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Old October 27 2013, 02:54 PM   #1
Warped9's Avatar
Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
??? SketchUp & Maxwell Render...

I'm not sure where else to post this.

I use Maxwell Render for by SketchUp models. But one thing that would be really handy would be to have a starfield environment for a sky or dome for my model. I tried creating a starfield background (as a watermark) in SketchUp but it doesn't render. I've tried downloading a star globe from the SketchUp 3D Warehouse, but I find it cumbersome to work with given its size.

Does anyone know if there is any way to create or import a starfield sky into Maxwell to be used as an environment in place of its physical sky or constant dome?

Someone did mention about importing a hi-res image into Maxwell and save it as an HDR file, but it doesn't work that way. The file also has to be in a HDR and .SKY format for Maxwell to import it. What I find odd is that all kinds of sky preset downloads are available and no one seems to have made any starfields or space scenes.

I did read of how to make starfields and such in Vue, but does that mean you have to export them from Vue into Maxwell?

There has to be a way to do this either in Maxwell or in SketchUp, but when I search around the net I find next to nothing. I can (and have) easily create scenes in Photoshop, but it's pointless if I can't actually use them. As is I'm having to resort to the laborious method of rendering my models and then using Photoshop to basically cut-and-paste them into the scene I want. There has to be a better way.

Here's a scene I created last night.

STAR TREK: 1964-1991, 2013-?
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Old October 28 2013, 01:15 AM   #2
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Location: Boyertown, PA as of July 2011
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Re: ??? SketchUp & Maxwell Render...

Pretty view of space
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Old October 29 2013, 11:59 PM   #3
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Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Re: ??? SketchUp & Maxwell Render...

Okay, I now feel like a complete doofus. But after persevering and trying different things on a whim I figured some things out.

You can make an HDR image in Photoshop (which I did) and merge the layers of a Photoshop file to create an HDR image. You can then save that image in EXR format which Maxwell is happy to accept. To load it (at least in the Mac setup) you don't have to tell it to load a particular type of file and to save it as HDR. You can simply load it as either JPEG or EXR and then begin playing with the settings. I found it how to adjust the intensity of the image as well as the scale and offset of the created screen map. I also figured that you can use the HDR image or the SketchUp appilcation or the Active Sky (physical sky or dome) for the illumination, reflection and refraction respectively.

Like a lot of things I kept banging my head against it until I stumbled into some understanding of how this works.
STAR TREK: 1964-1991, 2013-?
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Old October 30 2013, 12:44 PM   #4
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Location: Northants - UK
Re: ??? SketchUp & Maxwell Render...

Do you have any renders that you've done? I use vray which produces good results but can be a bit cumbersome, I'd be interested to see what Maxwell can do.
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