What’s the difference between the free version and the licensed version of Maxwell for Google SketchUp?
By purchasing a licensed version of Maxwell for Google SketchUp, you get:
Higher resolution limit (HD)
Both production and draft modes – offering faster rendering of scenes which make use of more complex lighting
Access to basic support via the Maxwell Render forum
What are the Draft and Production render engines?
Maxwell Render is unbiased: for any given scene, both the draft and production engine will eventually produce the identical image.
The Draft engine was first seen in Maxwell Fire, having been designed to provide the most useful visual feedback as quickly as possible. The algorithms it uses are able to resolve direct light interactions extremely quickly, producing a very visually-complete overall image, even at the lowest sampling levels. It also updates at a very high frequency, allowing it to be interrupted and restarted nearly instantly, when changes have been made in the scene.
The Production engine, on the other hand, uses an entirely different strategy, which does not lend itself to its being used in a similar role. That the Draft engine updates so frequently is not a capability which comes for free; it takes precious processor cycles to do so. The Production engine does not incur this cost: it updates only at each sampling level. Its algorithms resolve complex light interactions much more quickly than those of the Draft engine; indeed, though the Draft engine may feel as though it renders scenes faster, this is only actually the case when the scene contains only very simple lighting. In many cases, especially those involving more complex light interactions (caustics, reflection, etc.), the Production engine can significantly outperform the Draft engine.
Maxwell for Google SketchUp is a standalone plugin. What does this mean?
In contrast to the Maxwell Render Suite plugins, Maxwell for Google SketchUp contains its own render engine, and has been expressly designed for use without the need of a full Maxwell Render Suite installation.
The plugin fully integrates the render engine into SketchUp, allowing you to work directly inside of the SketchUp interface.
The plugin does not need to launch a standalone application to render images, and so besides the easy to use plugin itself- there are no new interfaces to learn!
Why would I choose to purchase the Full Maxwell Render Suite license?
Maxwell Render Suite introduces the full range of tools into your workflow such as MultiLight and advanced render channels.
Maxwell Render Suite provides you with the ability to work in 64-bits via Maxwell Studio, with all of its advanced UV-mapping capabilities.
While a standalone plugin allows you to use thousands of free Maxwell MXM files, a full Maxwell Render Suite license allows you to create and edit them too, via Maxwell Render’s standalone material editor, MXED.
The Maxwell Render Suite engine enables you to render to a wide array of image formats.
By rendering outside of SketchUp’s process, a Maxwell Render Suite license allows you to render any number of images concurrently, whilst you remain free to keep working in SketchUp.
For a features comparison table please see below
Maxwell Render Suite
Maxwell For SketchUp
Maxwell Studio: Work in 64 bits + advanced UV-mapping