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.”
The PIX-US family is growing! We have three new team members, and this week we’re shining the spotlight on Julia Cox, our new senior designer. Julia is a veteran of the design business, having worked in residential, kitchen and bath, and commercial design sectors. She has spent much of her professional career working in studio photography, something that’s very close to her heart and ours.
While employed in High Point’s studio industry, Julia worked with physical sets, oversaw 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. “Now instead of meeting with painters and carpenters in a brick-and-mortar studio, I meet with our CG artists,” she says.
A graduate of Salem College’s interior design program, Julia wasn’t looking for a new job when we began recruiting her, but after “a three-hour meeting that felt like five minutes,” she was hooked! During her first few weeks at PIX-US, Julia has been learning a lot from the team and vice versa, thanks to her 16 years behind the camera, which promises to be instrumental in creating stunning photorealistic imagery.
In her spare time, Julia enjoys time with friends and family, watching the Carolina Panthers and the Tar Heels, playing cornhole, hiking and listening to music....
It was an exciting week at PIX-US when Danny Austin from Set Visions, our partner in the U.K., visited Greensboro to help refine our workflow. “It’s been absolutely fantastic and the results have been way better than I had hoped,” says Danny. “Each person approaches their work in a different way, so I sat with everyone individually to get to where we want to be with our production process.” The aim of the changes is to allow staff members more time and mental space for creativity and getting the job done right.
It’s all about organizing the program to do what you want it to do, Danny explained. “You can’t just copy and paste what someone else is doing. You can learn from others, but you still need your own brain. You can know the software inside and out and still create bad work, or you can make it work for you knowing a fraction of the program and still create outstanding 3D images.”
Danny was impressed with how quickly the staff absorbed the ideas. The team spent time bonding at various local restaurants including Natty Greene’s, Lucky 32 and Big Burger Spot. “I really enjoyed the Roots music at Lucky 32, and I had the best burger of my life at Big Burger Spot!” he said.
On Wednesday, PIX-US took Danny out to the ballgame, where the Greensboro Grasshoppers took on the Greenville Drive. “I am a fan of the sport,” he says. “I figured it’s much like cricket in that there’s plenty of beer and good friends.” By the end of the week everyone wished Danny could stay longer. Cheers!