The core rendering engine offers a complete user interface which is easy to use, flexible and visually attractive. The UI is made of up of different types of panels such as the Render Options panel, the Camera Options panel, the Multilight panel etc. All the panels are dockable so it is easy to customize the interface.

Image courtesy of Dan Abrams

Re-arranging the layout

When you close and re-open Maxwell, it will remember the layout from the last session.

Creating tabbed panels

Tabbed panels can be a very efficient way to keep most of the panels open but without them taking too much space from the main render area. Click and drag on a panel title and release it on top of another panel - two tabs will be created at the bottom of the panel allowing you to quickly switch between the two panels. More than two panels can be tabbed together.

Top menu options


Menu item

What it does

Open MXS

Opens an MXS file generated from the plugins or from Studio. You can then set the render and output options from the Render Options panel and click the Render button to start rendering.

Open MXI

Opens an MXI file which you can then adjust using Multilight, or add Simulens effects to it, change ISO/Shutter Speed to alter the exposure. 

Save MXI as

This menu option can be used to convert a bitmap to the MXI format for use as an Image emitter in your scenes. For more details, see the Load Image menu option.

Merge MXI

Selects several MXI files that were rendered on different computers and merges them together to obtain a higher Sampling Level. This is normally done automatically when using network rendering, but this option can be useful if you are using computers for rendering which are not connected in network.

Merge MXI Sequence

In certain situations you may have several MXI files (i.e. several frames in an animation sequence) rendered by multiple computers, each with the complete sequence of MXI frames. In this case you may want to merge each frame with the same frame in the other computers to obtain the final sequence. This option allows you to specify all the folders to merge (with its “Add Folder” tool), and each frame will be merged with the same frame in the other folders, obtaining a single, complete sequence.

MXI Batch Processing

This tool allows you to edit a group of MXI files, applying the same modifications to all of them. You can change the ISO, Shutter, Tone Mapping, SimuLens, and Multilight settings. You can also extract the render images and the channels from the MXI files, export the emitters as separate images, and make changes in the emitters' intensity (overwriting original files, or not). Simply select the input folder where the MXI files are located, and specify an output folder. You can use the “File Name Filter” to filter the file selection, and use the “View affected files” option to review the MXI files that will be processed.

Resume MXI

Selects an MXI file to resume rendering. After specifying an MXI file, the corresponding MXS file will be loaded into Maxwell Render and rendering will resume automatically from where it left off. Please note that the resume render will not work if you have made any changes in the MXS or if the location of the MXS has changed. Please see the How to resume a render page for more info.

Load Image

Loads an image in any of the supported image formats. It can be useful for changing an image file from one format to another. You can convert a bitmap into an MXI which can then be used as an Image emitter in your scenes. See the Textured emission (HDR emitter) page for more info. Please note that if your bitmaps are in HDR or EXR format they do not need to be converted to the MXI format - you can use these formats directly as Textured Emitters.

Save Image

Saves a bitmap of the currently displayed render channel (Render, Alpha channel, Shadow etc). After clicking Save in the dialog, a second menu will appear, allowing you to choose the bit depth. Depending on the format you have chosen in the Save Dialog, you can save in 8, 16 or 32 bit output. Please see the Output formats page for more info about the capabilities of each image format.


Opens the preferences dialog. Please see the Preferences section further down on this page for more info.

Recent MXS/ Recent MXI

Displays a list of recently opened MXS/ MXI files


Closes Maxwell Render.


Menu item

What it does


Pan: Click & drag on the render to pan through the render. Select: Revert to the normal cursor behaviour.


Allows you to zoom and/or rotate the render. Please note that zooming also works with the mouse wheel.

Full size

Makes Maxwell fullscreen, and hides all panels. Keyboard shortcut: F

Show/Hide panels

Hides/unhides all panels. Keyboard shortcut: H

Display Render

Enables/disables the continuous refresh of the render on the display. When disabled, the latest refinements won't be displayed on screen or saved to disk - useful when you need to save that image reconstruction time.

Clear Console

Clears all messages in the Console panel.


Sets the display of a particular channel (Render, Alpha, Fresnel etc). Please note you can also switch the display of channels by hovering your mouse over any of the channel buttons in the main render area. 


Menu item

What it does


Starts or stops the render process. If you start a render that has already been run once and Maxwell finds the render MXI file, it will ask if you want to re-start or resume the render.

Render via network

Launches a Monitor (or uses the existing Monitor if there is one running on the same machine), and opens the Job Wizard automatically, lining up a new job with the current scene. Of course there must be one Manager and at least one Rendernode running to be able to render in network. Please see Network Rendering chapter for more information.


Menu item

What it does

Load script

Loads and runs a script file to automate the rendering process. Please see the Scripting chapter for more information about Scripting.


Shows a list of the scripts available in the “scripts” folder in the Maxwell installation folder. For quick access to scripts you should save any scripts you use regularly in this folder.


Menu item

What it does

Render Calculator

Provides a very useful calculator to obtain an accurate estimation of the time needed to finish a render at a certain resolution. It also can output the Sampling Level reached after a given render time. It can work both from a previously rendered MXI, or from a given MXS scene file.

Run Benchwell 

Runs Benchwell, the  official Maxwell benchmarking test that allows you to check your computer's performance and compare your render power with other hardware configurations. It first automatically downloads the Benchwell scene from the Next Limit server (the next time you run the test, the system will detect if the scene is already present in your computer, and will skip this download). Then it automatically runs the Benchwell test, rendering the provided scene, and outputting a benchmark value that represents the rendering power of your computer. You can publish your performance value together with your system configuration to the Benchwell webpage, which represents a valuable hardware comparison chart. For more information, see this page about the Benchwell test


Opens or closes the different panels available (Render Options, Edit, Preview, Console, Script, Multilight)


Menu item

What it does


Opens your default web browser to

What's this?

Allows you to click a parameter and get a small pop-up text explaining what the parameter does.

License Info

Opens the License Info window where you can see all your current licenses and also add/remove licenses. Please see Licensing section for more info.

Visit Home page

Opens your default web browser to


Opens your default web browser to where you can find different Maxwell Render resources (tools, scenes, models, scripts etc).

MXM Gallery

Opens your default web browser to where you can browse and download over 4000 free Maxwell Render materials.

Check for updates

Checks if any new updates are available (internet connection required).

About Maxwell Render

Switches Maxwell Render to "turbo" mode providing a 50x speed increase. Just kidding. Displays the About message including version number.







Keyboard shortcuts 

You can download the Maxwell Render Suite keyboard reference chart here: Maxwell_shortcuts.pdf