RESUME

CREATIVE: 3D designer, VR ENTHUSIAST, and EXPERIENTIAL PRODUCER.

It's becoming harder to define a singular role, as the title "designer" loosely defines the many hats worn everyday while "designing."  Some days will require pure ideation and development of an event or exhibit or retail space, while other days are consumed by script-writing for experiences, illustrating storyboards for interactive engagement pieces, sourcing technology from vendors, and acting as a liaison between the client and production.

With over 13 years of experience working within the 3D design community, I’ve worked to create imaginative experiences that support some fantastic brands, and have a wide breadth of capabilities that expand beyond just conventional design.  Working professionally in retail-design has offered a massive variety of work with diverse companies ranging from Microsoft and Sony to FIAT and Mazda (and everything in between).  Designing experiential environments for products, showcased in real-time 3-dimensional engines (Unity 5 and Unreal Engine 4 ) has given unique opportunities to delve into experimental methods of “storytelling” and rapid-development in the design process.


EDUCATION

MIAD- Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design 2001 - 2005.  BFA with focus on Industrial Design.


CREATIVE history

 

Creative Director, Catalyst Exhibits Pleasant Prairie, WI 2013-Present
Collaborating-with and providing guidance to teams to rapidly generate concepts for trade-show booths.  Design work included both the physical architecture of booths as well as the various attractions, digital experiences, and events shown within these spaces. The position has offered a vast range of research and ideation in order to bring brand-stories to life in creative, unexpected ways.  Having designed and guided experiences for high-profile clients such as Mitsubishi, RSA, Gung-Ho Games, Wargaming, Siemens, Unity Game Engine, along with several others has afforded a wealth of experience in several very different industries, with drastically different goals and mindsets.

Additionally worked to bring more tools into the company’s pipelines to expedite the ideation and visualization process. From simple techniques that cleverly blend Autodesk Maya’s viewport with hand-sketched enhancements for rapidly produced concept art, to using the Unreal Engine 4 (AAA-level video game engine) to produce beautifully crafted imagery that can also live as an interactive walk-through-style piece for clients to explore with sales and design staff leading the journey.  The software also naturally provides the opportunity to generate full-fledged interactive experiences or video games, some of which used the Oculus Rift headset to immerse trade-show audiences into the digital journeys as well. I’ve had the great opportunity to steer the production of these digital journeys, acting as an art director for them, and was happy to see the technology added to Catalyst’s myriad of offerings for clients.

 

Senior Designer, DCI Marketing Glendale, WI 2010-2013
Providing a range of creative direction and digital services for a number of high-profile clients, DCI provided unique design opportunities.  Designing traditional in-store displays, generating large-scale roll-outs for newly-designed showrooms and supporting elements for automotive companies such as MOPAR, Mazda, Hyundai and Cadillac, and working with teams to script the development of forward-thinking marketing strategies for Sony’s VITA and Subaru have been enlightening experiences that encourage professional development beyond typical design positions.
Apart from the traditional design-pipeline, there has also been a significant amount of converting static, rendered designs into 3-dimensional environments that can be traversed and explored (like a video-game environment) before going through the costly expenditure of producing a physical prototype.  Utilizing Unity3D 4.0 (typically used as a game engine), my team and I pushed to create AAA-level visuals that allowed clients to explore our designs in a virtual environment, that told more of a story than any rendering ever could.  This experimental process took a lot to finesse into a viable extension of DCI’s available product line, but has since led to also offering a mobile virtual wrap-around, environment product-offering that clients can have setup at their own office. 

Freelance Designer, EWI Milwaukee, WI 2010
This position focused on the final design of FIAT dealership elements and how they would become manufacture-compliant pieces living within the car company’s dynamic, signature environments. The results of this design work can easily experienced by visiting any US FIAT dealership today.


Junior Designer, Design Phase Waukegan, IL 2005-2010
Designing with clients including XBOX, LG, Bose, BMW, Hasbro, and others afforded insights into how to design marketing and physical displays for successful brands.  Introducing new ways to showcase the XBOX KINECT and KIN phone during launch for Microsoft, and crafting innovative methods of engaging with 3D TV’s for LG were both successful exercises.  Modeling digital assets that could be prototyped via a 3D printer was also part of the job.

Associate Designer, RCS Retail Interiors Milwaukee, WI 2004-2005
Designing interior fixtures and showrooms for clients such as ATT and Harley Davidson was a good starting point in a design-career.  Using a combination of traditional design through pencils and marker-sketching, mixed with solids-modeling CAD program Cobalt, a variety of designs for cabinetry and mall-kiosks was produced.

 


REFERRALS

Feel free to contact for referrals.


technical prowess

Autodesk Maya - Experienced with modeling, animation, and rendering within the suite's incredible toolset.

Adobe Creative Cloud - Skilled with Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as InDesign. 

Unreal Engine 4 - The game engine is used daily to produce renderings, animations, VR experiences and interactive walk-throughs for clientele.  One of the best story-telling tools available.

Unity Engine 4+5 - With the same capabilities as Unreal, knowledge in Unity's engine allows for slightly more flexibility in non-standard visualization practices.

Keyshot - A fast program for quickly providing photo-realistic, publication-level imagery without too much overhead into setting up scenes.

Autodesk Mudbox - For more advanced projects, knowledge in Mudbox allows for sculpting 3D models as if they were digital-clay.  Sculptural or thematic designs benefit the most from this program, and the results can be astounding.


SKILLS

Very experienced with rendering and modeling with Autodesk Maya (8 years), with some familiarity in Maya’s animation and rigging capabilities.  Additionally, I have 3 years of working experience using Alias Studio, 11 years of daily Photoshop use, and a variety of experience with Autodesk Mudbox, Z Brush, 3DS Max, Quixel’s nDo, 3D Coat, After Effects, and FinalCut Pro.  Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5 are also interactive game-engines that I use frequently for several different purposes.


If “analogue” is more your style, there’s extensive use of hand-drawn techniques used consistently as well, including the use of Wacom tablets to help bring sketches to life.


CONTACT INFO

Phone- 262.894.1856

Email- danrutkowski@yahoo.com

Mailing - inquire via "contact" message, as this information is sensitive online.


ADDITIONAL PROJECTS

And Some Fun Stuff
I’ve been working to create a video-game for some time now, and although it’s certainly not “product design,” it still showcases skills with modeling and sketching and experience with Unreal Engine 4.  If you feel so inclined, go to www.thelostpisces.com and browse through the project.  Here you’ll find a significant amount of screenshots, artwork, concept art, sketches and other random goodies related to this indie-game venture.  Even if you’re not a “gamer,” you might like something you find there, so take a look.  It’s about 3 years into development, and still has a ways to go, but it’s full of eye candy and an example of my experiences beyond industrial design.

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