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Industrial Light & Magic Releases OpenEXR to Open Source Community

San Rafael, Calif. ––Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), adivision of Lucas Digital Ltd. LLC, today announced the launch ofOpenEXR (, itspreviously proprietary extended dynamic range image file format, to theopen source community. Recognizing the need for a file format thatcould serve as the industry standard, ILM went through considerableeffort to prepare OpenEXR for the public.

“Historically, the visual effects community and the motion pictureindustry have benefited from the creation of standards,” said JimMorris, President of Lucas Digital. “OpenEXR is yet another step inthis direction. By creating better standards in image file format, wehope that effects practitioners and software developers will have amore consistent and flexible base to build upon.”

OpenEXR is a 16-bit, floating-point file format with much greaterdynamic range than existing 8- and 10-bit file formats and is fullycompatible with Nvidia’s new GeForce FX and Quadro FX 3D graphicssolutions. Its lossless data compression achieves compression ratios of2:1 for scanned film images.

“OpenEXR allows for a representable dynamic range that issignificantly higher than previous file formats,” explains CliffPlumer, Chief Technology Officer at ILM. “The OpenEXR file format is abetter digital representation of film because it has a dynamic range ofover 30 f-stops without loss of precision, and an additional 10 f-stopsat the low end with minimal loss of precision. Most of the previous8-bit file formats only have the dynamic range of around 7 to 10f-stops and cannot accurately reproduce images with extremecontrast.”

ILM originally implemented its own extended dynamic range fileformat EXR in the summer of 2000. EXR was battle tested on HarryPotter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Men in Black II,Gangs of New York and Signs with fantastic success.Currently the file format is being used on Dreamcatcher, TheHulk, Van Helsing, Peter Pan, Timeline andPirates of the Caribbean.

Industrial Light & Magic is a division of Lucas Digital Ltd.LLC, which also includes Skywalker Sound. Formed in 1993, Lucas DigitalLtd. is dedicated to serving the digital needs of the entertainmentindustry for visual effects, commercial production and audiopost-production.