Bright in every sense of the word.
In 1975, George Lucas
was working on pre-production for his next major project, Star Wars
. His vision was ambitious, and he wanted top-notch visual effects for it. Shopping around at miscelleneous special-effects houses, Lucas found that no one could offer him the dedication he wanted and a vision to match his own. So he started his own special-effects studio with some of his old college buddies.
Thus was born the company known as "Industrial Light and Magic."
With Star Wars
, they changed the way special effects were approached. One of their biggest innovations was using computed-programmed cameras that would move around the models and then mimic the same movements whilst in another environment. This would give them space battles that were fast and with effects that made you feel as if you were there. Early on the unions tried to get on the inside of the company and get others employed there, but when the crew demonstrated their home-made
computer-controlled camera it became clear no one else in the business knew how to do what they were doing
Ever since, the studio has been on the cutting edge of special effects for movies, television shows and commercials. They've become almost synonymous with Visual Effects of Awesome
. The odds are if you see a movie with intensive, elaborate and impressive special effects, ILM was involved with it. They've also helped push the bleeding edge of computer graphics, particularly the use of extensive Chroma Key
; 90% of the "sets" in the Star Wars
prequels were CGI, and you'd never know it. Pixar
itself began as a department of ILM.
As of October 2012; they're under the management
As of 2009, ILM has received 15 Best Visual Effects Oscars and 23 additional nominations. Do not confuse with OLM Incorporated
. See also Apogee Productions
, Boss Film Studios
, Matte World Digital
, The Orphanage
and Tippett Studio
, offshoots of ILM.
The company has their own YouTube
Live Action Film
- The Abyss - Had the first ever soft surface CG character. These techniques would later see more advanced use in James Cameron's next film, Terminator 2. Was the first project to use Photoshop.
- The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl
- Avatar - The project was so immense they had to split the workload with Weta Digital and other smaller companies, although ILM was the leader in developing the technology.
- The Avengers
- Baby's Day Out
- Back to the Future and its sequels.
- The Burbs - Did the opening Logo Joke/Astronomic Zoom.
- Cloud Atlas
- Cowboys and Aliens
- The Dark Crystal - Provided the Matte Paintings. They'd do the same for Labyrinth
- The Day After Tomorrow
- Deep Blue Sea
- Deep Impact
- Deep Rising
- Death Becomes Her - Their first attempt achieving realistic human effects via computer.
- Dragon Heart
- Enemy Mine
- ET The Extra Terrestrial
- Flight of the Intruder - Helped Rhythm & Hues enter the film VFX business.
- The Flintstones
- Gangs of New York
- G.I. Joe: Retaliation
- The Godfather Part III
- The Golden Child - Also served as producers.
- The Goonies
- Gremlins - The break-dancing gremlin was shot there according to the commentary.
- The Happening
- Harry and the Hendersons
- Harry Potter - ILM worked on the first six films in the series, sharing the workload with a number of other companies, but bowed out for the Deathly Hallows films. They did the House Ghosts, the boa constrictor and Voldemort in the first film, Dobby in the second film (as well as the Quidditch matches from here on out, whenever they appeared that is), the Dementors in the third film, the dragon in the fourth film, the Thestrals in the fifth film (as well as the Dementors again), and the Inferi in the sixth film. The second film marks the first use of subsurface scattering, used to create Dobby's skin.
- Herbie: Fully Loaded
- Howard the Duck - This was the company's first attempt at not only doing a live action adaptation, but also animatronics... It wasn't a success to say the least. Less embarrassing however, is that the film incorporated early digital compositing techniques.
- Hudson Hawk
- The Hudsucker Proxy
- Hugo - Did the opening shot.
- The Hunger Games - Was uncredited from the final product.
- The Hunt for Red October
- Identity Thief
- Indiana Jones
- The Indian in the Cupboard
- Iron Man
- The Island
- Jack Frost (1998)
- Joe Versus The Volcano
- Jurassic Park - First instance of CG to create a fully realized creature. There were dinosaurs in the film that never existed as physical objects alongside the actors; they were entirely virtual. They also did the sequels.
- Last Action Hero
- The Last Airbender
- Mars Attacks!
- The Mask
- Master and Commander
- Men In Black - First two films.
- Minority Report
- Mission: Impossible - All movies except the second.
- Once upon a Time in Mexico - Produced the main titles.
- Pacific Rim
- Pay It Forward
- Pearl Harbor
- The Perfect Storm
- Pirates of the Caribbean - Pioneered some pretty stunning iMoCap for Davey Jones and his crew in Dead's Mans Chest.
- Red Tails
- The Rocketeer
- Saving Private Ryan
- Schindlers List
- Sleepy Hollow
- Small Soldiers
- Spaceballs - The alien puppet. They were approached to handle spaceship effects, but declined.
- Spawn - Film adaptation; directed by employee Mark A.Z. Dippé.
- Speed Racer
- Starman - Also served as producers.
- Starship Troopers
- Star Trek- They haven't been involved with every film in the series, but some of their best work have ended up with the more popular ones like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek (2009)and Star Trek Into Darkness (coincidence?). They also co-produced Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
- Star Wars - A New Hope (as it became known) was their first major film project.
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation - Judgement Day's T-1000 would be the first instance of a main character being partially computer-generated and all the more awesome for it.
- Titanic - Some shots of the ship breaking apart.
- Total Recall (1990)
- Van Helsing
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit
- Tummy Trouble
- Roller Coaster Rabbit
- Wild Wild West
- World War Z (Supervision only)
- Young Sherlock Holmes - Featured the first ever completely computer generated character (The Stained Glass Knight).
- And plenty of others. A complete list can be found here.
Other Noteworthy Projects
They were also responsible for several noteworthy commercials for Coke, Energizer, Burger King and Nike amongst others, the 1990's General Cinema "Candy Band" and policy trailers (before the company went bust and was acquired by AMC)note
and through Word of God
, provided the visuals to DreamWorks
' Vanity Plate
Tropes associated with ILM:
- All-CGI Cartoon: Rango. They also helped out on WALL•E, The Tale of Despereaux, Chicken Little and Star Wars: The Clone Warsnote .
- Cel Shading: The movie of Rocky and Bullwinkle uses this for the title characters.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Most people knowledgeable in special/visual effects know who John Knoll or Dennis Muren are.
- He Also Did: A lot of notable examples are from here, including:
- Live-Action Adaptation: Plenty, including the Iron Man films, The Last Airbender, Battleship, Jurassic Park, Congo, The Transformers films, Casper, Howard The Duck, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Master and Commander and 101 Dalmatians.
- Off Model: Occurs in Revenge of the Fallen three times and Dark of The Moon once. Explained in more detail on the page.
- One of Us: Several employees are Transformers fans.
- Off-the-Shelf FX: The Death Star trench in A New Hope was constructed from battleship models. In The Empire Strikes Back, you can catch a glimpse of a Potato and a shoe during the asteroid field sequence and the TIE Bombers wings were taken from model kits of Darth Vader's TIE.
- The Pete Best: Averted with John Dykstra, who was part of the original crew but was fired for working on Battlestar Galactica, and eventually went on to become a visual effects master in his own right.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The original crew, who managed to create an environment so chaotic and unproductive that the effects only took off after George Lucas returned from England and worked closely with them.
- Serial Escalation: The Transformers movies seem to be outdoing one another in terms of complex characters - Ironhide in the first one, Devastator in RoTF and Driller in DoTM.