John Knoll

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John Knoll
John Knoll (2) (cropped).jpg
Knoll in 2007
Born (1962-10-06) October 6, 1962 (age 59)
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
EducationUSC School of Cinematic Arts
OccupationVisual effects supervisor, chief creative officer (CCO)

John Knoll (born October 6, 1962) is an American visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer (CCO) at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).[1] One of the original creators of Adobe Photoshop (along with his brother, Thomas Knoll), he has also worked as visual effects supervisor on the Star Wars prequels and the 1997 special editions of the original trilogy. He also served as ILM's visual effects supervisor for Star Trek Generations and Star Trek: First Contact, as well as the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Along with Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and Allen Hall, Knoll and the trio's work on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest earned them the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.[2]

Knoll has been praised by directors James Cameron, Gore Verbinski, Guillermo del Toro, and Brad Bird. Del Toro, who worked with Knoll for the first time on Pacific Rim, stated "He basically has the heart of a kid and the mind of a scientist, and that's a great combination."[3]

Knoll is also the inventor of Knoll Light Factory, a lens flare generating software inspired by his work at Industrial Light and Magic.[4] He was the Computer Graphics Project Designer on The Abyss, an achievement which earned ILM its tenth Oscar, and worked on two Star Trek episodes: Star Trek: The Next Generation's pilot episode ("Encounter at Farpoint") and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Explorers".

Knoll had a cameo appearance in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as a fighter pilot,[5] helped pitch the story of Rogue One, a feature film set in the Star Wars series, for which he also worked as writer and executive producer.[6]

At the 2019 Oscars, John and his brother Thomas were awarded a Scientific and Engineering Award for the original architecture, design and development of Photoshop.[7]

Feature films[edit]

John Knoll visits the 5-25-77 panel, 2007
Year Title Other notes
2021 Jungle Cruise visual effects supervisor
2019 6 Underground additional visual effects supervisor
2019-present The Mandalorian additional visual effects supervisor
2018 Aquaman production and technical support
2018 The Other Side Of The Wind visual effects supervisor
2018 Ready Player One visual effects production
2016 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story visual effects supervisor, executive producer, story
2013 Pacific Rim visual effects supervisor
2011 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol visual effects supervisor
2011 Hugo visual effects supervisor
2011 Rango visual effects supervisor
2011 Super 8 digital artist
2009 Avatar visual effects supervisor
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince digital artist
2009 Confessions of a Shopaholic visual effects supervisor
2008 Speed Racer visual effects supervisor
2007 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End visual effects supervisor
2006 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest visual effects supervisor
2005 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith visual effects supervisor
2003 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl visual effects supervisor
2002 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones visual effects supervisor
2000 Mission to Mars visual effects supervisor
1999 Deep Blue Sea visual effects supervisor
1999 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace visual effects supervisor, onscreen cameo
1996 Star Trek: First Contact visual effects supervisor
1996 Mission: Impossible visual effects supervisor
1994 Star Trek Generations visual effects supervisor
1994 Baby's Day Out visual effects supervisor
1991 Hudson Hawk visual effects supervisor
1991 Hook visual effects supervisor
1990 The Hunt for Red October visual effects supervisor
1990 Spaced Invaders visual effects supervisor
1989 The Abyss CG supervisor
1988 Willow motion control camera operator
1987 Innerspace motion control camera operator
1987 Empire of the Sun motion control camera operator
1987 Star Trek: The Next Generation motion control camera operator
1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home motion control camera operator
1986 Captain EO motion control camera operator


  • John Knoll, J. W. Rinzler: Creating the Worlds of Star Wars: 365 Days with CDROM; Book about the Making of the Star Wars Saga; ISBN 0-8109-5936-4


  1. ^ Cohen, David (May 23, 2013). "Industrial Light & Magic Ups John Knoll to Chief Creative Officer (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  2. ^ 79th Academy Awards#Awards
  3. ^ Cohen, David (May 28, 2013). "John Knoll Hailed By Helmers Bird, Verbinski, del Toro and Cameron". Variety. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  4. ^ "Red Giant - Products - Knoll Light Factory 3.0 - More Info". Red Giant Software. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013.
  5. ^ Barry, Nathan (February 10, 2012). "Some Good Things About The Phantom Menace". Wired Magazine.
  6. ^ Frei, Vincent (9 January, 2017). "ROGUE ONE – A STAR WARS STORY: John Knoll – Overall VFX Supervisor & Chief Creative Officer – Industrial Light & Magic". Art of VFX.
  7. ^ "Scientific & Technical Awards | 2019". Oscars. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. February 9, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2020.

External links[edit]