How do I make thumbnails like these?

I like the art style used in these thumbnails:

How do people make stuff like those? It seems like its being rendered in some external program or something. I’ve used Blender before to make these:

but they don’t feel the same.

I use and have no money to spend on Photoshop or anything fancy like that. I just want an idea of how they get their images to look so… crisp. And satisfying.



Those are renders you can make in either cinema 4d or blender. Blender is free.

I literally put two examples up of stuff I’ve made in Blender that I feel don’t look as good as those. I’d love some guidance into how they would have made them.

For me cinema 4d is easier to use but blender is more powerful and you get some really good, crisp, HD 1080p images. If you know how to use it, there are many tutorials on YouTube that teach you


Those renders are usually made in blender or c4d, both can get you that quality. I’m sure someone here that uses blender can teach you. It’s all about good lighting and effects that make the thumbnail so good.


It doesnt really matter about what program you use to render. The thumbnails you showed are made by experienced designer that use photoshop really well. If you start getting into more photoshop work, you can get the same quality.

But what is it that they do in photoshop that makes them look so good?

A lot of them use the paint tool or use light flares, overlays, etc. They also use stocks to add in different effects.
Many people also photo minip some of the renders into an image. You can search up some tutorials on how to photo minip. Its pretty easy to learn


that helps tremendously, thanks

No problem. If you ever need more help, just reply back or send a direct message. :slight_smile:

Like yourself I don’t have much money to dish out on software. Paint Net is my best friend and you can get some really great results.

It takes time to train your eye as to know what an image needs, but you can only do this when you know what tools are available to you.

I would suggest one day, just throw in a random image or a couple of different coloured shapes, and take some time going through the short list of effects, gradient and blending tools in Paint Net.

By far - Gradients, Layers and Blending Modes (sometimes called Overlays) are what you want to be using for effects more than anything.
This is the logo I made for my latest project:

It has about 3 gradients, 2 of which are duplicates that have different blending modes applied to them, but there’s a nice constrast between light and dark - but there isn’t too much dark as to not make out anything.

You’ll notice that the text stands out like a sore-thumb as well. Limiting your colour palette is good if you want to make something pop.

Here are some other images I made in Paint Net.

I’m sure there’d be a few more things you could do with Photoshop or Illustrator, but Paint Net is pretty


there also is something called pixlr its a browser photo editor it seems like PS, i used it a bit before i got a copy of PS cs6


It is like laggy for the browser or do you download it? Not sure what you mean by Browser Photo Editor?

1 Like

in a internet browser and yeah it can be laggy depending on speeds I guess, I don’t recommend it that much but if ones really needing something it works ok

If you have some money…


I’m extremely experienced with pdn, but yet I never thought about some of the stuff you pointed out. I really appreciate it, thanks!

That color pallete thing will help a lot.