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Industrial Light & Magic: The Art Of Innovation by Pamela Glintenkamp

01/03/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Industrial Light & Magic: The Art Of Innovation in the USA - or Buy Industrial Light & Magic: The Art Of Innovation in the UK

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pub: Abrams. 357 page illustrated large horizontal hardback. Price: $50.00 (US), $57.50 (CAN), GBP 35.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-8109-9802-5).

check out websites: www.abramsbooks.comand www.starwars.com
I doubt if there’s no one in the world who doesn’t know the name ‘Industrial Light & Magic’. Starting off from the special effects crew put together to make ‘Star Wars’, it was kept together by its director, George Lucas, so he would have them on tap and provided effects for other directors, including some chap called Spielberg. Although as one of ILM’s employees points out, although Spielberg uses them a lot, he doesn’t always come to them. ILM’s reputation is based on sorting out the more difficult problems and the list of firsts they’ve done grows as you read through the number of films they were involved in. As such, films that they’re made effects for tend to the results of such experiments before they become the norm. All ground-breaking stuff and it would have been difficult not to have seen their work in the films that are out there.

Copyright © 2011 Lucasfilm Ltd. and ™. All Rights Reserved Under User Authorization

Obviously, there is a great emphasis on the ‘Star Wars’ films but the number of films they’ve been involved with, in and out of the genre, is one hell of a resume. In fact, the forty-three films gone into depth here are out of the two hundred and seventy-seven they’ve been involved in so far. Working out which problems have been their greatest successes, I suspect it’s in hair movement, clothes acting like clothes and particle motion because there was a lot of emphasis on making it look like real life. Looking at the filmography, their work extends way outside of our genre. With SF or fantasy, we know that something isn’t real. With general genre films, it’s more a case of not expecting it and can slip below the effects radar.

Copyright © 2011 Lucasfilm Ltd. and ™. All Rights Reserved Under User Authorization

There is a lot of information to digest in this book and a lot of facts I picked up along the way. They include, for example, in 1982, ILM was the first to use CGI to create the Genesis Effect in ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. The Photoshop software was developed by brothers John and Tom Knoll who both worked at ILM. Looking at the comments George Lucas made about the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy only getting fifty per cent of what he wanted and the special editions getting the rest sorted does make me wonder why he always deferred on completing the original nine films than the final six.

Copyright © 2011 Lucasfilm Ltd. and ™. All Rights Reserved Under User Authorization

I should point out in no uncertain terms that this is a big and heavy book which will take you some time to wade through, let alone absorb all the information. It does not get as technical as ‘Cinefex’ but it does explain what they achieved. There are also interviews with various people who work at ILM explaining how they got to work there. Did I mention the photographs? There are plenty in front of and behind the scenes that should make everyone happy and in a big book, many also fill entire pages. There really is something for everyone here and you have the added bonus of if any of your friends trying to leave your house ‘borrowing’ it likely to be slowed down enough for you to catch them up. One of those really great books that screams to be in your collection.

GF Willmetts

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