By JDHill
As noted in the Announcements section, version 1.8.2 of the Maxwell for SolidWorks plugin is now available...


Maxwell for SolidWorks version 1.8.2 Release Notes

The 1.8.2 release of the Maxwell Render for SolidWorks plug-in sees movement toward greater simplicity, while also providing a more powerful workflow. Mainly, the changes made will be seen when working with the plug-in's Scene and Database Manager windows.

Scene Manager:

The Scene Manager has been rewritten from the ground up, in order to simplify working with the Maxwell Scene. Some highlights in this area include:

  • The Scene Manager now uses all custom UI controls, instead of standard grids.
  • The number of tabs has been reduced by grouping some similar parameter groups together.
  • Collapsible sub-page panels are provided; their state is remembered between sessions, allowing you to reduce visual clutter by hiding parameters which you rarely use.
  • The date/time page has been simplified and now allows you to customize the format of the date, which is also correctly aware of your specific regional settings.
  • The Environment tab now only shows parameters related to the chosen Environment type.
  • The Output tab now presents a more logical grouping of parameters; more conveniently, file-output is now specified using a folder & scene name, rather than a set of absolute paths.
The plug-in now also provides a modeless Help Viewer window which is capable of showing help for any plug-in parameter. Help is shown by left or right-clicking on a parameter's label.

Database Manager:

Version 1.8.2 sees the removal of the previous version's “Materials Database”. This feature, while potentially powerful, has shown to produce confusion. Many times, people were using the plug-in's MXM Browser instead, defeating the Material Database's purpose entirely. To resolve this, the new plug-in removes the Materials Database page from the Database Manager and replaces it with the MXM Browser. With the removal of “database” Materials, more focus has been made on making plug-in Materials interoperate with MXM files in a more seamless manner.


When a Material is actively linked to an MXM file, its thumbnails are shown with a green border; when it is not linked, it is treated as local to the document where it is located. If a linked Material is opened on a machine where the MXM file it links to is not found, it is treated as being embedded; that is, the scene will still render as it did when last opened. The Database Manager still retains catalogs for individual BSDFs, Emitters, Textures, etc., making it easy to build new Materials based on existing components.

The MXM Browser itself has been made more powerful and convenient as well; it now actively monitors the selected folder for changes being made to MXM files. It also allows easy export of plug-in Materials as MXM files by accepting Materials via drag-and-drop from the Scene Manager's Materials page.

New Plug-in Manual:

As per several requests, the plug-in is now installed with a printable PDF-based manual, rather than the HTML-based manual which was previously used. The new manual includes a plug-in quick-start.
User avatar
By yolk
wooohoo! downloading now
By JDHill
Just an FYI, despite my prior prediction of dropping support, SW2007 (SP3.1) and up get a reprieve with version 1.8.2. Reason being, SW texture-mapping primitives are still not supported; doing so has been proving to be quite a technical challenge due to the way SW implements them, which is totally incompatible with all of the pre-existing plugin code. So Studio will still come in handy for that purpose. On other fronts, besides for the general improvements listed in the release notes, I have also improved the code that deals with making sure materials assigned in one place are available in other places. Moving from the previous 'database'-centric material model to an MXM-centric one in this version should provide a simpler and hopefully more natural working model.
User avatar
By yolk
thanx for the additional info.

is it normal that deleting materials and saving new ones from swx takes 2 minutes? (felt like 2 months)
User avatar
By yolk
also: my materials are not under program files/blahblah but in a directory on my disk E.

i told the plug-in to choose this directory. but when i save a new material into that directory on E it does not show up when i click on that folder in swx.
User avatar
By yolk
oh my bad..silly me. they are there but as i chose listview i had to scroll to the right to see all materials..sorry for the confusion
By JDHill
1) It can take some time, due to a couple of factors: (a) whether many bodies use multi-materials and (b) how many parts are referenced in the assembly. In regards to (a), select a body and look in the toolbar of Scene Manager > Object Properties; you can disable multi-material support if it's enabled. This automatically gets enabled for a body when you assign something to one of its faces or features. Mainly though, speed will be affected the most by whether or not you have real-time viewport materials enabled; that is toggled in the top toolbar of the Database Manager. When they're enabled, in addition to setting data on objects, the plugin has to tell SW to modify how they look, and this can take a lot of time, relatively speaking, especially with a complex assembly.

2) The default folder for the MXM Browser is the materials database folder in your Maxwell folder. To add a different one, click the browse button in the toolbar and select a folder. Whichever folder is shown at shut-down should be shown again at startup.
User avatar
By yolk
manymany thanx for the info..and i humbly bow before your programming skills
By JDHill
Thanks for the nice words...there are tons of changes in this version though, so if you see anything funny, make sure to let me know. Also, if you feel like it, let me know what changes you liked, and which ones you didn't, as well as any wishes you might happen to think of. Come to think of it, I don't have a wishlist thread in this forum...I'll put one up.
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