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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 2009, ILM has received 15 Best Visual Effects Oscars and 23 additional nominations. Do not confuse with OLM Incorporated. See also Studio DEEN and Production Reed, two Japanese studios that also opened up shop in 1975 & Boss Film Studios, Matte World Digital and Tippett Studio, offshoots of ILM.

Notable Works:

Animated Film

Live Action Film

Other Noteworthy Projects

They were also responsible for several noteworthy commercials for Coke, Energizer, Burger King and Nike amongst others, and (through Word of God), provided the visuals to DreamWorks' Vanity Plate.

Tropes associated with ILM:


  1. the latter four by Pixar, Framestore, Disney and CGCG respectively
  2. including the Star Wars prequels, Hulk and The Perfect Storm
  3. of films like Fight Club, Panic Room, The Social Network, the Troubled Production known as Alien³ and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  4. who did many projects such as Return of the Jedi and Dragonslayer
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