Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby Zoom123 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:53 am

Hello!

I am looking for a free renderer for SU that is relatively easy to learn. Can somebody that tried both Twilight and the new Maxwell for SU tell me the pros and cons of each when compared to each other?

Is there any other free (or unlimited time demo) renderer that would be better and equally easy or easier to use than the above?
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby srx » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:57 am

With Maxwell for SU you can do it half way...(low resolution, lot of limitations...). For rest you need to buy the real product - Maxwell studio, which is better but expensive.
With Twilight you can do it all, especially when combined with Kerkythea which is free...with some limitation like no displacement.
But the best is Thea render which has it all for much lower price than Maxwell.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby Zoom123 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:41 am

Thanks srx.

Both the Free Version of Maxwell and the Demo version of Twilight seem to have the same resolution limitations.

What are the other limitations of the Maxwell for SU compared to Twilight? (leaving aside Maxwell studio, Kerkythea and Thea)

Also, are they both equally easy to learn?
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby frv » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:01 pm

SRX,
maybe you should explain "lots of limitations" and "half way"when you post "With Maxwell for SU you can do it half way...(low resolution, lot of limitations...)"
You also post Maxwell Studio is better. Most Sketchup users for Maxwell never use Studio. Its also not better but something very different for a different purpose.

There is no such renderapp which is the best. The are all different and depending on your goals and needs you will choose a render app that fits your workflow.
Since there are free versions try them all before you spend months, or years mastering one of them. Do not let someone tell you which one to use.
Francois
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby srx » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:28 pm

Well I was talking about my opinion based on experience with demo's of all rendering engines on the market.
As far as I know Maxwell for SU commercial has resolution limit of HD resolution. Twilight has not.
This difference is crucial for professional usability.
Twilight is very user friendly for speedy results with its material templates etc. Maxwell for SU I just tried once. It's very good, but IMO only a bait for the real thing... I again suggest Thea. It has faster IR engine than Maxwell, IMO, and much cheaper than Maxwell suite.

There is no such renderapp which is the best. The are all different and depending on your goals and needs you will choose a render app that fits your workflow.
Since there are free versions try them all before you spend months, or years mastering one of them. Do not let someone tell you which one to use.

I agree, but also hearing from other people could be useful and time saving.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby Zoom123 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:32 pm

Hello Francois,

While both application are supposed to be relatively easy compared to some other similar programs, they are still not as easy that a newbie like me can learn them good enough within a few days to make a decision. (and I don't want to spend more time than that)

What I am looking for is not necessarily an answer that "X is better" (unless X is indeed better in almost all aspects), but rather the pros and cons of each application when compared to each other to help me decide which one would be better for me.

For example (totally random points which are probably false):
Maxwell SU is easier to learn for a complete newbie
Adding realistic artificial lights with Twilight is much easier
Maxwell SU renders faster
There is a free training course for Maxwell SU that will get you up to speed faster
Twilight has a large and friendly online community while any kind of support for the free version of Maxwell SU is very limited.
Maxwell SU doesn't support X and Y while Twilight does.
etc

I would be grateful if anybody who knows both applications could offer me such a pros/cons list, even if it wasn't complete.

Thanks
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby Zoom123 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:36 pm

srx, HD limitation is not a problem for me as I am not a pro. In fact I would start with the free/demo versions that offer even lower resolutions.

Is Twilight more user friendly? If that is indeed the case then this is important to me.

What are the other limitations of Maxwell for SU compared to Twilight?
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby frv » Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:25 pm

SRX, what do you mean by a faster IR engine than Maxwell ?

ZOOM123,
the problem is that that are hardly any people who are equally experienced with both app's. I know Maxwell very well, have a look at our website http://www.fillieverhoeven.nl and http://www.3dfv.nl and see that all renders are Maxwell and a lot of models done in SU and Modo.

I have tried many among them Vray. If you have any questions concerning Maxwell I can answer them for you.
Realistic light with Maxwell is very simple.
Maxwellrender has a great forum. Especially the Sketchup forum is very fast in answering any question, friendly as well.
Maxwell does X & Y as well, assuming you mean rendering an elevation without perspective. Set up a camera with a long focal distance. I render many floor plans and elevations.
Maxwell SU free version is limited for resolution as I understand.

If you are interested in a render application you will not make you final decision when still a newbie. After some time, maybe months or years later you will. For me it became Maxwell since it produces superb render quality with a minimum of setup. It also works like a virtual world as far as lighting and camera setup. I almost feel like I am not really rendering but just putting my models in the sun or under a real light. I also like Maxwell for starting up a render very quick for a first look. Most other app's I used take more time from pushing the render button to the first rude image. This makes Maxwell for me a perfect design tool, even more so than just a render app for the final presentations.
Francois
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby Zoom123 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:42 pm

Thanks Francois,

I installed both and I started reading their manuals and playing with them.

The installation of Twilight was basically one click, while for Maxwell i was a bit more involved (nothing too difficult though)

One thing I noticed is that Twilight has specific tools for adding lights while for Maxwell this seems to be done with emitters which doesn't seem to be as direct and intuitive.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby andybot » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:27 pm

I've recently started using twilight, whereas my main render engine is vray. (Because of the limitation of vray to export animations - particularly if objects are animated.) My main gripe thus far is IMO severely limited material settings. I intend at one point to explore making my own, but haven't had a chance to look into that. I also don't like the render quality as much, but that's just my opinion again. Besides these negatives, I find it quite satisfactory for my purposes. Easy to use, good output, and good range of fast or quick render settings.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby frv » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:23 pm

Maxwell does lighting through emitters. That's a little less intuitive. But emitters have the advantage that they behave as materials on any surface. Emitters are also editable as materials to suit your lighting specifics. Its a bit difficult to explain to a newbie. At least I did not understand the meaning of all this. Only after a year or so my renders came to benifit from all the options I feel I can not do without now.
After some time you will become really good at rendering images. I feel the energy spent on an application that can only bring you so far will frustrate soon or later.

Limited material settings is a concerning flaw. Rendering is all about materials.
Francois
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby jason_maranto » Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:12 am

If you haven't already, you should watch these:

http://www.maxwellrender.com/index.php/home/maxwell_for_sketchup/tutorials

Best,
Jason.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby Zoom123 » Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:15 am

jason_maranto wrote:If you haven't already, you should watch these:

http://www.maxwellrender.com/index.php/home/maxwell_for_sketchup/tutorials

Best,
Jason.


I watched the first three. They are really good. I tried to find similar video tutorials for Twilight but I couldn't find any of the same quality. For newbies like me good training material is a huge plus.

Does any of those videos shows how the artificial lighting with emitters should be done? Looking at the titles I didn't see anything. I also scanned the Maxwell for SU manual but I couldn't find any detailed instructions of how to do artificial lighting. Detailed info seems to exist only for the full Maxwell program which uses a different interface and I assume has functions that are missing from the free application.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby jason_maranto » Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:11 pm

As far as normal emitters the parameters and ways to use emitters are exactly the same... so yes I would definitely read the main manual as well (and watch the rest of the videos).

Maxwell is a powerful package, and there are alot of things you can do with it so it might also be nice to watch these:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL18849D7126B7A0FF&feature=plcp

This was made for the regular plugin before FIRE was released but most of it still applies and it does show emitters in use.

Also if you'd like to get really in depth then I do have a 8 hours commercial series as well:

http://www.vtc.com/products/Google-SketchUp-to-Maxwell-Render-Workflow-Tutorials.htm

And again most of this still applies because the plugins are basically the same in most ways.

There are a couple of other threads here worth reading to get answers to questions you may have:

http://forums.sketchucation.com/viewtopic.php?f=80&t=41040

http://forums.sketchucation.com/viewtopic.php?f=80&t=41511

I learned a great deal when I was beginning by joining the Maxwell forum and using the search function to read tips,tricks, and ideas from other users... as a free version user you do not get posting privileges but anybody can read and there really is a massive amount of information available there for free if you are willing to look for it:

http://www.maxwellrender.com/forum/index.php

Maxwell has strengths and weaknesses (like any package), there is no perfect render engine -- but overall I find the UI to be easy to understand and use and I love the quality of the final images.

Best,
Jason.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby notareal » Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:04 pm

If you are just learning Twilight, maybe look trough the Best Of Tips and Tricks topic.

For Thea Render maybe first look trough video-tutorials. Keep in mind that Thea is still relatively new renderer and all features, like full integration with various modeling apps are still in the oven.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby bravoddb » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:01 pm

Hi, I have both, Twilight and Maxwell render for su, I have bought both, so I will not talk about the free version.

Twilight have the feature to put lamps, Maxwell not, just emitters, I had difficults most of the time wih the reversed faces, I applyed in both sides the emmiter materials and then they don't emmit any light.

Maxwell seems to be faster, but with the draft engine, with production engine, seems to take the same time as twilight. Twilight has other engines that are not unbiased and they are faster.

Reflections and bumps, are easy to make in both, but in Maxwell in think there is a plus in bumps.
No diplacement in both.

About resolution, Ibelieve that i enough, but some times not very often, the clients ask for resolutions above 3000.

I found them both very usefull, but I hope Maxwell make some changes that fixes bugs, and add some features.

I really like them both. But surely I can recomend, Thea Render, or Octane Render with a good Nvidia Geforce gtx card.

Thea is very stable, never fails, a lot of materials at the licensed useres date base.

Thanks
Bravoddb
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby jason_maranto » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:53 pm

Maxwell supports regular displacement and vector displacement as well as pretesselated displacement.

Maxwell also has a large materials database that you can use for free here: http://resources.maxwellrender.com

Best,
Jason.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby Zoom123 » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:21 pm

Jason, from the comparison here http://www.maxwellrender.com/index.php/ ... etchup/faq Maxwell for SU doesn't seem to be missing much from Maxwell Render Suite. Is this indeed the case? (there is a quite big price difference)

What are "Multilight" and "Render Channels"? Are these features that Twilight has?

One thing that I like in Twilight are the quick render presets which you can use to get a result quickly. This is a good thing when you are learning and you test a lot of things with "trial and error". Does Maxwell offer anything similar?

But I must say that the materials database of Maxwell seems huge compared to what is offered by Twilight? Is there an online database for Twilight compatible materials that is close to what is offered by Maxwell?
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby massimo » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:06 pm

Is there an online database for Twilight compatible materials that is close to what is offered by Maxwell?

You can use any material made in Kerkythea with Twilight and I can tell you that Kerkythea's material editor is pretty powerful. ;)
Here are some links for Kerkythea's materials.
http://www.kerkythea.net/forum/viewtopi ... 370#p57370
http://www.kerkythea.net/joomla/index.p ... elect&id=3
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby Zoom123 » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:19 pm

massimo wrote:
Is there an online database for Twilight compatible materials that is close to what is offered by Maxwell?

You can use any materials made in Kerkythea with Twilight and I can tell you that Kerkythea's material editor is quite powerful. ;)
Here are some links for Kerkythea's materials.
http://www.kerkythea.net/forum/viewtopi ... 370#p57370
http://www.kerkythea.net/joomla/index.p ... elect&id=3


Thanks massimo. Still the way they have materials organized at Maxwell seems better with all 4000 materials in one searchable database. On the other hand the ability to create materials with Kerkythea which is free is a big plus, since from what I understand to create materials for Maxwell you need to buy the Studio which is very expensive.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby massimo » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:26 pm

I'm not a huge fan of big databases of materials. I mean you can see zillions of renders with exactly the same wood floor... I think it's better if you have the possibility to create many different kind of materials, some examples, understand how they are made and then experimenting using your creativity.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby bjornkn » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:30 pm

Zoom123 wrote:Thanks massimo. Still the way they have materials organized at Maxwell seems better with all 4000 materials in one searchable database. On the other hand the ability to create materials with Kerkythea which is free is a big plus, since from what I understand to create materials for Maxwell you need to buy the Studio which is very expensive.

What? Can't you make your own textures in Maxwell, like using your own bitmaps for wallpaper, tiles etc?
That would be a big con in my book.
How about using a spherical camera? Not that useful if you're limited to 3000px wide, but still..
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby jason_maranto » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:34 pm

Zoom123 wrote:Jason, from the comparison here http://www.maxwellrender.com/index.php/ ... etchup/faq Maxwell for SU doesn't seem to be missing much from Maxwell Render Suite. Is this indeed the case? (there is a quite big price difference)

What are "Multilight" and "Render Channels"? Are these features that Twilight has?



Multilight is a tool which will allow you to change the intensity of the individual lights sources during and after the render process... you can do lighting animations with it as well.

Render Channels are special renders meant to help with post processing -- things like shadow passes and Z-Depth.

The Maxwell Render Suite is definitely the tool to use if you are a rendering professional (as in you make your living rendering) -- the Maxwell for SketchUp plugin is a better choice for the occasional renderer.

Either way as a beginner it's best if you use the free tools until you get a feel if this is "your thing".

Zoom123 wrote:One thing that I like in Twilight are the quick render presets which you can use to get a result quickly. This is a good thing when you are learning and you test a lot of things with "trial and error". Does Maxwell offer anything similar?

But I must say that the materials database of Maxwell seems huge compared to what is offered by Twilight? Is there an online database for Twilight compatible materials that is close to what is offered by Maxwell?


No presets.

Best,
Jason.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby jason_maranto » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:38 pm

bjornkn wrote:
Zoom123 wrote:Thanks massimo. Still the way they have materials organized at Maxwell seems better with all 4000 materials in one searchable database. On the other hand the ability to create materials with Kerkythea which is free is a big plus, since from what I understand to create materials for Maxwell you need to buy the Studio which is very expensive.

What? Can't you make your own textures in Maxwell, like using your own bitmaps for wallpaper, tiles etc?
That would be a big con in my book.
How about using a spherical camera? Not that useful if you're limited to 3000px wide, but still..


Yes you can make your own texture-based materials within the plugin, but for more complex materials it's best to use MXED which is part of the full suite.

No spherical camera.

Best,
Jason.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby jason_maranto » Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:00 pm

One thing to understand about the price difference is that the full Render Suite includes all the plugins for any app they support for free and all of that is cross platform as well for free. This makes it a really nice solution for people who work with multiple modeling packages on a regular basis... as I said before, it's meant for people who make a living rendering (not necessarily modeling).

For instance the Maxwell Render Suite comes with all of this for free:

Plugins for modeling packages:
  1. 3dsMAX
  2. Archicad
  3. Bonzai3D
  4. Cinema 4D
  5. Form·Z
  6. Houdini
  7. Lightwave
  8. Maya
  9. Microstation
  10. Modo
  11. Rhinoceros
  12. SketchUp
  13. Softimage
  14. Solidworks

Plugins for post-processing packages:
  1. After Effects
  2. Nuke
  3. Photoshop

As well as a dedicated stand-alone Studio environment to work with models from packages that are not supported by plugins. And of course the Suite is supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Also as an aside (to no one in particular), the overreacting on hearsay or conjecture is pretty amusing the first dozen times it happens but after a while it gets pretty tiresome -- before jerking the knee in overreaction perhaps some slight investigation about the facts is best.

Best,
Jason.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby andybot » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:15 pm

jason_maranto wrote:Also as an aside (to no one in particular), the overreacting on hearsay or conjecture is pretty amusing the first dozen times it happens but after a while it gets pretty tiresome -- before jerking the knee in overreaction perhaps some slight investigation about the facts is best.

Best,
Jason.


lol, isn't that what forums are for... to hear the same questions and incorrect information repeated over and over. I think people are a little more savvy than to believe everything they read right away (at least I like to think so.)
I think you've done a great job explaining your product. I've been following your posts and announcements with interest and when I have time I intend to give maxwell a try.

Andy
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby jason_maranto » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:36 pm

andybot wrote:lol, isn't that what forums are for... to hear the same questions and incorrect information repeated over and over. I think people are a little more savvy than to believe everything they read right away (at least I like to think so.)
I think you've done a great job explaining your product. I've been following your posts and announcements with interest and when I have time I intend to give maxwell a try.

Andy


I like to think so too -- but I'd like to help prevent bad information from circulating (if I can) only to make the comparisons between engines based on the very real differences.

BTW to be clear I don't work on Maxwell, I'm just a enthusiastic user -- however, I do tutorial videos for software and Maxwell is one of the 5 software's I teach (SketchUp is another).

Best,
Jason.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby Zoom123 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:33 am

I like to think so too -- but I'd like to help prevent bad information from circulating (if I can) only to make the comparisons between engines based on the very real differences.


First thank you for the info you gave so far.

I would be very glad if I could be given a comparison between the engines based on the very real differences. Actually that is what I was asking, the pros and cons of each. It seems there is nobody that knows both applications well enough to do this.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby jason_maranto » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:47 pm

I haven't looked at twilight for quite some time, so I would be no help there but it seems to me that you already have quite a bit of information in regards to the 2 engines within this thread -- the only way you'll likely get more is by actually trying them.

If you do, give back to the community by posting your thoughts and the reasons you came to the conclusions you did.

Also don't underestimate the value actually working within the UI and workflow -- if it doesn't work for you then it doesn't matter how nice the results other people get are.

Best,
Jason.
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Re: Maxwell for SU VS Twilight

Postby Zoom123 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:21 pm

I installed both applications and I am trying them. I might even add the 14 day Shaderlight Trial to the mix!
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