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Video: AMD demos new GPU-based Maya renderer

Monday, September 1st, 2014 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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AMD’s new raytrace renderer, running on a machine with four AMD FirePro W8100 GPUs. An early build of the engine, which is intended to accelerate uptake of OpenCL 2.0 among developers, was shown at Siggraph 2014.

AMD is working on a new GPU-based raytrace renderer, designed as a proof of concept to accelerate the uptake of the OpenCL 2.0 framework in photorealistic render engines. It is currently integrated into Maya 2015.

AMD has been promoting OpenCL as an alternative to Nvidia’s CUDA for GPU-based rendering for some time, but support has been patchy: V-Ray RT currently supports it, but Octane Render does not, for example.

The new engine would give AMD an equivalent to Nvidia’s iray: a showcase for what OpenCL-based renderers can do in production.

May be open source, but few other details yet
The renderer was shown off at Siggraph 2014 – the video above comes from AMD’s FireUser blog at the time – but we missed it until Blender Foundation chairman Ton Roosendaal namechecked it in his show report.

There’s very little information on the AMD blog, but according to Roosendaal, the engine is codenamed ‘Fire Render’, and will be released under “a permissive open source licence – maybe even public domain”.

There’s no release date yet, but a production build may be some way off. As Roosendaal notes: “The render engine was fast and looked good – but [AMD] mainly showed the obligatory shiny car … with [a] skydome.”

They’re always red cars, too, for some reason. Still, one to keep an eye on.

Updated 3 September: We’ve spoken to AMD, who tell us that the new renderer isn’t necessarily destined to be a standalone release. “It’s a API written in a format most graphics/compute programmers can understand and implement quickly. It can be used to write a plugin to any application, or bits used to improve existing renderers.”

AMD tells us that it is working with other developers besides Autodesk, although as yet, there is nothing on show publicly from those collaborations.

Visit AMD’s FireUser blog
(The post in question is from 14 August)

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