I've always loved the Maxwell Render Engine and yet have never used it as part of my everyday workflow. For some reason it's never surpassed or replaced my love for V-Ray, but who knows, that may well change in the future.
If you want a render engine that is obsessed with doing things physically and accurately then this is most definitely the solution for you. And let me tell you, it is excellent at doing that. It focuses on light and ensures that it represents it as it should. This ensures artists can trust it to get incredible photo-realistic images.
The other reason they can trust it is because of how straightforward it is to use. You don't have to be incredibly technical to use it. Instead, if you're an artist who knows what a good looking image looks like then you'll get on well with Maxwell. Everything is set up based on the real world – from the lights, all the way to the cameras.
Maxwell is a progressive renderer, so if you're after a solution that is going to deliver results quickly, then it's definitely worth giving it a try. I find it incredible how much quality and detail can be calculated in such a short space of time; you can make changes and see them appear in front of you (obviously hardware dependent).
Getting this level of quality is also surprisingly easy to set up. They try and stay away from stacks of complicated parameters and really let you only specify the quality and sharpness you want. It's refreshingly simple.
A broad appeal
Maxwell has been increasingly trying to appeal to a variety of different markets including architecture and product design, as well as film, animation and VFX. They provide easy-to-use tools that make working in each of these industries a job. The Multilight feature for architectural visualisations is genius and enables artists to focus on making creative choices, not on long re-renders. The attention to real-world materials means product visualisations stand out as a cut above the rest. Massive scene handling means that you can use it confidently on huge scenes, even with complex animations.
One other thing to note, while on the subject of animation, there is no flickering! Everything is calculated in exactly the same brute force way for each frame, so it's a solution that you can rely on.
All in all Maxwell is an excellent renderer that should always be considered when starting out or switching rendering engines. Its price point is attractive and it's floating license with render nodes makes it even more appealing to small studios. They provide a demo version of the render suite and I would highly recommend giving it a few minutes of your time.