If you’re a developer or web artist wanting to edit or resize multiple images, then you know how tedious and time consuming the process can be. Whether you’re spending extra time in Photoshop tweaking the details of hundreds of images or writing and then running necessary scripts for a batch process, you’re most likely wondering why there isn’t a more efficient way to do this. Andrea Livingston of startup Grit Design, Inc and her five co-founders wondered the same thing and came up with a fantastic solution: sizzlepig.
It’s a cloud-based digital production tool by which users have an entirely robust cloud based application in which they can batch process images. Since it’s cloud-based and linked as an application to Dropbox, it’s very fast and all editing is available for viewing after a few moments. Being linked to Dropbox also allows for any images added to the Dropbox folder to automatically have applied to them the same edits that were implemented in sizzlepig initially.
The sizzlepig site says that using it, “will change your day,” and really, that’s no lie. If a regular task of yours is editing images to multiple sizes, crops, scales, or compressions, than sizzlepig is your game. Users creates projects and “blueprints” which are how users designate what edits they need done to their images before processing the edits.
The newest feature includes the ability to automatically 2x an image for responsive batch processing. In other words, if a user needs images for a responsive design, then they can click the “2x” box and their images will appear in the intended size in addition to two times the size to support their responsive requirements. Excellent.
Limited Time Beta Pricing:
- Pay As You Go – 10 cents per image
- Basic – 800 images at $10 per month
- Pro – 2500 images at $30 per month
- Sizzlin’ – 15000 images at $75 per month
There’s even a yearly plan for which users receive additional savings and sizzlepig has no file size limits. That means those large digital camera image files are fair game and ready to be sizzlepigged. Overall, it’s a very well thought out browser based application for batch editing images and I truly believe it’s game changer. Luckily, I got an opportunity to speak with cofounder Andrea Livingston about sizzlepig, Detroit rock city, and how she and her cofounders launched sizzlepig. Here’s what she shared with me:
Tell me about your technology and entrepreneurial experience and how it led you to launching sizzlepig.
Most of us came from Global Ad Agencies with offices in Detroit and Chicago. We all entered digital before it was considered “a must” in marketing or advertising, it was pretty much a second thought at our offices for the first few years of our careers. To put it mildly, in the beginning, we had to scrap for each piece of business to fund our teams and were constantly scrutinized and valued less than the TV, direct mail or print teams.
We were all a little feisty by nature, but had to really tap into that trait to survive. Our teams were like small businesses, just under a larger company umbrella. We all came from true ‘roll up your sleeve’ places in our careers and have had excellent mentors along the way.
When we started Grit a little less than four years ago, (name selected because we see ourselves as determined, not fancy, work hard kind of team) we began building sites, software, advertising and apps for Clients. We’ve been successful working for Clients. We also have been frustrated with the tools available to do our work as efficiently and with the quality we like to see.
sizzlepig is a result of that frustration. We were building an e-commerce site with hundreds of product images and used scripts to resize each one in 5 sizes, then had to manually fine-tune and crop. The Client often wanted changes (as they had every right to do) either in the design and image sizes or in retouching of individual images and that led to crazy amounts of re-work, both in running new scripts and in manually resizing any retouched images.
We know Photoshop very well. We can write batch processing scripts with the best of them, but the fact that you can’t see your results until the whole batch has finished drove us nuts. On top of that, the rework time seemed so wasteful.
We wanted a tool that wouldn’t need scripts and would make the edits simpler. A tool that would let us control how each image looked before it was processed, instead of letting our mac run a script (and freeze up photoshop) while we waited in the dark. And we wanted to not have to create the same set of resizes over and over again while the client decided if they wanted a black, red, or blue car in the image.
As there are a number of ways to process images online, what makes sizzlepig more practical than the competition?
Right, there are. And they aren’t doing what we wanted and what those people searching on Google and Twitter want (average 5 million searches a month looking for help with batch image resizing). Now, there are some good tools, and there are scripts, but again, not doing the same thing and not solving the end goal of creative control and efficiency – you can have both. That’s a new message. You don’t have to settle for mass manufacturing. Most just don’t know that. We wanted our creative team to have complete control over each image, yet, spend more time on design and less time in production.
A good way to look at the other tools is to look at mass manufacturing. This method takes specs, applies to materials and spits out the results – not really letting the customer see how it’s going to look until the end. This model is sufficient to many, and the only way they know, but not to us.
We also wanted something that could be accessible from anywhere and not software or script reliant.
sizzlepig takes processing to the level that we wanted – to have custom made images, in every size, but in far less time. sizzlepig really embraces the power of the cloud for it’s processing speed and its’ abilities to instantly update and edit any images that have been put in a project folder – replacing all on the fly. We sync directly with a customer’s private or public Dropbox, making it easy for them to keep track of all their files and updates to their images happen even when they are not online.
Imagine sitting with a Client or an Account team and reviewing 400 images and in various sizes on your iPad – and fine-tuning or cropping in that meeting for final approval. sizzlepig allows this. It is much more than a batch image processor.
What problem is sizzlepig addressing and what’s the extent of the sizzlepig startup vision?
Wasted time and effort and lack of creative control. By giving the ability to visually control the sizes, fine-tunes, crops and compressions of an endless number of images in an endless number of sizes, quickly have them accessible from anywhere (via our Dropbox integration), we are solving the current challenge of blind and complicated batch to batch image resizing. sizzlepig v1 is just the beginning.
Teams working on responsive design, retail and ecommerce sites, email assets and dynamic content delivery, content management sites, digital media and virtually anyone needing to create and serve static digital assets will benefit from using sizzlepig. Small businesses without a creative team can benefit from sizzlepig by taking one product image and instantly sizing and fine-tuning for each distribution channel, saving countless hours.
We are out to solve the image resizing dilemma for all. sizzlepig is the first of our tools to launch to help the creative and developer teams around the world use the processing power of the cloud to become more efficient and have more control – and to do so quickly. We’ve had over 74 countries in the site in the first week.
How important is the work environment, company culture, and management style at sizzlepig? Are these factors you cultivate actively as a founder?
These are the only factors that matter. You can’t create a culture, it is present on day one. A great team cannot be bought and can not be made from scratch. We’ve known most of our team members for at least 10 years and they are what comprise who we are. We are very fluid in how we work and every one has an opinion that is equally valued – and we don’t say that for the sake of saying it. One thing we don’t appreciate are those trying to work a ladder – there is no ladder at Grit.
As a founder, how would you describe your management style?
Our management style is team based. Sure, we have to make hard calls in terms of finances and administrative elements, but, when you have a team that is about creating great services and products and who are passionate, responsible adults, management isn’t really required.
Tell me about your attitude and approach as a founder when it comes to leading a new company towards your ideals through obstacles.
We only think in terms of how we could do better with our offerings, how to create more value for our customers. Everyone here gets that – it’s in their DNA. I feel confidant in knowing that our team realizes any monetary benefit to Grit will come their way, but that’s not what gets us out of bed each morning. Our driving force is feeling good about what we are providing and always knowing we can make it better.
As a leader, how do you go about getting the best from your sizzlepig team?
Our team brings that to the table every day on their own. Natural passion and work ethic are part of everyone here.
How would you describe the startup culture in Detroit?
There are definitely a lot of passionate people who thrive knowing that others will be successful, and in turn, will make Detroit successful. There are a lot of resources in Detroit to help with services and guidance and many have been taking advantage of those offerings. It is an exciting area, and you really get to feel like you are building something from the ground up here.
What do you feel Detroit has going for it in terms of its startup infrastructure?
Detroit has a low point of entry as far as infrastructure and a solid stream of skilled creatives and developers. The College for Creative Studies is downtown and their graduates are top of the line in graphic design, illustration and more. In general, people from this region like to help each other and are more than willing to come over to collaborate. People from this area know how to work hard and know what it means to be scrappy, we’ve always had to prove ourselves and like to delightfully surprise.
How do you see sizzlepig evolving in the immediate future?
We see a lot of growth potential in terms of the service and it’s offerings and how it can be applied to different Industries. sizzlepig will be especially helpful to those right now working on images for responsive design. In the immediate future, we will continue to add in the features that were stripped out for launch to get the product to market.
What adjustments have you had to make with sizzlepig that you didn’t anticipate making initially?
Tons. We are very much a pivot based group so we are changing and adding things regularly based on feedback. One thing we have said all along is we didn’t want to create some hard spec that would drive all of our decisions. We like to learn every day and be adaptable.
I’ve not been to Detroit but if I only had 72 hours to spend there, where should I go and what should I do?
Detroit is a great city. Detroit is rich with history and wrought with culture. If sports are your thing and the season is right, check out Ford Field or Comerica Park to see the Lions or Tigers. If you enjoy art, stop in at the Detroit Institute of Arts, they have an impressive collection. There are many great restaurants and bars if you want to enjoy a meal or some nightlife… Slows Bar BQ and Vincente’s Cuban Cuisine are some of our favorite place to eat at lunch.
If you are up for something quite different, go to the Cadieux Café, it’s a Belgian feather bowling joint and it may be the only place in US like it. For some music and entertainment, try the Detroit Opera House, the Fox Theater or the Fillmore for big shows and for a smaller venue, check out the Majestic (the building is amazing). If you like Indie Rock try The Lager House, and of course, for Indie Pop, go to The Old Miami. The Heidelberg Project, quite unique to Detroit, is Tyree Guyton’s open air urban art project. The possibilities are endless in this city!
What else would you like to share with our readers about yourself or sizzlepig?
This is not only new, this is the new way for image production. Once it is tried, it will bring an ‘aha’ moment to those that didn’t think they really had an issue. We are incredibly excited about sizzlepig and the endless possibilities that this service can provide. This isn’t simply an alternative to scripts or other tools, this is whole new wave of digital creation.
It’s time once again to get out of the comfort zone with the tool set on your desktop and explore the power of the cloud and the new tools like sizzlepig and see how your day can change.
How can our readers get in touch with you?
We would love to hear feedback on sizzlepig and thoughts on how we could make their lives better in creative and development. Please reach out to us at contact [at] grit-design [dot] com for site inquiries and andrea [at] grit-design [dot] com (for business inquiries), @gritdesign, or @sizzlepig. And, thank-you KillerStartups for the discussion.
If you need to edit or resize multiple images, be sure to stop by sizzlepig.com.
sizzlepig | Andrea Livingston