Author: Mark Wagoner

Sew Happy

Our images are stunning and unique because of the people behind them. Contributions often come from areas of expertise that may not be directly related to CG imaging, such as cooking—or in Mandy Powers’ case, fabric and textiles. “I love building things, making things out of nothing, doing stuff with my hands. Sewing from a pattern is very soothing for me,” she says. Mandy, who has sewed since she was little, uses her mom’s old Kenmore machine to make clothes, curtains, craft projects and Halloween costumes for her kids, including a dog, frog, witch, princess, pirate, storm trooper, grim reaper, zombie, and Wonder Woman. A bit of a Wonder Woman herself, Mandy's other skills include knitting, designing knitwear and spinning her own yarn. And if that weren’t impressive enough, she’s even published a book of knitting patterns and sells her patterns on Ravelry.com. As project manager at PIX-US, Mandy oversees our process from idea to image. Even though her job focuses on logistics, she draws on her life experience in fabric and textiles to make significant contributions to aesthetics. “When I review PIX-US images in production, I can quickly spot mistakes with textiles that wouldn’t be obvious to the average viewer,” Mandy says. “For instance, I can tell what material should or shouldn’t be used to upholster a sofa or chair. And if you’ve never knitted your own sweater, then you might not understand the qualities, drape and construction of knitted material.” Out of habit, Mandy’s eyes dart directly to any textiles in our images. “Because we’re a small team, we all give our input,” she says. “When I’m able to give input on a fabric-related item, it helps production.” ...

Design Trends: Maximalism

Minimalism has dominated the modern design world for far too long. For years, designers have adopted the ideals of elegance and simplicity.  We’ve lived in the era of social media, embracing the Apple aesthetic, Helvetica font, and white walls. But whatever happened to bright colors, bold patterns, and your good old fashioned knick-knacks? If Marie Kondo’s “less is more” mentality is your idea of creative expression hell, you aren’t alone. There is a shift in desire to create spaces that don’t attempt to show the Instagram-worthy, picture-perfect environment. Many designers have been restless for change, and ready to take risks by welcoming the messy world of color, pattern, and texture. Less is a bore, more is more. Maximalism, while being the complete opposite of minimalist design, doesn’t necessarily imply clutter or that you’ll eventually end up on an episode of Hoarders. Maximalism is the idea of excess, luxury, and individuality. In an age where the internet has us communicating in all-caps, LOLs, and emojis, it’s no surprise that our sense of style has evolved to become just as hyperbolic. The trend is particularly taking hold in the interior design world, where we’re starting to see more bold upholsteries, elaborate patterns and embellishments. I myself am a big fan of the maximalist lifestyle, boasting mismatched furniture, numerous artworks created by friends, and countless candles that dominate my home. Whenever I am entertaining, visitors always comment on the surplus of doodads to look at, variety of soft blankets and pillows, and the overall cozy nature of the space. If I'd decorated in a minimalist style, there would be far fewer conversation pieces.   Here are five ways to release your inner maximalist:     I. ENERGETIC COLORS: Forget about those stark white walls, and embrace a bold and vibrant hue. While minimalism uses pops of bold colors here and there, maximalism embraces the use of color.         II. BOLD PATTERNS: From the window to the wall, pattern can play a role anywhere in the room, but the layering of pattern on pattern may seem easier said than done. Pattern can seem overwhelming at first, so try starting small by incorporating some patterned throw pillows. Embrace the...

PIX-US Welcomes Eileen Heilsnis

A 2015 college graduate, Eileen Heilsnis joins us from Dallas, where she was working as a junior look development artist. “Ultimately, I like creating pretty pictures,” says Eileen. “That’s what I left the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) looking for.” And she’s found it at PIX-US, which is also close enough to her family for weekend visits. While at SCAD, where she majored in visual effects, Eileen worked on a video for NASA with other students in a collaborative learning center. They created a short animation with graphics explaining the purpose of NASA's ICE-Sat 2 satellite. When her mind wasn’t on the stars, Eileen took advantage of historic Savannah. “The town itself is very picturesque 100-year-old oaks and Spanish moss hanging down,” she says. “Our classes were spread all across town by the river or the railroad tracks. The college bought historic houses and turned them into classrooms.” Eileen has enjoyed her first few weeks at PIX-US where she gets to use her lighting, texturing and modeling skills. “Just because I majored in visual effects, doesn’t mean I do explosions or blow things up,” she quips. “There are many disciplines.” In her spare time, Eileen plays video games, watches movies, hikes and explores the outdoors....

Doughnut Dynasty at PIX-US

One cold, January day PIX-US partner Mark called up his marketing guru—that’s me, Annie—and started (without saying hello) reading some very familiar words. “Hey,” I said. “How do you have that? It’s not going to be published until February.” Mark just kept reading. Then, since we have a solidly collegial rapport, I said, “I can’t tell if you’re making fun of me, if you really like it, or if you just want a doughnut.” Finally, Mark said that Andie Rose at O.Henry Magazine had asked him to photograph the cover story I wrote about the boom in Greensboro doughnuts shops—a doughnut renaissance if you will. We’d had a conversation about the magazine days before, but neither of us knew we’d been assigned to the same piece. I’d already involved a lot of my friends via Facebook asking for their favorite doughnuts and places to get them, inviting them to taste test with me. Clearly, Mark stopped following me, or he would’ve known the story was mine before looking for the byline midway through his first reading. Just saying. Once we finished laughing at ourselves, the team felt compelled to have our own taste test in the name of science—and photography—of course. Stewart’s obsession with apple fritters got the entire staff hooked, making them the official doughnut of PIX-US. One of the primary results from the test was that Rise, the new shop at Friendly Center, has the best fritters in town—“made with apples, not apple-pie filling.” You might say we were frittering our time away eating them. We bought three dozen doughnuts for the photo shoot, and clean up was a breeze. Somehow, by the end of it, nearly all of them had disappeared. Mmmmm. Donuts: Check out the full story in O.Henry Magazine....