Renderer - which has best material library

'The most important feature I need from a renderer is a high quality, vast material library. I’m deciding which render plugin to buy.

I’m doing interior architectural renders. I would like access to a material library that is well organised with a huge variety of common materials used in interior design - floor tiles, wall tiles, carpet, marble, stone, concrete and so forth.

I checked out, for instance, Arion, but it only shows about 5 fabric materials on their website. Brazil only seems to come with about 50 materials in total. Likewise for Thea.

Maxwell lists 4000 community materials. Are they any goods? Are they well organised? (and can I navigate the library inside Rhino?)

Vray has their library locked away only to registered users. Can anyone tell me what the size and quality of the library is?

Octane also locks away their library. Can anyone tell me what its like?

I’m leaning towards Maxwell at the moment.

Are there any well integrated renderers that I’ve missed that have a good material library?

Hi there
In terms of a material library Maxwell is a good choice indeed, but there are some downsides you must be aware of:

  1. There are no categories unless you search the library using the key words
  2. Quite often the visible name of the material is different from the name of downloaded file which means you can’t download a hundred at once.
  3. Some materials are missing their textures
    It took me about a month to download all of them, rename, sort and do my own division in about 20 categories where each one is subdivided by two IMAGE and MATERIAL folders for quick browsing.


I only use Maxwell so I won’t comment on other render engines. Here are good things about Maxwell.

  1. A license will come with Maxwell Studio and a Plug-in package for most software.
  2. It’s a physical correct render engine.
  3. Customer support is excellent.
  4. Material library can access from plug-ins, web, and Maxwell Studio, plug-ins and Studio have embedded web materiel search.
  5. Interface is really convenient on both Rhino and Maxwell Studio. (Like Rhino, users can import and export desired interface, like _optionsexport, Customizing layout )
    I believe there are more…

downside of Maxwell from my point

  1. Materiel editing part is hard to learn (at least to me)
  2. Not many resources to learn
  3. Slow…I mean really. It depends on what CPUs you use but overall it’s very slow.


I highly underestimated just how slow Maxwell is. I trialled it and its just not going to work for me.

So I’ve resigned myself to buying a library of textures and just manually creating bump, normal and specular maps to get decent looking materials. Most renderers already have non-textured materials like glass and metals included.

So that leads me to the problem I’ve always had with Rhino and textures - the scaling. I only ever draw in mm, but Rhino always seemed to only map to UVs, so textures get stretch unevenly.

Is this fixed in V5 / Brazil? (I’m leaning to buying Brazil now instead of Maxwell). Does Brazil use real world coordinates for mapping, or will I have to manually create UV / planar maps for every surface in my model?

Rhino 5 and Brazil have a WCS option for textures. Alternatively - even in Rhino 4 - you can apply a unit planar mapping to an object, and texture will map onto it at world scale.

  • Andy

Hi Gavin,

Octane in Rhino uses the Octane LiveDB of materials and allows you to connect to this without leaving Rhino. The plugin also uses the material panel in Rhino 5 which is very nice. If you’ve got an Nvidia card with a bunch of Cuda cores it’s a blast. The library of materials is a decent size in my opinion and gives a nice foundation for making your own variations.

As a jewellery-related person, I always wonder if I could find some enormously huge, madly large realistic material library for any of unbiased render engines \not vray, brasil, neon or mentalray\ that would contain even the natural gemstones and different gold alloys samples along with other materials.