Thursday, January 29th, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Next Limit releases Maxwell Render 3.1

Next Limit has released Maxwell Render 3.1, a free update to its physically accurate renderer, adding a new spotlight emitter type, support for OpenVDB and UDIM, and a time-saving selective sampling system.

Spotlights, volumetrics and UDIM textures
The first update to Maxwell in just over a year, the largest single addition to Maxwell Render 3.1 is probably the new Spot emitter type.

Shown in the video above, this acts like a standard spotlight in other software, with options to control the cone angle and falloff, and to project gobos onto surfaces it illuminates.

Support for volumetrics has been improved, with the option to read and render data stored in OpenVDB format. Maxwell also now reads textures in tiled formats like Mari’s UDIM.

New selective sampling and network rendering options
There is also a handy time-saver in the form of the Extra Sampling option which enables users to increase the sampling level of a render selectively, focusing processing power on noisier parts of the image.

The area of the image to which the higher sampling level is applied can be controlled either via an alpha channel, or by assigning a custom bitmap.

Another interesting option – not fully implemented yet, but available as a preview – is the new Network System, which enables render jobs to be distributed across a mixed network of Windows, Linux and OS X machines.

Other new features include an option to create turntable animations of models, new real-world camera sensor models, better white balance and tone mapping controls, and the usual set of smaller updates and bugfixes.

Pricing and availability
Maxwell Render 3.1 is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. A single node-locked licence costs $775; pricing for packs of render nodes varies.

Read a full list of features in Maxwell Render 3.1 in Next Limit’s release notes