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Industrial Light and Magic

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Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) is a motion picture visual effects company that was founded in 1975 by George Lucas. The studio is now based in the Presidio of San Francisco. Pixar originated out of the computer graphics department established at ILM in the late 1970's.


Lucas wanted his 1977 film Star Wars to include visual effects that had never been seen on film before. He first approached Douglas Trumbull, famous for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Trumbull declined, but suggested his assistant John Dykstra. Dykstra brought together a small team of college students, artists and engineers who became the Special Visual Effects department on Star Wars. Alongside Dykstra other leading members of the original ILM team were Dennis Muren, Ken Ralston, Richard Edlund, Joe Johnston, Phil Tippett, Steve Gawley, and Jeff Mann.

When making The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas reformed most of the team into Industrial Light & Magic in Marin County, California. They have since gone on to produce special effects for over two hundred films, including the Indiana Jones series, the Harry Potter franchise and the Jurassic Park franchise. Additionally, the company has created less noticeable effects - such as widening streets, digitally adding more extras to a shot, and inserting a film's actors into famous photos - in movies such as Schindler's List, Forrest Gump, Snow Falling on Cedars, Magnolia, and several Woody Allen films.

ILM established their use of Computer-generated imagery when they hired Ed Catmull from NYIT in 1979. John Lasseter joined in the early 1980's and was the first animator hired to work in this department of ILM. The computer graphics department was eventually sold to Steve Jobs, and renamed as Pixar.

ILM has received 16 Academy Award for Visual Effects and 20 additional nominations. It had also received 22 technical Oscars.

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