Tad Leckman began his career in the entertainment industry as an apprentice model maker working for Emmy Award winner Jim Dow in 1987. After building miniatures and painting sets for a number of commercials, Tad left Southern California to attend UC Santa Cruz. There he studied English literature with an emphasis on cinema studies while working as a sysadmin and teaching computer seminars.
After graduation, Tad joined Industrial Light and Magic's Computer Systems Engineering department in 1995 where he acted as Desktop Systems Manager. Tad moved back into a creative role when he headed-up the formation and management of the "Rebel Mac Unit," which was created as an alternative production pipeline using third-party software on consumer hardware.
Having successfully built the Rebel Mac Unit into part of the CG department, Tad turned his attention to the fledgeling field of previsualization or animatics, acting as Previz Supervisor and Lead Previz Artist.
In the Fall of 2002, Tad transitioned to teaching full-time after opportunities to teach individual classes at Academy of Art University and NYU. Tad was a Lead Professor at AAU until 2006, when he was asked to become Chair of Visual Effects at Savannah College of Art and Design.
All of his production and academic experiences came together when he returned to Lucasfilm as Training Director for Lucasfilm Singapore, where he was responsible for the Jedi Masters Program, Lucasfilm's first apprenticeship program which trains entry-level and mid-level artists for work in animation, visual effects and game development.
Tad has served as Blizzard Entertainment's Senior Training Manager for their Cinematics and Creative Development teams and as Director of Art Education for Riot Games in Santa Monica.
Tad continues to consult, write and lecture about film, games, visual effects, animation and education for various studios and schools around the world. Tad is currently developing creative entrepreneurship curriculum as a Research Fellow for the UC Santa Cruz Division of Arts.
Specialties:education, artists development, visual effects, curriculum development, preproduction, production management, art direction, writing
Tad's students are working today throughout the visual effects, animation and video game industries at companies including: ILM, Lucasfilm Animation, Pixar, Dreamworks Animation, Digital Domain, The Third Floor, Double Negative, Tippett Studios, Weta Digital, Blue Sky Studios, Sony Imageworks, Luma, Matte World Digital, Framestore, Radium, DNA Productions, Bungie, Blizzard, Stargate Digital, Electronic Arts, Shaba Games, and Factor Five.
Tad has lectured at SIGGRAPH, SIGGRAPH Asia, The Brooklyn Art Museum, AnimFX/NZ, CG Overdrive, Games Asia, Seoul International Animation and Cartoon Festival, DigiPen, Savannah Film Festival, VES Festival of Visual Effects, National Youth Leadership Forum on Technology, Port Townsend Film Festival, QuickTime Live!.
Lucasfilm Animation Credits
2010 Season Three Star Wars: Clone Wars - Director of Training
2009 Season Two Star Wars: Clone Wars - Director of Training
2008 Season One Star Wars: Clone Wars - Director of Training
2011 Rango - Director of Training
2004 VanHelsing - Previz Supervisor
2003 Peter Pan - Previz Supervisor
2003 Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines - Previz Supervisor
2002 Gangs of New York - Previz Supervisor
2003 The Hulk - Digital Concept Artist
2002 Dreamcatcher - Previz Supervisor
2002 Dreamcatcher - Digital Concept Artist
2002 K19: The Widowmaker - Previz Supervisor
2002 Minority Report - Previz Supervisor
2002 Star Wars: Episode II - Digital Artist
2002 The Time Machine - Previz Supervisor
2002 Imposter - Digital Artist
2001 The Majestic - Previz Supervisor
2001 Planet of the Apes - Digital Artist
2001 Planet of the Apes - Previz Supervisor
2001 Big Trouble - Previz Artist
2001 The Mummy Returns - Previz Supervisor
2001 The Pledge - Compositor
2000 Space Cowboys - Previz Supervisor
2000 Space Cowboys - Assistant Visual Effects Art Director
1999 Galaxy Quest - Previz Supervisor
1999 Frankenstein (Unproduced Universal Digital Feature) - Lead Layout Animator
1998 XO (Unproduced Dreamworks Digital Feature) - Digital Concept Artist
1997 Men In Black - Rebel Mac Unit Production Manager
1996 Star Trek: First Contact - Rebel Mac Unit Project Leader/Digital Matte Artist
2001 ILM Commercial Productions I.D. - Director/Art Director/Digital Artist
2000 Energizer Titanium - Previz Artist
2000 Simpata.com "Mt. Papyrus" - Motion Graphics Animator
1999 Rhythms DSL "Data Dancers" - Previz Artist
1998 First Union Bank "Sharks" - Motion Graphics Animator
1997 Telecom Asia - Digital Matte Artist
1997 Doritos "Thrilling" - Technical Director
2009 Quest for Crime - Writer
2002 Corpus Delicti - Art Director
2000 The Collector - Visual Effects/Body Double