From Desktop Publishing to CGI: Alum's Career Continues to Evolve

Graphic Design alumnus David Quisenberry has made a successful career in creative spaces since graduating from MSU in 1984 by evolving with new technology and continuing to learn at every stage.

From Leo Burnett to Mackevision and founding two of his own companies, Quisenberry’s 35-year career has grown and flourished with each new technology, beginning with desktop publishing on the earliest Macintosh computers to the most advanced computer-generated imagery (CGI) tools of today.

Currently, Quisenberry is a Principal Consultant for Mackevision, a global leader in CGI and visual effects (VFX). Mackevision created the VFX for shows like Game of Thrones and Lost In Space, but also works with global automotive brands like Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche.

“My role is to translate each client’s needs into a solution built from our portfolio of technologies and services,” Quisenberry said. “When we have a new client, my job is to analyze their production ecosystem and make decisions that help them achieve more efficiency and create more content for the same spend or less.”

I have always been able to communicate my ideas more clearly than my competitors thanks to what I learned here at MSU.

Quisenberry, who has managed to keep up with trends by reading and attending seminars, credits his successful career to his ability to think critically and never stop learning.

“My favorite things to do are problem-solving and critical thinking,” he said, “which I learned at Michigan State.”

Quisenberry compares the work he has done throughout his career to puzzle-solving and storytelling.

“My whole career has been about storytelling and using technology to visualize my ideas, whether that’s in a single image or a series of images that become motion,” he said. “I have always been able to communicate my ideas more clearly than my competitors thanks to what I learned here at MSU.”

a large warrior statues stands with a shield and sword. Behind it is a large city near the water.
VFX Quisenberry worked on for Game of Thrones.


Quisenberry began his career in the late 1980s as an Art Director for The Berline Group in Bingham Farms, Michigan, and then at Simons Michaelson Zieve in Troy, Michigan. His career path shifted from Art Direction to Desktop Publishing at Ross Roy in 1989 and later became a Studio Manager at CME Associates in 1991, where he was responsible for building a highly profitable desktop publishing group.

“I began building business units within agencies, which took me away from the traditional art direction path and opened new doors to understanding the business relationships between agency and client,” Quisenberry said.

That business knowledge led Quisenberry to start his first company in Detroit, Great Eyedeas, which focused on retouching images for the automotive industry.

“We created features for outdoor, billboards, and events, but most of our work focused on creating content for car catalogs by retouching images of cars shot in studios and retouching them to look like they were photographed outdoors,” he said.

My favorite things to do are problem-solving and critical thinking, which I learned at Michigan State.

Quisenberry served as President of Great Eyedeas for more than 13 years as it was one of the leading retouching firms in the United States.

“In the early days, I was getting calls to retouch fashion editorial because Photoshop couldn’t handle retouching skin very well. I figured out a technique to manually do what is today done with a few clicks,” Quisenberry said. “That was a lot of fun, but that was only 5 percent of the work I did. Everything else was bread-and-butter, automotive catalog work. By the time I closed my company, we had created over 10,000 images.”

In 2005, Quisenberry shifted from photo retouching to CGI and joined Latcha + Associates, where he served as CG Supervisor. There, he was responsible for building a world-class CGI group that specializes in the production of high-resolution, hyper-realistic CGI images.

“The automotive industry figured out that instead of building and photographing a car and putting it in a background, CGI could render the car and put it in the background for far less expense,” Quisenberry said. “Now the car can have any color, any trim, and one artist can very quickly create around 40 images instead of just one for the same level of effort.”
 

Red car parked on stone with water surrounding it
Quisenberry's work with Latcha + Associates rendering cars with CGI.


From 2013-2015, Quisenberry worked as an Executive Producer at Organic, then Digital Lead for Chevy and Kraft Foods managing strategy, omni-channel deliverables, timelines, budgets, and developing best practices that increased production and cost efficiencies. Here, he was exposed to how big data, audience targeting, and content work in concert to drive effective campaigns.

“I was involved in setting strategy to align big data, behavioral analytics, demographics, and geo location with content to enable personalization across channels,” he said. “Throughout the customer journey, there are multiple touch points we’re creating different types of content for, like broadcast, print, email, social, digital (YouTube, Hulu, etc.), outdoor, and point of sale. These channels all need a consistent message with product variations and themes to keep the customer engaged.”

With that experience, Quisenberry founded Taktik Digital, his second company, in 2015, which provides consulting on global content creation, data aggregation, audience analytics, and strategic campaign support.

Constantly learning, reading, and finding ways to evolve is the best thing you can do for your career,” he said. “If you push yourself to always be better, you’ll always have a rewarding life.

“I got to a point where I realized there was limited growth opportunities left for me within CGI, retouching, and traditional Agencies,” Quisenberry said. “So, I looked at what’s next, what technologies were emerging, and became an Executive Producer. It was never my intention to become a consultant, but after being a producer and learning how to merge analytics with content, it became a natural next step in my career.”

With a career that spans traditional art direction and design to advertising and CGI, Quisenberry has a lot to teach others. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Direct Marketing Association of Detroit, where he is able to do just that – educate, mentor, and help others network.

“Constantly learning, reading, and finding ways to evolve is the best thing you can do for your career,” he said. “If you push yourself to always be better, you’ll always have a rewarding life.”