This talk is a part of the Games and Playble Media MS Seminar Series and will be livestreamed at twitch.tv/ucscgpm.
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.