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How to use AMD's Prorender with Blender


Steve Lund writes:

AMD's Free Radeon Prorender has come a long way since its launch! It now has many features like Subsurface Scattering, Micro Displacements, Volumetrics Support, De-noising, and a much improved ultimate Uber shader! Learn how to use these features in this new video tutorial overview!

About the Author

Steve Lund

A geek to everything CG! A 3D instructor, and founder of CG Geek.


  1. I think a better topic would be 'why use prorender' rather than 'how'. Cycles is already fantastic, free, and more mature.. why bother? I'm not being retorical, I legitimately don't know.

    • Generally one should learn to use as many tools, including rendering engines as possible. While Cycles is a fairly competent renderer it can take more effort to produce the desired results in certain scenes or doesn't do certain effects very well. One area it lacks is Caustics, often requiring extensively more samples to get a clean image or just out right not producing what you want. You can solve this dilemma by using something like Lux Renderer which does really great caustics but tends to lack in other areas. You can then composite the two renders to get the desired outcome.

      Blender 2.8 is designed around the idea of using multiple render engines, hence why it received such a major overhaul on how rendering engines work with scenes and render layers

      • Are you a parakeet? Edge said that already...besides: matureness is not limited to caustics...and how important are caustics anyway

    • Hey there. This is Brian (developer/manager of ProRender). So I'm biased. But generally you should try it out for a few reasons:

      1. Very active development and we're working hard to listen to user issues. (Cycles seems to have taken a bit of a backseat for 2.8)
      2. We know graphics card programming. OpenCL performance is very very good, particularly on AMD cards, but ProRender will work great on our competitor's cards, or you can use both AMD and NV cards at once. It's fast.
      3. Some nicer shaders and lights as Steve said in his video

      Feature wise, yes cycles is great, and they're somewhat similar.

      • Hi Brian
        I tested ProRender yesterday on blender 2.79 and it is really fast and is a nice renderer, but on windows 10 64b it sometime crash and cause blender quit, also the edges are little jaggy (though I should learn more about ProRender),

        May I ask about the license, is it free for commercial use?

      • I'm an animator.
        Always when there's a new render engine around, first thing I look for on their 'features page' is MOTION BLUR and DEFORMATION MOTION BLUR.
        This is what cycles has , and most other free engines(and quite a lot commecial ones) don't. Or didn't I check the other renderer's web pages long enough?

        I fully understand that if you do stills, this doesn't concern you...

      • does it support this one?
        AMD Radeon HD 6470M with 1GB dedicated DDR3 video memory
        because I burned it out using it to render in Blender GPU with Cycles, yep it got fried, and I had to replace my entire Motherboard. So now I am very reluctant in using GPU for rendering for more then just F12 using Linux OS.

      • checkCompatibility_hardware begin...
        > GetSystemInfo_ begin...
        + 1 0000:01:00.0 vendor=1002 device=6760 (Seymour [Radeon HD 6400M/7400M Series])
        > GetSystemInfo_: FAILED - dlopen
        displaWarningMessage_cantGetInfo = true
        WARNING MESSAGE : Installer is not able to check the system compatibility. Continue install anyway ? [yN] y
        checkCompatibility_hardware end...
        checkCompatibility_driver begin...
        checkCompatibility_driver end...
        BuildRegistrationLink begin...
        Register link =
        BuildRegistrationLink end...
        Please follow the link above to register and retrieve registration key.
        Registration key:(removed my user)
        Checking os version
        This product is built for Ubuntu 16.04 - you may encounter errors. Do you wish to continue?
        (y or n)n

        so this is and was a waste of my time, just for Ubuntutututututu aka WinUix

        • press y instead of n.
          since most Linux versions have much in common the chance it will work is quite large, and if it doesn't work you can just look at the error and most likely it will work after just installing one or a few other elements.

          the reason you get this message is because there are too many different linux distros to add official support for them all and some very basic versions of linux might miss some required elements like how most console only versions of linux most likely don't contain advanced graphics elements.

      • Hi i have the BlenderOctane 2.8. I installed ProRender as I wanted to compare against Cycles and Octane for speed and photorealism. I tried several times to get it to instal without success. The installer works and shows the message saying ProRender installed successfully but then you go to Ad-On section to activate it but when you tick activation box you get a traceback warning. Basically it will install but won't activate. Is this because I have the BlenderOctane 2.8 installed rather than the standard version of Blender 2.8?

          • I have the same issue with supposedly the latest ProRender version(2.1) and I'm using the regular 2.81 version. It showed up in the engine dropdown of the previous version but for some reason it doesn't in the newer version of Blender.

    • Cycles is like Windows - mostly used, but not because they are the best, but because they are bundled, shipped with package, preinstalled - name it as you wish.

      I don't want to tell they are bad, but there are other solutions which work quite more better for some tasks. Just not to much people know about them. For example mentioned LuxCore is awesome in realistic light distribution, NK files support, where there is no even metropolis sampler, IES just comes to Cycles etc...

      Know pros and cons about of more than one renderer give you possibility choose the best one for your task, or combine them.

      • I never really understood why it's not possible to join these two projects... LuxCore devs do a great job, but why not to have something super powerful by concentrating efforts?
        To add to that, comparing Cycles to Windows is so completely off... They aren't most used. Probably Vray or something similar is. Aaand. well, Windows is pure evil, while cycles is pure gold :)

        • Compare Cycles and WIndows is in the place. Replace Cycles by LuxCore and in about year most people will use LuxCore, not a Cycles. Do the same with Windows and Linux and you got the same result - MS finally close the doors :D
          And there are more similarities.
          About V-Ray - we are on Blender related website - I'm sure not even 1% of Blenderheads use V-Ray and I'm sure most of Blender users use Cycles - very close to 100%

          About "concentrating efforts" - This is good idea, but also not good at same time...

          Everything is about compromises. Have a possibility to choose what fit your needs is much better, than have one big mess what is able to do everything, but nothing really good - and no other reasonable options to choose from.

          Looking for relatively simple and fast renderer for simple scenes? -Use Cycles.
          Looking for super realism and physically correct light behavior - Use LuxCore
          Looking for very fast and good quality render and you are willing to pay for it? - Use Octane.
          ...and so on...

          Every of those have their own philosophy - and we have a choice...
          Imagine they start work together on one project - 3 teams with 3 different approaches and philosophies... This can't end well :D

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