John Knoll Promoted to Chief Creative Officer at ILM

Industrial Light & Magic’s veteran VFX supervisor, John Knoll, has been upped to chief creative officer, assuming a new creative role as the Disney-owned VFX powerhouse ramps up production on the rebooted Star Wars franchise with J.J. Abrams.

It’s a great move for ILM and the Oscar-winning Knoll, who most recently worked on Pacific Rim and The Lone Ranger.  He is one of the industry’s leading filmmakers and technologists, and the promotion makes perfect sense in this new production-driven era for the company overseen by Kathleen Kennedy.

This will allow Knoll to see the forest through the trees, as it were, as more of an artist and manager, performing “collective troubleshooting,” while working with his colleagues (including chief strategic officer Kim Libreri) in keeping ILM ahead of the curve during these troubled times.

It’s not simply a matter of continuing to develop advanced technologies but also making the process more efficient and cost-effective in this age of virtual production. This includes the perfection of near real-time feedback for helping actors perform better CG characters; the advancement of real-time tools for virtual world building at the script stage and further experimentation before principal photography; the coming of cloud rendering for greater flexibility and efficiency; and the need for more diverse skillsets for artists to create more unified workflows.

All of this will come into play with the next Star Wars trilogy (with Episode VII due in 2015) being shot in London. With the possibility of opening a London-based hub, VFX work can be better performed as one unified project.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, Oscar, previs, Tech, Uncategorized, VFX, Virtual Production

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