Here are the answers to the questions Mihai Iliuta and the team at NextLimit couldn't answer live.
Q: Is there a noticeable difference now or in the near future between 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps switch for a small (7-8 computers) Maxwell Render farm?
A: It depends entirely on how many big textures you usually use in your projects, how big your MXS files are, etc. Get the fastest network setup you can afford, it will always mean faster file transfers for textures and MXI render files, which can be 1-2 GB in size for large renders. So if each node has to transfer 2GB of data at the same time to the same location, network speed matters.
Q: What important changes can we expect with the plug in for ArchiCAD?
A: Please ask this question in our AC forum where the plugin developer can answer you directly.
Q: What are Maxwell's capabilities in regards to Intel's Xeon Phi?
A: For now Maxwell can’t run on such cards. It doesn’t mean we don’t keep an eye on this development. Intel has had other such projects in mind a few years ago which never really materialized to anything.
Q: Can you offer some details about network render improvements in V3?
A: The improvements are mostly internal, to offer more stability. But to mention a few: nogui flag works as a true no gui application now so there is no longer a need for Xserver on Linux, when you release a node it now asks you if you want to release it right away or after it finishes the current job. Implemented a system to avoid situations of multiple managers running in the same port range which could mess up many things.
Q: Will Maxwell Render V3 be able to render fur and hair in The Foundry's MODO?
A: This depends entirely on what the host app gives us. Please mention this in our Modo forum and also to the Modo developers. More people asking means they can consider spending development time on it.
Q: Any idea when the various Maxwell Render plug ins will be available?
A: They have to be available at the V3 release date, so most probably in November, along with V3.
Q: Are there any improvements for Caustics through dielectrics/Transparent objects?
A: No, not in this release.
Q: Well, my most important question is, if the new volumetrics will be supported by Maya fluids, PhoenixFX, FumeFX, Turbulence FD and the like, can these fluid simulations be rendered with Maxwell Render V3?
A: With the release of 3.0 we will support Maya fluids. Soon after V3, we will implement support for either Field3D or OpenVDB, or both.
Q: Can these preset materials be exploded to the standard material?
A: Yes, all of them can be converted to the standard material UI. So even experienced Maxwell users will find it’s a lot faster to work with the material types, then convert for fine tuning.
Q: Can I load my own procedural textures?
A: We will provide an extensions API, which effectively will allow you to create your own procedurals to use with Maxwell, or port over existing ones so they work with Maxwell.
Q: Can you export the sea geometry as a mesh via OBJ?
A: No, we will perhaps consider it for post V3.
Q: Are we able to rotate the preview object?
A: If you mean in the small material preview window, there is a chance this might make it in V3. But no guarantees.
Q: Will foam be included as part of water renders?
A: Not at this moment. It is possible if you are using RealFlow, but the Maxwell extension currently doesn’t support the creation/export of a foam map.
Q: Good evening Mr. Iliuta, will we see SSS improvements for something like skin shader?
A: Good evening. We are still researching this and it will most probably be part of a post V3 release.
Q: Is alembic integrated into V3?
A: Yes, please see the webinar for details (from 18m 30s in the video)
Q: Have you fixed thinness and emitter problem ("glowing edges")?
A: There have been some improvements to thin SSS yes, I think it should work better with emitters now. But I’m not entirely sure of this problem you are referring to. Post please on the forum if you can, with a simple scene that shows the problem and I will check it.
Q: Can scatter be 'tiled' to regularly scatter rectangular patches of grass?
A: It can’t be tiled, but I guess you could scatter rectangular patches of grass models where a “patch” contains main thousands of blades. It will probably be more efficient than scattering millions of individual blades.
Q: Will volumetrics slow down exterior renderings a lot?
A: I wouldn’t say by a lot. For example if the interior without volumetrics needs SL 19 to be pretty much clean, it will usually need SL 20 with volumetrics. It depends a lot on how “thick” you want the volumetrics to be. If it’s a normal dusty interior, it won’t add so much to the render time.
Q: Is there any chances that after V3, the blender plug in will be developed faster?
A: Blender development does not depend on us, it’s an independent developer who makes it. But we will of course help as much as we can. With the new extensions API it should also make development a bit smoother and faster.
Q: Is the volumetric rendering outputted as a separate render pass?
A: No, it’s part of the main render pass. You can think of it more like a scene encompassing SSS simulation. It reacts to any emitter you put in the scene and works with any Maxwell material. So it’s not really a pass per say, it IS the render.
Q: Is there a new shader where you can add extra BSDF layers without affecting the overall colour/tone of other layers?
A: I’m not sure what you mean by that. But there aren’t any new shaders or material components.
Q: I have a need to show multiple materials on the same object for client selection without re-rendering. Is that a feature in V3?
Q: Is there a way to display an alpha enabled image on a white background instead of the default black?
A: No, but we will keep that in mind for a post V3 release.
Q: Any chance of creating a grit/dirt shader which gives the appearance of dirt and grime in the corners and folds of objects?
A: As mentioned in the webinar, the procedural system will be much improved after the 3.0 release and it will be possible to create such a shader yes.
Q: Is it possible to render 360 degree scenes?
A: Yes, with the new spherical lens. Please see the webinar starting from 22m:15s
Q: Is the back-face material compatible with displacement?
A: Yes, you can apply a displacement material as usual to the object, and a separate material to the back face. But the material with displacement has to be applied to the entire object, and not as a back face material, since it subdivides and changes the actual topology of the geometry itself.
Q: Is the projector light kind of light with parallel beams? Is it suitable for simulating LASER, or alternate physical sun which beams are almost parallel?
A: No, it doesn’t actually focus the light beams. A separate emitter focusing setting is needed for that, which we hope to add at a later post v.3.0 release.
Q: Is there a way to use FIRE with multiple nodes (like distributed rendering)?
Q: Does Maxwell V3 support Maya fur?
A: It’s really not a question of us supporting it, but what Maya gives us to render. PaintFX and the Shave and Haircut plugin gives the plugin curve data which our hair extension can use. But the Maya Fur does not give us this data as far as I know. Perhaps this will change with an update to Maya.
Q: Do the Maya procedural textures translate over to Maxwell? Or will they at some point?
A: It’s part of our plans to either mimic some of the Maya procedurals or where possible, where Maya gives us the source code of those procedurals, to translate them over to Maxwell.
Q: New materials can be shown as old BDSF materials - will old materials also be displayed in new material display?
A: The conversion is one way, because in the “regular” material view you have a lot more parameters, which aren’t exposed in the types. So if you change one of these and you switch back to the type, it won’t be the same material anymore.
Q: How is Maxwell Render V3 with Apple's new OS, Mavericks?
A: It seems to work quite well, with even a 4-5% increase in render speed.
Q: Another question with Maxwell for SketchUp: in previous updates of the plug in I could export the scene to stand alone in Maxwell, I bought the License and when I updated that with other things like layers and stuff was gone, I no longer can send the SketchUp Maxwell scene to Maxwell standalone.
A: It seems you have installed the standalone Sketchup plugin which doesn’t support export of MXS files, instead of the “Render Suite” version. So please uninstall and install that one. It’s basically the same plugin with the same level of integration. If you have any further problems, please post them directly in our Sketchup forum.
Q: Is it possible to use materials to generate extra alphas instead of using objects? Thanks!
A: Not at the release of V3.0. It’s not out of the question however that we add an arbitrary channel into which you can add whatever you want.
Q: What about animated (movie textures)? Could we simulate a movie projector by using a movie as the texture of the light projector emitter?
A: Yes, it depends which main app you are using, but I know Maya and C4D allow it. Probably also other DC apps like Max and Softimage also support it. Internally, the movie is converted into a series of still images, which are fed into the individual frames exported as MXS files.
Q: Will the sea also work on a render farm without a need for caching?
A: Yes there is no caching involved in the MaxwellSea object. The geometry is generated at render time.
Q: Will UDIM textures be supported?
A: Most probably soon after the V3.0 release
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