By JDHill
As noted in the Announcements section, version 1.8 CTP of the Maxwell for Cinema 4D plugin is now available. As noted in the public release notes, this is a totally new plugin; here are some of the details:

1. Fully-integrated Maxwell Materials
  • Materials are now able to be edited directly in the plugin, using a native material editor which is very similar to Maxwell's MXED MXM editor. Materials may be set to link with external MXM files, in case that is beneficial to your workflow, or they may be unlinked and operate in a strictly-embedded fashion. In all cases, the full definition of a Material is saved in the document, so even if you move a file to a machine where the MXMs it links to are not found, you will not lose anything - the file will render in Maxwell the same as it did the last time it was saved.
2. New 'Scene' object
  • Similar to the previous plugin's 'Settings' object, the Scene is the single interface you use to create and manage Maxwell parameters inside of your C4D document. There is no longer any 'default settings' window - rather, an external XML file ('default_scene.xml, in the plugin's res folder) is used to determine defaults. These files may be saved for use later, or shared around an office to maintain a policy on plugin defaults - the choice is up to you how to use this new functionality.

    The Scene object also provides some default exposure settings for the MXS files it creates. So, unless you want to use things like Z-Clip, it is usually not necessary to create a Maxwell Camera tag - just adjust the exposure in the Scene and render.

    The Scene is also now home to all of Maxwell's Environment options, including a realtime viewport display of Maxwell's Image Based Environment. Just switch the Environment Type to Image Based, set the path for the Background Channel, and tick the 'Show in viewport' checkbox - changes to Scale/Offset will be shown interactively. (note: viewport display of a screen-mapped Background channel is not yet supported)
3. Rendering Region
  • Use the plugin's new Rendering Region tag to set up a persistent region to use with Maxwell's Region or Blow-up rendering features. Rather than using a random rectangle drawn with the mouse, the Rendering Region tag lets you define a precise area to be rendered, and then allows you to render it any time you wish. The region is defined using percentages, rather than absolute pixel size, so it operates in a viewport-independent manner.
For more information, please see the plugin manual (there is a Quick-Start there), and also the plugin introduction tutorial on the THINK! site.
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