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 SketchUp is a standalone plugin. What does this mean?
In contrast to the Maxwell Render Suite plugins, Maxwell for 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 Renderís standalone material editor, MXED.
The Maxwell Render Suite engine enables you to render to a wide array of image formats.
By rendering outside of SketchUpís 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
What are the minimum system requirements for Maxwell for SketchUp?
SketchUp or SketchUp Pro, version 6+.
32- and 64-bit Windows XP or greater.
Mac OSX 10.5+, on Intel processors.
Microsoft Silverlight 3.0 or greater (works best with Microsoft Silverlight 4). Version 5 is not supported (see below).
About Silverlight versions
This plugin requires a minimum of Microsoft Silverlight 3, but works best with Microsoft Silverlight 4. On 9 December, 2011, Microsoft released Silverlight 5, and we have found that this breaks the plugin in various ways, which range from flickering on the Windows OS, to a complete failure to load on Mac OSX. In order to run the plugin, it will be necessary to make sure you are not running this new version of Microsoft Silverlight. Below are instructions on how to ensure that your machine is running Silverlight 4.
1. Open Programs and Features (Add and Remove Programs on XP).
2. Check the list of applications; if Microsoft Silverlight is installed, uninstall it.
3. Install Microsoft Silverlight 4: link
On Mac OSX:
1. Open OSX Finder and navigate to Macintosh HD/Library/Internet Plug-Ins.
2. If Silverlight.plugin is present , trash it, empty the Trash, and reboot the machine.
3. Install Microsoft Silverlight 4: link
Note that these instructions may also be useful in the case that any unexpected error occurs when you attempt to open the pluginís Scene Manager or Maxwell Fire windows, even when you have not installed Microsoft Silverlight 5; we have seen cases, mostly on Mac OSX, where Silverlight had become corrupted on the machine, and which were fixed by reinstalling, using the above steps.
Maxwell Render Suite
Maxwell For SketchUp
Maxwell Studio: Work in 64 bits + advanced UV-mapping