Maxwell Materials Course with the NYC User Group

In this blog post we are taking a look at a Maxwell user group through the eyes of its founder, Sven Johnson. Before we hand you over to Sven, we’d like to shout a big thank you to all Maxwell users and fans for your enthusiasm, artistic vision, and community spirit – always amazing to hear your stories! If you have a user group or are thinking about setting one up, we’d be happy to help 🙂

A fantastic bonus to the post is the Maxwell Materials masterclass video from one of NYC´s events last year. Read on to find out more!

The organizerSven Johnson

Greetings from Brooklyn, New York. My name is Sven Johnson, I’ve been a professional architectural and design visualizer for over 20 years with my own rendering firm Sven Johnson Illustration based in Brooklyn, New York City.  When I first started working in this field back in 1994, we were all drafting and painting the artwork our clients used to present their designs. Then came Photoshop  and some of the first 3D programs, and some of us started to experiment by blending 3D with hand painted work. I always preferred the Apple platform and I started using FormZ to create perspective views, which is still my favorite 3D program for archviz. Especially now that it is very tightly integrated with Maxwell Render, which is my favorite rendering engine.

The Reason

For many years I was one of the organizers of the New York Society of Renderers. We were in this little professional niche of “freelance rendering,” and we had no-one to help us other than ourselves. We organized the group to get to know one another and help each other and have fun. Over the years our business has become much more specialized and computer-oriented. As I became more convinced that Maxwell Render was the platform I wanted to dedicate myself to, I realized that there were not that many of us using it here in this area, and really for no good reason, because I think it’s much better in many ways than other rendering software. So I decided to try to organize a group of local users who wanted to meet sometimes and share information and help each other get better at using this fantastic tool. It’s all for free and just for fun.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but the other reason I started the group is because I’m kind of “dumb” when it comes to computer graphics. I’m a very good artist but not very good at math. So I could not understand other rendering programs that just seemed like a lot of arbitrary numbers to me.

However I love Maxwell Render because it is so based on reality, in other words understanding how a camera works and the physical reality of what a material is and what light is. And once you commit yourself to that you get great results in Maxwell.

This was my choice as an artist, to spend my time and attention learning these things, because I think it will eventually make me a better artist. And I want to meet others who feel the same way.


The Group

It’s an open group for students/beginners and up to advanced users. I really prefer to limit the “membership” to artists living here on the East Coast of the United States because the point of the group is to get together socially for a drink or some dinner and learn some new things about Maxwell. Anyone who wants to be on our email list can email me their info at, no matter where they are. My only request is that if you RSVP for an event we’re having, please actually show up because we have to make reservations at places, etc.

You can also follow our Maxwell Render User’s Group NYC Blog on Tumblr.


So far we’ve had a few get togethers at cafĂ©s in Brooklyn where we showed another recent work we’ve done and had a lot of fun. Last fall (2014) we organized a live webinar presented by Dario Lanza from the Maxwell team at the City University of NY Graduate Center, which was a complete breakdown of the Maxwell materials system. It was the best explanation I’ve ever seen on this topic and I’m still studying it and trying to master all the things he showed us how to do!

This year we are planning more events with a focus on the new Maxwell V3.1 and I am also interested in organizing a fun competition for “best Maxwell Rendering of 2014/2015” among our members. The Grand Prize will be a Maxwell Render T-shirt and a glass of beer, and a feature on our blog page! 🙂

Maxwell Materials

Maxwell Render expert Dario Lanza joined the NYC meeting online from Madrid, Spain to present “Understanding Maxwell Materials the easy way”.

The in-depth video is a “how-to” for Assisted & Advanced materials, Metals, Plastics & Dielectrics, Translucent materials and Multi-layered materials.

You can find a full outline of the subjects covered in the video’s description.

Here it is: Understanding Maxwell Materials the easy way Thanks Sven and Dario!

%d bloggers like this: