Nature: Mock Cover

A mock cover created for an assignment in Biomedical Communications. This illustration demonstrates biologically mediated carbonate precipitation at a magnified scale. The image was constructed using Maxon's Cinema 4D and colour, grading, and lighting effects were added with Adobe Photoshop CC.

Date: April 2017

Supervisor: Nick Woolridge | Biomedical Communications

Audience: Scientific


Adobe Photoshop

MAXON Cinema4D

Development Process

Planning and Layout

Since this project was inspired by my previous experience and knowledge working with the Pavilion Lake Research Project, I did not have to do any research to understand the science. However, I did consult some magazine and journal covers (ie: Nature, Scientific American, Cell, etc.) for inspiration and to understand the kind of material that was appropriate for a front cover.


I came up with four original ideas for the front cover, and after consulting with my peers, I decided to go with the second option.

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Once the general elements were rendered, I brought the illustration into Adobe Photoshop and edited the photo. My edits included adding light sources, improving shading, adding the footprint in the carbonate molecule, and placing text to create an authentic Nature mock cover.

Time to go Photoshopping
Designing in the Third Dimension

I created the 3D illustration in Cinema4D. I used splines and MoGraph cloner tool to create the cyanobacterial filaments. The microbialite surface was created with a large sphere and surface displacement. Ambient carbonate was also made with the MoGraph cloner tool. I went through a few versions since I was not happy with my first attempts.

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The final cover represents the process of carbonate precipitating within a microbial community. The hero poster format works well since it celebrates the importance of studying carbonate - to understand the creation of biosignatures on Earth and how they may hold up in our investigation of life beyond our solar system.

© 2018 by Mark Belan.