Joh Knoll How he brings real science to the looks of ‘Rogue One,’ ‘Avatar’

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  09 September 2017
Joh Knoll How he brings real science to the looks of ‘Rogue One,’ ‘Avatar’

ohn Knoll is the chief creative officer and senior visual effects supervisor of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), the company that George Lucas created to design the special effects for Star Wars, a movie that mesmerized a 14-year-old Knoll in the summer of 1977. A child of the Apollo era and the son of a nuclear-engineering professor who consulted for NASA, Knoll was predisposed to becoming a lifelong science-fiction fan, space-program aficionado, and astronomy nerd. As a 6-year-old, he watched the Apollo 11 landing on his dad’s extra-large TV—a whole 19 inches—which first got him hooked. Today, he owns an 8-inch reflector telescope, which he operates at his home in Lucas Valley, California, a secluded spot that’s protected enough from light pollution for Knoll to admire the Milky Way at night and play the “spot the satellite” game during hours when Earth is in shadow but the band around the planet is illuminated enough for its human-made satellites to sparkle in the sun
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