User avatar
By Mihai
#232534
When I find more time I could make a pdf version of this text, with images, if users feel it's necessary. But if you're somewhat used to XSI, you shouldn't need images with big red arrows in them :P

Please let me know what I should add to this text or what is unclear.

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A few words about the current XSI plugin:

- The plugin correctly exports the current subdivision level of objects.

- Materials can be applied to objects, groups, clusters and will be exported correctly to Maxwell.

- Hide to Camera, Hide to Secondary Rays, Hide to GI, Unaffected by Z Clip are supported via a custom parameter set that can be applied at object level.

- Zclip and Shift lens supported.

- Maxwell materials in the scene show up in the Material Manager in XSI (Ctrl+7) with correct material thumbnails.

- Due to current limitations in the XSI SDK, the Maxwell materials are edited via the external MXED application (Maxwell standalone material editor).

- Render region inside XSI viewport is not supported.


Installation:

DragDrop the .addon file in an XSI viewport to install the plugin.

A Maxwell Material entry is added to the Get>Material menu.
A Maxwell Mesh Attributes entry is added to the Get>Property menu.
A Maxwell Scene option is added to the File>Export options.


Basic usage:


1. Go to Render tab>Render>Scene Options. Choose Maxwell as Scene Renderer. Here is were you can also select the frame range, frame step, output folder/format and render format/resolution. Note that the Scene Motion Blur settings from this panel are ignored. The MB options are set instead from the Maxwell custom attributes found under the camera node (more on this later).

2. Go to Render tab>Render>Renderer Options to set the Maxwell render options. Here you have the typical tabs for setting render time, channels and layers to render, environment/physical sky settings and so on.

One of the most important settings for getting the right lighting and DOF is the Global Scale Factor (Globals tab). By default it is set to 1 which means 1 XSI unit = 1 meter in Maxwell. For example:
- If you are modeling a house using 1 XSI unit as 1cm, then set the Global Scale Factor to 0.01 (1cm is 0.01 meters).

- If you are modeling using 1 XSI unit as 1 inch, set Global Scale Factor to 0.0254 (1 inch is 0.0254 meters).

- If you are modeling using 1 XSI unit as 5 meters, set Global Scale Factor to 5 (1 XSI unit will be 5 meters in Maxwell).

3. Make sure you are in a camera view, go to Render tab>Render>Current pass to start rendering.

Applying Maxwell materials:

- Select one or more objects/groups/clusters
- Get>Material>Maxwell Material
- In the property page either:

- click New which will ask you to first name and save a new Maxwell material, then it will open MXED allowing you to edit the material. After editing you can simply click X to close MXED and it will ask you if you wish to save the edited material before MXED closes.

- click the Browse button (...) to browse to an existing Maxwell material. You can ofcourse also edit the loaded material by clicking the Edit button in the property page.

- If you have already loaded a Maxwell material previously, you can also open the XSI Material Manager (Ctrl+7) and apply the material to your selections like any other XSI material (for example drag and drop from Material Manager to object or cluster in the viewport).

Working with cameras and Maxwell:

- The plugin adds a custom parameter set to the camera node. Due to a current limitation in the XSI SDK, you have to first click on the camera node once for the custom parameter set to appear in the list. Just open an Explorer window, browse to the Camera node and click on it once.

- The MaxwellCameraAttrs parameter set contains the typical Maxwell camera attributes such as Fstop, ISO. Motion blur settings are also controlled from this parameter set by choosing Use Rotary Shutter and setting the appropriate Shutter Angle.

- By default the focus distance of the camera is set to the cameras target null, but in the cameras custom parameter set you can also choose to use a manual focus distance (specified in XSI units).

- If the Projection Plane settings are not enabled in the camera properties, the plugin will convert the Field of View setting (in the Primitive tab) to the appropriate focal length and film size setting when rendering, to match the viewport and render. If the Projection Plane is enabled, the plugin will instead use the data from this tab (focal length, film aperture).

- The Optical Center Shift (Projection Plane tab) can be used to activate the Shift lens feature of Maxwell.

- The Clipping Planes (Primitive tab) can be used to enable the Zclip feature of Maxwell.

Custom Parameters for objects:

Select one or more objects and choose Get>Property>Maxwell Mesh Attributes. This will add a custom parameter set to each selected object allowing you to set Maxwell specific options, such as Hide to Camera, Hide to Secondary rays etc.

Exporting Maxwell scene without rendering:

Go to File>Export>Maxwell Scene. You have the option to export only the current frame, or the whole animation.

Saving MXS along with rendering:

By default the plugin saves a temp file in your Windows temp folder, but you can instead choose to save the mxs to another location. Go to Render>Renderer Options and in the Globals tab, check Save MXS and then specify and MXS path and name.

Rendering animations:

The frame range is specified from the Render>Scene render options. The plugin will first export one mxs per frame, and then start rendering.
User avatar
By oz42
#232838
Mihai, so far so good!

I would mention in the material section that lambert, phong and constant materials are also supported and converted to Maxwell materials at render time (will arch materials be supported in the future?)

And if you're going to do a pdf version, although not strictly necessary, I would include a screen grab of each of the tabs so that people know what you're referring to in each of the sections.

I seem to remember that people had trouble with animations if they set the frame range to 'from scene' and had to specify it directly, it may be worth mentioning this (unless it's been fixed?)

But otherwise good, thanks for taking the time to put this together.
User avatar
By Mihai
#232898
Thanks for the feedback oz!
oz42 wrote: I seem to remember that people had trouble with animations if they set the frame range to 'from scene' and had to specify it directly, it may be worth mentioning this (unless it's been fixed?)
In what context did this happen? I've rendered animations and didn't come across this problem.
User avatar
By oz42
#233068
I haven't experienced it myself but there was a post on the forum in this thread - http://www.maxwellrender.com/forum/view ... hp?t=22995 towards the bottom.
SORTED - with the help of Mihnea.

In XSI's Render Manager, the default setting for Pass Frames is "Use Scene Render Options", if I set it to "Frame Range", then all renders fine.

Thanks for the help
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