ADRIFT ON FIRE – A vision turned into a DIGI reality

Portrait of Connecticut Artist, Judy Cotton

Bringing Elements to life from Dream
to Finished Production!

“The other side of water in Australia is fire, a constant bass note, tattooed on national consciousness.  Cotton remembers bush fires ringing the dark night, blackened gum leaves floating in the surf while huge clouds of smoke and fire threatened Sydney, fire so common it became familiar.”

-Judy Cotton

Both these elements influenced Cotton’s work as an artist. Our group of designers were able to help her achieve her vision and bring these Elements to life!

Our client approached Digi design group about the project in May of 2023 when her amazing piece “ADRIFT” is in it’s final year at the Lyman Allyn Museum. Her featured piece; ADRIFT which was just as hypnotizing to our designers as water is to our client. Cotton was now ready to add the other element that have been a strong influence in Cotton’s art. Markedly, our client requested we digitally recreate the boat ADRIFT in a night setting and adding the element of FIRE to “ADRIFT” to “ADRIFT ON FIRE“.

Our Client

The Visionary behind the project

She is an internationally recognized artist who has exhibited her work in over 38 solo shows and 60 plus group shows, at major galleries and museums in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and China. Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Phillips Gallery, the Lyman Allyn Museum, the Florence Griswold Museum, the National Gallery of Australia and numerous private collections.

Contributing Art for over 50 years!

From 1974 to 1993 Cotton was the New York Contributing Editor for Vogue Australia covering New York, the art world and travel.  She profiled a number of important cultural figures including Tennessee Williams and Oliver Sacks.  

Passionate about the environment and global warming Cotton addressed the issue at the Lyman Allyn Museum in 2018 with the Exhibition “Hidden Water” using both sculpture and painting to point out the nature of water and its uses, and that the polar ice cap of the Antarctic holding 90% of the planet’s ice is melting.

The Original Photo given to our group

Adrift, a boat made of driftwood inspired by Judy Cotton, assembled by Paul Mineau
Adrift, a boat made of driftwood inspired by Judy Cotton, assembled by Paul Mineau

Creating Fine Art in Adobe’s Photoshop

When we were approached, we were thrilled to have such an amazing idea and visionary for a client. ADRIFT had already been at the Lyman Allen Museum in Waterford, Connecticut since 2017. In 2023, Recently, it was announced that the art piece had completed it’s stay at the museum and would be taken off display for restoration outside the museum. The original vision was to set the driftwood boat on fire, but ultimately was deemed unsafe by officials and this led Cotton to contact our group to recreate the scene digitally at a high level for their upcoming exhibit at the New Alliance Art Gallery in Gateway College in New Haven Connecticut.

  • Change ADRIFT to night setting

  • Build & add flames and grass to fit night scene

  • Ensure flames do not overwhelm the boat.

  • Prepare Photo for 24×36 Inch print

The first step in this project was to mask the boat and begin digitally reproducing the Fire Elements that were requested. We eventually were able to add very roughly illustrated flames to allow for Cotton to visualize the amount of flames she requested on ADRIFT.

ADRIFT on FIRE in progress showing boat with flame renderings to visualize the depth and brightness of flames
  • Adobe Photoshop

  • Digitally reproduce fire (flames)

  • Design for 24 x 36 inches print

Secondly, our group researched and studied how flames reacted to driftwood and viewed other pictures of boats and driftwood on fire, and then began building flames with Adobe Photoshop’s flame builder. This process, along with Masking, color changing, adding a night sky and smoke, and changing the grass.

Our Approach to the Challenge

This project was both rewarding and fun to work. Cotton is a renowned artist in Connecticut whom our group was very excited to work with. Our group worked through the project by researching and developing a high level digital reproduction of ADRIFT set on FIRE at night. Our designers completed this project in Adobe Photoshop and used their expertise and knowledge of Photoshop’s Masking, Designing, Color Conversion, and Prepare-to-print projects. Our group came up with multiple rough drafts that were provided to Judy prior to her making her final selection which had two revisions prior to approval from Cotton. ADRIFT ON FIRE was displayed at the exhibit at the New Alliance Art Gallery in Gateway College in New Haven Connecticut.

Adrift on fire - a digital reproduction by Judy Cotton & Digi design group
Adrift on fire – a digital reproduction by Judy Cotton & Digi design group

The Benefits

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