The professional content creation software industry is dominated by Nvidia's CUDA libraries, and as a result, a large number of professional applications won't run on Radeon GPUs without some serious trickery. AMD has been trying to court the developers of these programs for some time with the GPUOpen initiative and its FireRender SDK. In further news from SIGGRAPH, AMD has dropped its "Fire" branding and renamed FireRender to Radeon ProRender.
For those who aren't already familiar—and we reckon that's most of you—Radeon ProRender is AMD's OpenCL photorealistic offline 3D renderer. Since it uses OpenCL, the renderer can run on CPUs, GPUs, or any combination thereof, although obviously ProRender is optimized for Radeon GPUs. Example plugins are available for Autodesk's 3D Studio Max and Dassault's Solidworks, and ProRender is also available as a C++ library ripe for integration into your software of choice.
AMD also announced last night that Radeon ProRender is joining the GPUOpen initiative, which means the library is now free, open-source, and supposedly vendor-neutral. With that move, ProRender joins other AMD libraries including TressFX and LiquidVR (among many others) in AMD's open-source push.
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