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Maxwell for ArchiCAD

Plugin Manual

Plugin version 2.0

Maxwell for ArchiCAD :: Plug-in Help 1 doc v.2.0

Maxwell for ArchiCAD :: Plug-in Help


The Maxwell for ArchiCAD plugin has been created with the intention of providing a native integration of Maxwell Render with the version 10, 11 or 12 release of ArchiCAD. The ArchiCAD versions supported by the plugin are: ArchiCAD 10., 11. or 12. for Windows and Mac OSX (Intel version)

The Maxwell Render versions supported by the plugin are: Maxwell Render 2.0. Latest revision of this document: October 2009

Table of Contents
Maxwell for ArchiCAD ......................................................................................................................1 Maxwell for ArchiCAD :: Plug-in Help ....................................................................................................2 Installation.............................................................................................................................................3 Maxwell Parameters..............................................................................................................................5 Engine Parameters............................................................................................................................6 Camera Parameters .........................................................................................................................8 Environment Parameters ...............................................................................................................10 Image Based Lighting Parameters..................................................................................................12 Channel/Layers Parameters............................................................................................................14 Animation Parameters:...................................................................................................................15 About:.............................................................................................................................................16 Materials..............................................................................................................................................17

Maxwell for ArchiCAD :: Plug-in Help 2 doc v.2.0

Installation
To install Maxwell rendering engine for ArchiCAD use the installation package provided.

Pick the ArchiCAD version you want to install Maxwell for (ArchiCAD11 and 10 are supported)

Maxwell.gmx is copied into Add-Ons/Visualization folder of ArchiCAD installation.

Start ArchiCAD

Once installed properly, Maxwell rendering engine will appear in ArchiCAD add-on manager.

Maxwell for ArchiCAD :: Plug-in Help 3 doc v.2.0

To use Maxwell rendering engine you have to make it an active rendering engine

To render use PhotoRender Projection item in Image menu. Note that Maxwell render will start automatically after the data are passed to it from ArchiCAD. ArchiCAD photo-rendering window will not update (it will remain empty) though...

Maxwell for ArchiCAD :: Plug-in Help 4 doc v.2.0

Maxwell Parameters
All Maxwell parameters are accessible from PhotoRendering Settings panel once Maxwell rendering engine is active engine.

Engine Parameters

Project Directory: folder location of Maxwell generated files(mxs, mxi, jpg, ...) Pick: opens folder selection dialog which allows to set the project folder Scene Name: name of the Maxwell generated files Export MXS Only: export Maxwell MXS file only and do not render. Rendering can be started from Maxwell Studio or from system command line. Use this option of you want to do the final compositing in Maxwell Studio. Image Type: type of the image to generate (Jpg, Png, Targa, Tiff, ...) Render Time: Maximum render time Max. Sampling: maximum sampling to use Num. Threads: maximum number of threads to use for rendering (0 means to use all available processors without any restrictions). Monitor Gamma: gamma value for conversion from spectral space to RGB space. Lower values darken the image, higher values lighten the image.

Burn: Parameter to control the highlights in the render. Lower values will decrease the intensity of the highlights to avoid burned out areas in the image. MultiLight: enable multilight feature of Maxwell (consult Maxwell manual for details) Foam Render: This option gives a quick foam core looking render to study shadows and light values, without having the burden of remapping materials. All materials are assigned a generic white (RGB 242,242,242) except transparent materials, which keep their glass properties. Disable Textures: disable all textures in the rendering. Export Lights: export ArchiCAD auxiliarry light sources. Point and spot lights are supported. Protect Geometry: enable this option to protect the exported gometry so that it cannot be re-exported from Maxwell Studio in OBJ format. Group Emitters: group all emitters which use the same AC material into a single object for Maxwell Studio/rendering. Especially useful if multilight feature is enabled in that case you want to reduce the number of parameters to control. Start Application: Maxwell application to start after the export is completed. The following options are available:

None no application is started Render MXCL (Maxwell rendering) is started this is the default Studio Maxwell Studio is started

Command Line: additional command line parameters of Maxwell render (MXCL) can be specified here. Search Image Path: specify the folder to look for missing texture files (texture files which are not placed in the location they were in when they were used to create MXM material). You can pick the folder using a dialog by clicking on Image Search Path button.

Camera Parameters

Shutter: intended camera shutter time (measured in fractions of second as you are used to from a real world camera) F Stop: camera F Stop value ISO: sensitivity of the camera sensor Film Width: width of the film frame (or camera sensor) Film Height: height of the film frame (or camera sensor) Pixel Aspect: pixel aspet ratio of the camera sensor's pixel (width of a pixel divided by height typically 1). Diaphragm: the shape of the camera diaphragm (circular or polygonal)

Blades: number of diaphragm blades (in case of polygonal diaphragm model) Angle: angle of diaphragm blades (in case of polygonal diaphragm model)

Z Clip: clip the model's geometry based on distance from camera

Near: near clipping distance objects closer to the camera will be ignored. You can either enter the value to the edit field or click on the button to set the near distance interactively. Zclip distance tool allows to set the distance directly by clicking on the geometry in the model.

Far: far clipping distance - objects further away from the camera will be ignored. You can either enter the value to the edit field or click on the button to set the near distance interactively. Zclip distance tool allows to set the distance directly by clicking on the geometry in the model.

Shift Lens: shift lens offset of the camera (in X and Y direction). Consult Maxwell manual for more details.

Note that concept of focal distance is very important for Maxwell rendering the focal distance specifies the point along the line of sight where the camera is focused. In ArchiCAD the focal distance is computed as the distance between the camera and camera target. If you need to check whether your model is in focus given the specified camera settings use camera tools of Maxwell Studio.

Environment Parameters

No Environment: no environment is taken into account (completely black environment with no lighting present) SkyDome: virtual SkyDome is constructed around your model - SkyDome illuminates the model equally from all directions

Intensity: intensity of the illumination in case of the SkyDome environment Color for the SkyDome environment is taken from ArchiCAD's background Sky color

Physical Sky: a physical sky model taking into account specifics of real world skies.

ArchiCAD's Sun Position the position of sun in ArchiCAD's 3D projection settings is used for rendering. Use Sun Light: if enabled the sun is taken into account for rendering Latitude: geographical location of the model Longitude: geographical location of the model North: the rotation of the project with respect to geographical north Month: month to compute the sun position for Date/Time: date (month/day) and hour to compute the sun position for

GMT: the offset to Greenwich Mean Time for project location Temp. (K): Sun temperature (in Kelvins) Power: total sun power coefficient as compared to the real world sun Planets: reflectance of planets Turbidity: turbidity of the environment Wave exp.: turbidity wavelength exponent Albedo: aerosol albedo Asymetry: anisotrophy factor of the aerosol Ozone: amount of ozone in the environment Water: amount of water in the environment

Image Based Lighting Parameters

Background:

Enable: enable image based background selected image will be used for background instead of procedurally generated sky background ...: Pick map (MXI or HDR file) to use for background Intensity: intensity of the background map Spherical: map background spherically (sphere enclosing the scene) as opposed to simple image based background mapping Uscale: scale of the image in U (horizontal) direction Vscale: scale of the image in V (horizontal) direction Uoffset:offset of the image in U (horizontal) direction

Voffset:offset of the image in V (vertical) direction

Illumination:

Enable: enable image based illumination environment selected image will be used for lighting from environment instead of procedurally generated sky ...: Pick map (MXI or HDR file) to use for illumination Intensity: intensity of the illumination map Uscale: scale of the image in U (horizontal) direction Vscale: scale of the image in V (horizontal) direction Uoffset:offset of the image in U (horizontal) direction Voffset:offset of the image in V (vertical) direction

Reflection:

Enable: enable image based reflection environment selected image will be used for mirror reflection instead of procedurally generated sky ...: Pick map (MXI or HDR file) to use for reflection Intensity: intensity of the reflection map Uscale: scale of the image in U (horizontal) direction Vscale: scale of the image in V (horizontal) direction Uoffset:offset of the image in U (horizontal) direction Voffset:offset of the image in V (vertical) direction

Refraction:

Enable: enable image based refraction environment selected image will be used for glass refraction instead of procedurally generated sky ...: Pick map (MXI or HDR file) to use for refraction Intensity: intensity of the refraction map Uscale: scale of the image in U (horizontal) direction Vscale: scale of the image in V (horizontal) direction Uoffset:offset of the image in U (horizontal) direction Voffset:offset of the image in V (vertical) direction

Channel/Layers Parameters

Channels: set the channels which you want to have generated by the rendering engine

Render: the rendered image Alpha: transparency map Z-Buffer: depth map (the distance of the objects from camera encoded as levels of grey) ObjectID: map containing IDs of individual objects MaterialID: map containing IDs of materials Shadow: shadow channel

Layers: set the illumination layers which you want to handle by the rendering engine

Direct: direct lighting render layer Indirect: indirect lighting render layer Direct Reflection: direct reflected caustics Direct Refraction: direct refracted caustics Indirect Reflection: indirect reflected caustics Indirect Refraction: indirect refracted caustics

Animation Parameters: Animation parameters are responsible for handling the export of ArchiCAD Fly-Through animation to Maxwell. Note that it is desirable to export all of the animation frames from ArchiCAD to Maxwell files (MXS) and start the Maxwell rendering afterwards. The typical workflow is following:

Enable append frame number and export MXS only chackboxes Create the fly-through animation in ArchiCAD Pick ranges of exported frames Render in Maxwell

Append Frame Number: enable the checkbox to allow the exporter to append frame number to the exported MXS file. Use this option before rendering the Fly-Through from ArchiCAD. This will generate a sequence of MXS files (one for every frame to render) which can be subsequently rendered using the Render button. Typically you will also want to enable export to MXS only option in Parameters tab so that Maxwell rendering is not started until all of the frames are exported. Pick Ranges: click the button to figure out the rendering range automatically. First/last frame number is based on the lowest/highest file number stored in the specified project directory.

First Frame: the first frame to use in the animation rendering Last Frame: the last frame to use in the animation rendering

Render: Hit Render button to start the animation rendering in Maxwell Render (MXCL). Note that no geometry/lights/camera will be exported at this time all the information was exported previously into sequence of MXS files. Command line options and Image Search Path from Parameters tab are taken into account during the rendering.

About: About panel shows the Maxwell plugin version information as well as copoyright information and allows the access to plugin and Maxwell help.

Plugin Manual: Opens PDF file with Maxwell plugin for ArchiCAD manual in default PDF viewer. Maxwell Manual: Opens PDF file with Maxwell rendering engine manual in default PDF viewer.

Materials
There are 2 separate mechanisms for handling materials: 1. Automatic conversion of native ArchiCAD materials to Maxwell materials

Emitter materials are converted to emitters Materials with transparency are converted to transparent materials Materials with shininess are converted to plastic materials Other materials are converted to diffuse materials Textures are supported note that texture files are stored in sub-folder of the project folder with the name derived from the project name (project_Textures). Do not delete these files otherwise the Maxwell rendering engine won't render the project.

2. Maxwell MXM materials as special parameters of native ArchiCAD materials

It is possible (and advisable) to use Maxwell MXM materials (stored as separate files) with ArchiCAD projects. There is an extensive library of MXM materials distributed with Maxwell rendering engine or you can easily create your own materials. Maxwell MXM material parameters are accessible from Material dialog of ArchiCAD when Maxwell rendering engine is selected as the active rendering engine for material preview. Note that the preview of Maxwell material is shown in the preview control of the material panel. Following options are available:

Create: starts Maxwell material editor (MXED) in wizard mode to create your own material. You are presented with save file dialog which will allow you to specify the name/location of the MXM file you are about to create after that MXED is started in wizard mode to guide you through the process of creating a Maxwell material you may consult Maxwell manual for details on MXED and Maxwell MXM materials. Load: opens material browser to select a MXM material to load. Once the file is selected its name is shown in the name control, path for the file is shown in path control and preview (if available) is updated in the preview control for easy preview of the loaded material. Edit: start MXED in edit mode with the specified MXM material loaded for quick modification of the material.

Reset: removes MXM material attribute from ArchiCAD material.

In addition to Maxwell material stored as MXM files it is possible to create simple Maxwell materials directly from ArchiCAD's material panel. This is especially useful when working with light emitting material- it is not longer needed to go to Maxwell material editor (MXED) to create MXM files as the required material can be created in the ArchiCAD dialog directly.

Diffuse: diffuse Maxwell material - color/texture of the material is taken from ArchiCAD material specification. Plastic: plastic Maxwell material with 2 BSDF layers - - color/texture of the material is taken from ArchiCAD material specification. Roughness: roughness of the material Metal: metallic material based on the presets for Aluminum, Cobalt, Copper, Gold, Silver Roughness: roughness of the material Dielectric: dielectric material - typically water, glass, ... Nd: index of refraction Distance: attenuation distance in millimeters - half of the light is being absorbed when it passes through the given distance of the material Emitter: light emitting material (used for object acting as light sources) Watts: the power of the light Efficiency: the efficiency of the light source (how much power is actually used to emit light). Temperature: temperature of the emitter (in Kelvins). If the checkbox is off the color of the emitter is taken from ArchiCAD's emission color control Presets: presets for typical emitters from real world Preview Material: pushing the button will generate material preview for specified Maxwell material settings and display it in the material preview control for easy verification.

Material Browser:

Material browser is used for loading Maxwell MXM materials into material dialog of ArchiCAD. Browser allows for quick and easy location of desired material even in case of extensive library of MXM files. Browser view contains individual previews of MXM materials and sub-folders of specified location. You can enter sub-folder by double-clicking on it. Select folder for browsing MXM materials Go to parent folder Increase the resolution of material previews

Decrease the resolution of material previews