I am a book cover designer and I was looking for some inspiration. And then I stumbled upon this piece of artwork.

enter image description here

I am pretty good at photoshop but I don't think it's made using the PS. Can someone tell me which kind of software might have been used to create this artwork?

  • 4
    There is really no reason why it could not be made in photoshop. But then it could have neen made with any number of software. The only way to be sure is to ask the artist – joojaa Jan 13 at 14:48
  • I would also like to know why you want to know the software? Its very unlikely that knowing it makes you any more likely to be able to do it if you allready dont. – joojaa Jan 13 at 17:14
  • Can you look at a steak and know what size or type of pan it was fried in??? It is not possible to definitively state what is used to create any image merely by looking at the image. All anyone can do is guess. – Scott Jan 13 at 17:30
  • Why not ask the artist herself? She’d be much better equipped than people who’ve never seen the artwork before. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 13 at 21:30

Probably at least 90% 3D work and possibly the rest Photoshop.

But who knows ? Here's a story about a man painting in Excel — that's also a masterpiece in its own way. The problem with masterpieces is, you need to be a master in something to be able to create masterpieces, or have a team of specialized masters.


Good candidates are any sort of 3D modelling software, that allows for modelling things like the snake in this cover design; a big plus if the software allows for light sources. The snake could be specifically modelled to fit the design or the snake could be a third party's design, remodelled and shaped to fit the design.

The following list might provide a few starting points for 3d modelling software, which are neither landscape nor architecture-specific.

Further, the ornaments could be part of the 3d modelling efforts, but they might also be created in Photoshop, as well as that there is a very real, very likely possibility that the whole design has been realised in Photoshop, ignoring any and all of the following pieces of software. Artists have a long history of knowing exactly what they are doing to achieve a specfic design.

Autodesk Maya
Autodesk Mudbox
Cinema 4D
Autodesk 3DSMax
DAZ Studio


IMHO, it’s a mix of 2D and 3D.


I would say only the snake/dragon is 3D modeled. since it is complex and has a pretty convincing shadow and lightning on every scale.

Maybe it was a real photo, then modified.

My argument is based on the fact that the depth between the snake and the letters seems very fake, they look like they are on the same plane. Which in a real 3D world would not be the case, they occupy the space between various planes.


All the other stuff is probably composited in 2D because it looks like textures on top of textures, and like other answers say, there is no reason why this couldn’t be done in Photoshop or any other photo editing software.

I may assume the logo/title was made on a Vector based software and then artistically modified on a pixel based software.


The artist knows what he used, we do not.

But Photoshop offers plenty of tools to make it without setting every pixel separately. Curves can be drawn maybe a little easier in Illustrator, but one can paste them to Photoshop. Textures can be imported as images and the snake can originally be a well crafted photo or a rendered 3D sculpt. High quality stuff can be purchased - I guess layout artists do not have time for such highly detailed tinkering to get a single object.

Here's a tiny sample of Photoshop's possibilities to insert much details with little effort. Let's have a shape drawn with the Pen (sorry for it's puny look, the artist has been 1000% more accurate with his curves):

enter image description here

It's colored and layer style Bevel&Emboss is inserted. Now it resembles metal:

enter image description here

Nobody guarantees the artist has used tricks this simple. A capable painter could insert lights and shadows manually.

Why I have not published as fine works? Should it be in contradiction with the fact that I have now and hundreds of times before this claimed I know a way to draw something?

No contradiction. Simply I'm not able to imagine anything as fine.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.