I currently use some Adobe software like Illustrator. I've just come across some pictures and picked this to ask, what software would they use to create pictures like these?

enter image description here

  • tbh I only know about Illustrator, I'm a few months into learning about the software. Thanks for the exhaustive list - looks like a lifetime of learning ahead.
    – Dan
    Jun 27, 2020 at 20:12
  • Trick is not so much to learn the ultimate software but know enough to go straight from "how do i do this" to "maybe this could work". It does not really matter what tool you give a competent artist, given enough time yhey could do it with nearly anything... Notepad? Sure no problem.
    – joojaa
    Jun 28, 2020 at 8:41
  • It’s a real struggle. I’m now left with mountains of knowledge to pickup. And hello like this just shows how little I know. Just downloaded Blender. Have now turned off my PC due to the overload of info from the tools :)
    – Dan
    Jun 28, 2020 at 8:43
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    @Dan Yes, real 3D software is extremely complex. You could take the complexity of 2D software like Illustrator, and multiply it by a factor of 3 or more. I agree it seems totally overwhelming. As for learning Blender, I am by no means an expert, I only dabble, but it is possible to learn it. There are some excellent tutorials on youtube. There's also a Blender Stack Exchange if you get stuck.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 28, 2020 at 13:41
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    Since everything you look on a screen is ultimately made of pixels, anything can be used... This could be done in either Illustrator or Photoshop or a 3D package, it all depends on how much knowledge you have on either software.
    – Luciano
    Jun 29, 2020 at 9:03

1 Answer 1


I guess you should give some preferences what you can accept. A competent painter doesn't need any software, only brushes, canvas and colors. Some Matryoshka generator which accepts wide enough settings could be recommended. Advanced 3D artistic design programs such as Blender, Maya etc... and CAD programs with realistic rendering can be used if you can get the surface texture images and the background.

Believe or not, even Illustrator's 3D effect revolve could be used if you can get the needed images:

enter image description here

I haven't the needed images. I took from wikipedia a well made equirectangular planar map which bends perfectly on the half-globe in the art mapping dialog:

enter image description here

You need an image for every visible surface. The outer glow of the hottest piece can be inserted separately as an effect.

As you see the shading is not perfect, all parts seem to have their individual lights, parts don't make shadows on other parts. Applying the revolve effect at the same time to all parts didn't help.

High end 3D software gives more possibilities for getting the lights and shadows right automatically. There the shadow caused by one part onto another is taken into the account with zero effort.

The image from illustrator can be pasted to Photoshop for manual shading.

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