As you can see I've been playing with some 3D software. It came with some freebies, just enough to allow you to experiment. In the pictures below you can see subtle differences between the photo. The only thing I did was adjust the lighting and reposition the camera. The characters and their environment are truly 3-dimensional. You can rotate the camera(s) around them and get a view of every side.
If you're interested, you can download the software for free at Daz Productions. You should also be able to find a few freebies sprinkled throughout the site.
I'm seriously considering joining their Platinum Club. For a small monthly fee, you can buy packages for the software program at a discounted rate. Since I really like the idea of being able to create my own book covers for short stories and novels alike, I'm very tempted indeed.