Here's an image I made in Carrara 5 and Photoshop. I was trying to get that Chris Foss look, which I think I managed to do quite well!
The ship was constructed and textured in Carrara, and the explosion was a fire object within Carrara that rendered at the same time as the ship.
The two small ships were lifted off the space scene directly below, which I did last year.
The background was done entirely in Photoshop, where all the final compositing was done.