It all started, as many institutions in our modern world did, with a bunch of Star Wars-loving geeks

John Knoll, a supervisor at George Lucas’ visual effects house, Industrial Light and Magic, was intrigued by an image-editing Mac app his academic brother Thomas was working on as a hobby, and started showing it around ILM. The computer graphics folks loved how it did most everything their high-end Pixar machines could do, but for a fraction of the price. It was used in the special effects for James Cameron’s The Abyss

The Knolls realized they had a hot piece of software on their hands, and set about developing it for release. John had originally called it “Display.” The brothers eventually renamed it …

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