Industrial Light & Magic
(ILM) is the critically acclaimed visual effects company founded by film director George Lucas
, and is owned by Lucasfilm
. The company was created by Lucas when he needed a special effects department to work on shots for his movie Star Wars
. ILM started up in Van Nuys, California, and would move up north to San Rafael in 1978. They would move again in 2005 and are currently based at the Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio of San Francisco
which they share with sister division LucasArts
and various Lucasfilm units including licensing and online.
While game development is not ILM's primary business, several technologies have originated from the company that would become used across the industry.
Adobe Photoshop, the popular grpahics editing program, was co-created by ILM employee John Knoll (at the time a camera operator and now an Academy-award winning Visual Effects Supervisor).
OpenEXR is an image format standard for HDR images that was created by ILM and released as an open source project, and is a popular format for images that require higher color fidelity.
ILM has collaborated with LucasArts on game titles in the past. Recent examples include Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
, in which ILM assisted with motion capture and facial scans of the main characters, as well as engineering support for development tools and pipelines. ILM's R&D department continues to provide LucasArts with technology development and engineering support, and both companies continually look for technologies, tools, and workflows that can be shared across divisions and benefit everyone.