View Full Version : Is 3D art too cliche for a cover?

03-24-2011, 06:58 AM
I was playing with an idea cover of my current WIP in a 3D program. Because I do not have a credit card, nor debit, and a completely empty paypal, I cannot afford to purchase pictures from the royalty free sites.
And many 'free' pictures could have been used over and over again.

But looking at covers here, no one seems to use 3D art for their covers. Is it cliche?

I understand that realistic images are best, but what about a beautifully rendered 3D image?

04-02-2011, 02:52 AM
Depends, probably, on how good an artist you are with the programs involved. I've used a few "digital" modeling programs to create some stunning covers (imnsho), but there are artists out there who can absolutely put me to shame.

In addition, it would probably be more appropriate, again imnsho, to use the term "digital" art as opposed to 3D art. The only truly 3D aspect of most digital art programs is the ability to revolve and view the models in 3 virtual dimensions. The renders, while quite amazingly detailed and having extraordinary apparent depth, are not truly 3D.

This seems especially important with true 3D screens beginning to appear where these model shots will still appear much flatter than a dynamic 3D background.

04-06-2011, 08:30 PM
Ah, thank you for your reply.

Note to self, I should call it digital art instead of 3D now that we have those televisions hehe.

I should post up the cover for critiquing.

Alessandra Kelley
04-14-2011, 11:39 PM
Posting it would probably help.

I don't think digital art is cliched, but I suspect it is harder to make beautiful digital art from scratch than to do a photography-based cover, which is the dominant type of cover these days. If you can do beautiful digital art, more power to you.

05-05-2011, 07:05 PM
I personally don't like the 3D style, but it depends on how well done they are. Particularly in POD I've seen covers that just don't capture my interest. However, I have seen art done in that style that looks really good.

I'd suggest posting the cover idea or examples. What type of book is it going to be?

05-05-2011, 07:48 PM
The majority of people just pose the dolls or map the topography and hit print. Good 3D art requires an awful lot more than that.

05-09-2011, 08:23 AM
I won't make any assumptions about the OP's skillset, especially in light of the quality of the avatar they are using.

3D rendering isn't cliche, quite the opposite. There are a number of situations in which 3D renderings would not only be acceptable, but desirable. Such as a story about someone who does that type of work for a living, or a gamer, or someone who spends too much time in Second Life (that was not a snarky comment about my ex, I swear).

Otherwise, the problem with 3D renderings is that (provided the artist is skilled and isn't just posing the dolls) they don't look like reality. They are too real. Perhaps if you take the final image and run it through some filters in Photoshop and abuse it a little so that it looks more real, it might work for a cover.

I'd like to see what you've come up with.


05-10-2011, 09:22 PM
Wiki Commons has many, many good quality images that you can use, particularly scans of expired-copyright art.


if you do not have a professional 3D artist at your disposal or if you do not do it for a living, I would not attempt it, unless you want it to look fake on purpose.

05-13-2011, 04:55 AM
Veinglory, Thank you.

Good digital art takes a lot of time. You have to create the model, get it just right, add in textures, get them just right, add in lighting and effects and get that just right, and then you have to set that beautifully-rendered model against just the right background at just the right angle with just the right lighting in order to obtain the effect you want.

It's not easy. It's time consuming and takes processing power, time, and tons of patience plus an "eye" to what you want to achieve.

Good digital art takes a lot of time.

Great digital art takes a lot of pure talent as an artist.

I can learn the programs and fiddle with the outcome, but there are people doingbdigital art that have that extra something more that separates an amateur fiddler from a master violinist.