Advanced Rendering to Be Free for SOLIDWORKS Users

AMD makes Radeon ProRender, a ray tracing GPU-based rendering application previously known as FireRender, open source.

A motorcycle model rendered in ProRender. (Image Courtesy of AMD)

A motorcycle model rendered in ProRender. (Image Courtesy of AMD)

AMD revealed at SIGGRAPH 2016 that it will release ProRender, a ray tracing rendering engine, as a free application that will be available to all developers as open source.

Such advanced rendering has not been available for free in base mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD) software. SOLIDWORKS users have had to buy the Professional and Premium bundles to get Visualize, a similar ray tracing GPU-based rendering application.

Visualize is the SOLIDWORKS product for what is essentially NVIDIA Iray, said Antoine Reymond, senior Strategic Alliances manager at AMD. “We want to shake up the market,” he noted. “And giving it away for free is the best way of doing that.”

“Radeon ProRender is a high-performance, photorealistic GPU-based rendering technology that took us years of engineering effort to create,” said Raja Koduri, senior vice president and chief architect, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. “GPU compute-based rendering solutions have the best chance of realizing the dream of photorealistic rendering for immersive computing experiences. Moving this to GPUOpen enables great graphics minds worldwide to contribute to our goal of enabling ‘the art of the impossible.’”

AMD believes this release will motivate engineers and designers to push the limits of what can be imagined and photo realistically rendered. Given what we’ve seen in the video game, film and commercial spheres, the boundary of what is real and what is digital has begun to blend seamlessly. Today, many car commercials that look completely lifelike were actually made completely in a digital environment. The coming years will only bring more photorealism to the immersive worlds of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) as those technologies are transformed from today’s clunky standards to an experience that rivals our natural view of reality.

Radeon ProRender is built on OpenCL, making it possible to use any hardware options that support the widely used standard. According to AMD, ProRender has the ability to leverage the CPU and GPU resources in a machine, balancing their use to deliver fast and accurate rendering results. To complete the package, Radeon ProRender also comes equipped with an unbiased ray tracing engine and native physical-based material and camera systems.

Currently, Radeon ProRender plug-ins can be integrated into a number of applications, including 3ds Max, SOLIDWORKS, Rhino and more. For those who are interested in using Radeon ProRender, the software’s SDK comes complete with a C++ library to aid application integration.