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By Elle83
I'm quite new to Maxwell Render and it's my very first time in a render competiton.
The first thing that came to my mind when I read the terms for the competition was a modelmaker's studio at Christmas eve... the Eiffel tower will be the main focus of the scene but there will be other iconic monuments/design objects scattered around the place to make it more interesting.
I've used some models found in the sketchup warehouse, but for the tower i'm building my own using a face-only model found on the net, as i'm trying to get the look of a laser cut balsa model.
I'm almost done setting the model (everything but the tower, which is 60% complete), but i'm still trying to figure out right setting for the camera and the light fittings... i've made some trial rendering and they turn up quite nicely, but I think I'm still not there.
Hopefully I'll be able to post some sneak peek soon.
Good luck everybody!
Ok... here's some WIP. I'm using Sketchup 2013 and the latest free version of Maxwell for Sketchup

The first image is the very first render I tried to do for the scene. Lots of elements missing here, wrong light/camera settings etc...
Uploaded with

This is were I am now... many hours later... still not there but I wanted to check the results.
Uploaded with

Least but not last the wireframe scene directly from sketchup.
Uploaded with

Now... things I don't like/I'd like some advice for:
- noise. the SL for the render was 22 when I stopped it and saved it, but there's still a lot of noise and I've started to wonder if it will ever go away. I must admit I used some scattering in the simulens values but I'm not sure that this is the result of that (EV is 6 and, beside the "tree" lights there is the desk lamp and a suspended lamp with fluorescent lights with low wattage and efficacy)
- lights. I'm not so sure about the "tree" lights. I've found online that this type of light (speaking of the incandescent type) varied between 7 and 15 W depending on the dimension of the bulb. I've used an emitter material setted to 15 w with 15 efficacy but maybe it's too much. I think that something's off but I can't exactly say what.
- composition. I thought to use this one (maybe slightly shifiting the POV so that the tower is a little bit on the left, adding depth to the scene) because I liked the idea that people could ask "where is the modelmaker? is he still there at such a late hour of christmas eve? Is he getting ready to go home?" but there are other point of view that maybe convey the feeling like, for exemple, a view from above the desk, looking in the direction of the tower.

Needless to say that the tower is far from complete, but I'm working on it.

Thank you in advance for any critique!
hi Elisa, it is looking nice!
the problem with the noise is due at you are using the free versión which only uses the 'draft' engine...

copy paste this comment by Jason Maranto:
But it is also possible that (since you are using the free version of the plugin) the complexity of the lighting (multiple light-sources) is causing the error due to late appearance of some of the lighting information... the pay versions of the plugin have the "production" engine which is better suited to complex lighting calculations (multiple light-sources).
This problem will most likely become more pronounced when rendering interiors.

is the geometry of your room closed? if yes, try to leave no walls on the back of the camera, that could help to reduce light bounces...
Thank you for the tip Victor.
I'm quite new to the program and this is the first time I'm doing an interior with such a complex lighting.
I'll try opening the walls behind the camera hoping this will solve the problem.
I have to admit that when I was asked about the colored lights I felt a little bit guilty... because I knew I've done something that I shouldn't have.
Let me explain: while I didn't put the emitter inside the bulb (because I knew that it would get messy for the caustics) I made the entire bulb an emitter (but I kept all the other type of lights as simple planes). At first everything was ok, but I suppose it was because I tested the lights solo...
Now the scene is more complex and things started to get dirty...
I don't wanna use simple disks for the colored emitters, because I'm afraid it will show too much... so I'm experimenting whith them.
Right now I'm trying a solution were the emitter is made from two disks (more precisely, a 7w colored annulus and a 5w white disk) and the shape is made with a png image of the bulb that is always facing the camera. In the solo tests it was quite acceptable so I'm testing it in the model.

I hope I can fix this, but I've started to think that I have to get a "plan B"... today, while I was waiting for the results of my little experiment, I came across this image

So I tried to start from there to build something whith the mini-statue of the Duomo di Milano (which is hidden in the snow-globe in the Chritsmas scene... it was supposed to be more visible but it ended up on the library after infinite changes of the POV).

Here is the scene at 17 SL

It's like a scomposition of Piazza del Duomo, with the Duomo under the dome (no pun intended!), the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele pictured in the old b/w photo on the wall and the omnipresent pigeon (damned birds!) :P

It's more like an interior lighting exercise (and a far from complete one at that) than an actual model but I hope you like it.

For now I will keep testing with the tree lights and I hope to find a solution... I'm open to any suggestion. Thank you.
Hi Elisa,

Both ideas are brilliant (the eiffel tower and the milano duomo). Choose the one you prefer, both could end in a beautiful and suggesting image.

For the color emitters: you could even try using the photo os the bulb itself as an emitting texture if you want. You can see here how to do it: ... Id=1475757

Keep going, the concept is very nice!

Dario Lanza
Thank you for the tip Dario. I did try to use the image as an emitter but it turned out awful because I was doing it the wrong way, for I knew anything about HDR images...

Tomorrow I'll try to use the method you suggested, because I'm afraid that if I do it from the laptop it will die on me!

For now I'm getting further with the "Milano" scene, and I tried to adjust the lighting. I think that the major fixes needed in the scene right now are a new and more realistic plant and something about the wallpaper which seems a bit off. I was also thinking to change the format of the image to 1:1.

Here's where I am now.

The best thing about this competition is that I'm learning lot of things and I'm having a lot of fun... I feel that with the "Milano" scene I could start an entire serie (I'm thinking about birdcages, terrariums and so on... maybe I should call it "urban taxidermy"... ok. I'll stop daydreaming right away :P).

I'll keep in touch with the updates.
The lighting is definitely starting to look better :) Are you using an HDR environment also of a room? To fill out the reflections a bit in the glass, like in the real photo. Also check the photo reference for how strong and diffuse the shadows are, this gives you an indication of where to place your emitters and how big they are (smaller emitter = sharper shadows). Not saying you should mimic the lighting exactly, but having some shadows makes it more interesting, otherwise it looks too flat.

How thick is the glass dome? Maybe it needs to be thicker to give a better refraction effect.
Hi Elisa,

First off I like the reworked the idea of placing the building within a glass dome and look forward to seeing the image develop.
Good Luck!

A question if I may (open to all) did you get the emitter and IES to work in the standalone version with your original concept image?
I have tried setting up a simple emitter (nothing else in the seen!) and just can't seem to get the object to emit all????

Missing something obvious I know but cannot fathom as to what. Can you or anyone else point me in the right direction?
Looked on tutorials/forums and thought I was doing it right but failed miserably.
Also read somewhere that the plugin does not support IES files for lighting....from your post this is obviously wrong.

Can someone literally shed some light on the problem.

Many thanks in advance!
Hi V,

Thanks for the tip, V.
...will give it a try.

Being from an architectural background all my models are drawn to scale but you mention the dimensions corresponding with the model...does maxwell for sketchup use its own dimension settings?
I thought it took them from SU?

Sorry Elisa...I will move this subtopic to my own entry as I don't want to hi-jack your thread.

How is your "Milano" image coming along? Keen to see what you do with the lighting...especially the emitters.

Good Luck.
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