There's no point to introduce Industrial Light & Magic, one of the leaders in the field of visual effects. ILM is well-known for producing cutting edge visual effects work for many great feature films and the studio has been awarded 15 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and 24 Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And we're just scratching the surface. But what's quite interesting is that the company just revealed the promotion of John Knoll to Chief Creative Officer of the company. It is worth mentioning that Knoll, who joined the company in 1986, is not only a renowned Visual Effects Supervisor (he worked, among others, on the Star Wars prequels), but also one of the two brothers who created Adobe Photoshop! Here's an excerpt of a very interesting article on this matter, published many years ago by Photoshop News:
"In the summer of 1988, John thought they might have the basis of a commercially viable product. Thomas was reluctant: “Do you have any idea how much work it is to write a commercial application?” he asked John. But with his naive optimism, John convinced Thomas it would be worth the effort. “I’ll figure out how to make money with this,” he told his brother. Well, John was right, but so was Thomas. It did take a lot of work.
Thomas changed the name of their software several times. Each time he found one he liked, it had already been taken. ImagePro, and even PhotoHut were considered. Then, during a program demo, he confided to someone that he was having problems naming the program. The confidant suggested PhotoShop, and that became the program’s working name.
John started shopping around for a company to invest in Photoshop. Thomas remained in Ann Arbor, Michigan, fine-tuning the program, while John traveled all over Silicon Valley giving program demos including a company named Adobe Systems, Inc. Russell Brown, Adobe’s primary art director, was blown away by the program. He had just signed an NDA disclosure agreement with Letraset, to view their new image-editing program, ColorStudio. He was convinced that Photoshop was better. Timing is everything. With a great deal of enthusiasm, Adobe decided to buy the license to distribute Photoshop."
If you want to read the whole story, follow this link - you won't be disappointed!
Anyway let's move back to ILM. In 1996 Knoll founded the Rebel (Mac) Unit at ILM, a creative incubator for fine artists and software developers to define working methodologies and advance the state of the art. This lead to the development of a variety of breakthrough techniques including some of the earliest examples of digital compositing for The Abyss, a tool to recreate optical lens flares in the digital realm first used on Hook and a host of advanced digital camera projection techniques used on such films as Mission Impossible, Star Trek: First Contact and many others.
In 2012 Knoll was elected to the Academy’s Board of Governors representing the visual effects branch and is a four-time Academy Award nominee. In 2007 he won both the Oscar and the BAFTA for Best Visual Effects for his work on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.