The last option is to choose from one of the listed materials which come with RealFlow. When you have a closer look at the drop-down menu you will notice that we have also included some light emitters. These materials can be applied to an object to light your scene.
This field is only available when “Material” is set to “From File”. A click into the empty field opens a file picker and you can load any valid MXM file.
Tile 1/Tile 2
RealFlow's preview engine supports tiled RealWave surfaces to create the impression of infinite oceans. Simply specify the number of repetitions for each planar axes and fire off the “Maxwell Interactive” window. There you will see that the tiles are seamlessly stitched together.