pix-us

About

You often hear of instances where life imitates art and vice versa. At PIX-US, we blend art and technology, but it’s no imitation game. Both facets of our business are authentically employed to create handcrafted computer-generated images (CGI) for use in print, web, and motion applications. Our images are photorealistic and beautiful.

What’s Art Got to Do With It?

In 2013, someone asked us this question, and we were taken aback because looking at CG images from an artistic perspective is second nature to us. When the question was posed, it turned out to be a defining moment in the foundation of PIX-US. Our visceral reaction helped us discern our identity. In CGI, we certainly use technology, but it’s not just numbers, math or science. It’s a combination of art and technology. Our staff of technologically savvy artists looks at every image, asking themselves not only if it’s technically accurate but also, “Is it beautiful?” It’s personal to all of us.

Reducing Our Footprint

Stunning, meticulously created images are just one of the reasons to choose CG over traditional photography. We save natural resources in the CG process, by reducing the need to ship large, heavy products that end up as waste along with the sets built for your project. And when you go on location it’s no better given the transportation, generators and craft service waste. We’re extremely proud of our program that recycles all unused pixels.

At the Heart of US

When we started PIX-US it was out of a love for photography and the fact that we wanted to be involved in the next step in the imaging industry. We want to create stunning marketing images — that’s why we look at the light, composition and the lens choice with such intensity when we create our CG renderings. We use the same photography vernacular and concepts that we use when creating photographs.

We imagined producing beautiful images when we started, and we’re fortunate to continue doing that. But now we are involved in things we didn’t imagine, like creating 1.2 million renders to allow a client to show every variation of their product line. There is just not any practical way you can do that as a conventional photography job. We are having discussions with clients about things we never imagined and are finding ways to produce work that goes beyond anything we dreamed of creating. We’re truly excited to be involved in such great projects with our clients. While we still love photography we are also aware that CG-Imaging is not the future of product photo illustration, it’s the right now.

Call or email us. We’d love to talk to you about your project.

Contact Us
Stewart Fortune
Managing Director/Partner

Stewart’s work life is one of contradictions. When asked to describe his personality, he says “not grumpy” with a look that lets you know it’s opposite day.” Yet he’s not the curmudgeon he makes himself out to be. The staff says Stewart is amazing to work with and that he remains humble despite “knowing so much about so many things.” Image building is not one of those things, but that’s okay; we have specialists for that. Where Stewart really excels is in business, relationship building and finding ways to connect with a diverse team. “We have an esprit de corps that comes through every project,” he says. “It’s exciting and enjoyable to be a part of.”

First Job: Dishwasher at IHOP. “I lasted three whole days!”

When he grows up: “I want to be a guitarist and ice hockey player who reads anything printed.”

Mark Wagoner
Creative Director/Partner

Mark takes work and its creation very seriously, but it’s clear he doesn’t take himself too seriously. The evidence is in how the staff responds to his leadership—a mix of awe and well-meaning ribbing. One team member says Mark’s a total hack as a photographer and nothing more than a schmuck! But the deeper truth about Mark lies in the fact that the team credits him with inspiring them to do work they never imagined they could do. “We are always learning and pushing the limits of our work, doing things we didn’t know last week,” says Mark, who helps set the overall tone, look and feel of the images.

First Job: “I worked for my dad’s company, Wagoner Electric, for 25 cents an hour.”

Off-the-Clock: “I enjoy playing percussion and sometimes the keyboard.”

Mandy Powers
Production Manager

As project manager, Mandy oversees work flow, a monumental task in a business like ours. Affectionately called Handy Mandy after years of handling a variety of studio tasks, she loves creating stunning images. Stewart says, “She is adept at overseeing the process and the myriad details needed to keep it all on track—she just can’t help herself, but she sure does help everyone else! We are thrilled that she has taken on the mantle of project manager.” It’s clear that Mandy enjoys working at PIX-US. “We encourage creativity and hard work but leave room for silliness, too,” she says.

First Job: “I was a cashier and tractor driver at my dad’s farm market.”

Off-the-Clock: “I like camping and sitting around the fire pit with my family.” 

Alison Greene
Post Production Artist

Alison is our Photoshop wiz kid. Whether she’s creating textures or color-matching products, it’s Alison’s work that puts the finishing touch on all of the images produced at PIX-US. The culture of continuous learning at PIX-US is what really stokes her fire. “I am always learning new techniques and getting new ideas to work on future projects,” she says. “Photoshop may be my general strength, but making selections and compositing have become what I’m best at.” Alison’s colleagues enjoy the “youthful exuberance” she brings to work every day and her uncanny ability to stay calm under pressure.

First Job: Hostess at The Cutting Board

Off-the-Clock: I enjoy spending time with my fiancé and family, working on my personal photography skills and doing projects.

Morgan Rigsbee
Designer

Get some coffee in Morgan’s system, and there’s nothing she can’t do. She describes her job as three-fold. First, she’s a designer who creates room scenes and style boards as well as propping. Morgan also serves as a project manager, responds to client questions and makes sure the art department has what they need. And perhaps most integral to her day is her role as Studio DJ. Apparently, caffeine and music make her world go ’round. “I like indie rock, soulful blues, and folksy songs featuring mandolins,” she says. Self-described as goal-oriented, Morgan’s colleagues know never to tell her no.

First Job: Receptionist at a hair salon. “I hated having to do my hair for work.”

Favorite Lunch Spot: Rearn Thai. “I recommend the Karee Curry; it’s extra spicy!”

Jarel Kingsberry
CG Artist

Jarel’s unwavering ability to bring a smile to the faces of the PIX-US staff is almost as integral to the workday as his CG skills. His jokes and “shenanigans” bring a fresh splash of energy to the office. “Work can be stressful sometimes and having just a moment of silliness to break things up can be good for everyone!” he says. Dubbed the coolest CG artist to work with by his colleagues, Jarel also is appreciated for his positive attitude and the consistent quality of his work, particularly his 3D modeling skills. As a CG artist, he is often involved in modeling/texturing assets, lighting, and in some cases, animation.

First Job: Outdoor attendant at Celebration Station.

Off-the-Clock: “I love hanging out with friends. And, every now and then, I’ll get my guitar out and play a few licks.”

Wil Vaughn
Senior CGI Artist

There is more than one side to Wil’s work persona. When he’s at his desk, he can block out everything else and focus on work. Yet when he’s up stretching, he has fun bugging coworkers. But then there’s the green guy. His coworkers wouldn’t say he totally “Hulks out,” but when something he’s working on isn’t cooperating, Wil says he has a bit of an edge. He works closely with Jarel who appears not to notice Wil’s edgier side. “Wil has a great understanding of how things fit together and work in the real world, which translates directly into CG and pushes everything we do that much closer to realism,” Jarel says. “He loves to share his knowledge. When stuff needs to get done, you can’t break Wil’s will.”

First Job: “I started mowing grass at 8. After college, I was the lead visualizer at an architectural firm.”

Off-the-Clock: “Being a husband and father brings me the most joy outside of work.”

Julia Cox
Senior Designer

Julia Cox has a wealth of design knowledge. She has worked in residential, commercial, and kitchen and bath design. “But my love is studio design,” she says. While employed in High Point, Julia worked with physical sets, hired carpenters and other professionals, to get the right look. Now at PIX-US she does all of that with computer software, working closely with clients and CG artists, to create stunning imagery in line with client objectives.

First Job: Stringing tennis rackets at Sportline in Friendly Center back in the day

Off-the-Clock: “I spend time with friends and family, play cornhole, hike, and watch the Panthers and Tar Heels.”

Annie Ferguson
Marketing Director

Annie worked as an editor for Pace, a content marketing agency, before joining PIX-US. Some of the accounts she worked on at the agency include United Airlines, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Verizon and Walmart. Since Annie works remotely, the PIX-US office team hasn’t tired of seeing her face. “At least not yet,” says Creative Director Mark Wagoner “Truth be told we are super excited to have Annie on our the PIX-US team. She keeps us on track with big projects and the style guide.” Annie’s goal is to get the word out about the company’s services. “The PIX-US team offers CGI solutions not often found in this area of the country,” Annie says. “I want to make sure everyone knows about our work and appreciates the images from aesthetic and technical standpoints.”

First job: Waitress at La Dolce Vita in Spencer, N.C.

Off the Clock: “I enjoy spending time with family and friends, writing, reading and playing the piano.”

Steve Carnish
CGI Artist

Born and raised in North Carolina’s Randolph County, Steve Carnish worked at a major signage company before joining the PIX-US team. For years, Steve wanted to work as a full-time 3D modeler, and that’s exactly what he found as a CG Artist at PIX-US. “It was either that or go back to bartending full time,” he quips. Steve’s history as a quick study—he’s self-taught on all programs—was integral in his first few weeks with us.

First Job: At 15, Steve worked two summer jobs—one at a construction company and the other as a pressure washer of tractor trailer rigs.

Off-the-Clock: “I take motorcycle rides to the Boone area. I also cook, speak Portuguese and can mix a mean cocktail.”

Eileen Heilsnis
CG Artist

“Ultimately, I like creating pretty pictures,” says Eileen Heilsnis. “That’s what I left the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) looking for.” And we certainly think PIX-US is the perfect place for her to do just that. After growing up in Cary, N.C., studying in Georgia at SCAD and working as a development artist in Dallas, Eileen wanted to return to her home state to be closer to family.

First Job: In college, Eileen worked with other students on an animation explaining the purpose of NASA’s ICE-Sat 2 satellite.

Off-the-Clock: “I recently got back into gaming, and the PS4 is my No. 1 love. I also enjoy watching movies, hiking and exploring the outdoors.”