Thursday, June 8th, 2017 Posted by Jim Thacker

Next Limit releases Maxwell 4.1

Next Limit has released Maxwell Render 4.1, the latest version of its physically based production renderer, adding a new GPU-accelerated image denoising tool based on Innobright’s Altus software.

The release also updates relighting tool Multilight, and introduces support for MERL and AxF material data.

New built-in render denoising system
The main change in Maxwell 4.1 is the new Denoiser system. Like Altus, the standalone tool on which it is based, it enables users to render images at a low sampling level, then remove noise as a post process.

The resulting two-step process is quicker than choosing a higher sampling level and rendering a noise-free image in one go: in the case of Maxwell, Next Limit claims that it is up to 8x faster.

Pixar introduced a similar system into RenderMan in 2015, and Render Legion and Chaos Group have since done the same thing with Corona Renderer and V-Ray.

Updates to Multilight, new readymade light sources, support for MERL and AxF data
Multilight, Maxwell’s relighting tool – made a standalone application in Maxwell 4.0 – also gets an update to Multilight 2, adding the option to animate lighting changes, and tonemapping and camera response controls.

The release also optimises memory handling in the new GPU render engine introduced in Maxwell 4.0: something that Next Limit says will pave the way for multi-GPU support in future releases.

Other changes include a new Lights panel for adjusting the intensity of lights in a scene interactively, currently available in the Maya, form.Z and Revit editions of the software, plus the standalone Studio edition.

The update also adds a new set of readymade illumination assets that can be dragged and dropped into scenes, along with a set of photometric lights created in PlaySys’s Real IES software.

Maxwell can also now import files from Mitsubishi’s MERL database of measured real-world materials, and materials saved in X-Rite’s AxF format, a vendor-neutral standard also supported by Iray and KeyShot.

Pricing and availability
Maxwell 4.1 and Multilight 2 are both available for Windows, Linux and macOS. The GPU render engine requires a CUDA graphics card, but the Denoiser works with both CUDA and OpenCL GPUs.

New seats of Maxwell Studio cost $595 for a node-locked licence or $795 for a floating licence, as do the SketchUp, form.Z and Rhino for Mac editions.

The other editions – including 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Maya, Modo and Rhino for Windows – cost $795 for a node-locked licence, and $995 for a floating licence. The update is free to registered users.

Read a full list of new features in Maxwell 4.1 on the product website