By adman
SW is our modelling tool of choice and it has a great animation toolset. Rendering out an animation through the plug-in seemed a good idea until I found that before rendering anything it appears to write an MXS file for every frame. Though not surprising, it is way too slow, writing only four MXS files overnight. Is this right? or am I doing something wrong?
By JDHill
The long export time seems out of line, but it is correct that one MXS is written for each frame, because just that's how Maxwell works -- one MXS is expected per frame, with a frame number appended to the filename (e.g. filename_0001.mxs), and with the range to be rendered subsequently being controlled in Maxwell Render > Render Options > Frames (see here). One good method for reducing export times (and also reducing the total file size of the animation) is to put all the static geometry in a separate MXS and reference that in the scene that's being animated (i.e. so that you are only writing out heavy geometry per frame for things that are actually moving, as mentioned here).
By adman
Thanks JD,
MXS files for each frame might only have lights, HDRI and camera, except where an element of the geometry moves in relation to the scene.
It is not clear if the best way to set up such an animation is to write a scene with everything in, then hide or delete all except lights, HDRI and camera and run the animation sequence.
Presumably the view is not important in the referenced MXS, as it will be placed on global coordinates for each frame anyway. Experimenting later.
By JDHill
Correct, referencing an MXS brings in only geometry & materials. It is a different way to work, but the payoff can be substantial; there are the more obvious benefits of reduced file sizes and export time, but also, it provides for things like hybrid workflows involving multiple modelers (e.g. modeling the static scene in Rhino, but animating things in SolidWorks), and more secure asset management (since you can't inadvertently change materials/etc in the referenced MXS without explicitly regenerating or editing it). There is also nothing that says everything static must be referenced from a single MXS; depending on the scenario, it may be beneficial to build the static part of a scene from a predefined library of standard MXS files.

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