Juno Mission – Digital Illustration

Juno Mission

On July 4th the Juno spacecraft will transition from space flight to orbit. After five years in space and approaching Jupiter at a mind boggling speed of 165,000 mph. The spacecraft will fire it’s thrusters, putting it in a wide polar orbit. The first two orbits will take over a hundred days to complete. Juno also has the distinction of being the farthest spacecraft to use solar power. The polar orbit will keep the spacecraft oriented to the sun. Juno’s suite of instruments will provide a wealth of information about Jupiter’s magnetic field, auroras, composition and atmosphere.

Juno over the Great Red Spot

Juno over the Great Red Spot

The Juno model was built and rendered in Lightwave 3D. The thermal blankets (foil) was modeled in Sculprtis. Image enhancements in Photoshop. Prints and merchandise can be purchased here.

Juno Mission

Enhanced Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft – Digital Illustration

Enhanced Cygnus Spacecraft by Orbital ATK

Enhanced Cygnus Spacecraft by Orbital ATK

Enhanced Cygnus Spacecraft

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft that has been making regular deliveries of cargo to the International Space Station. Orbital ATK and it’s partners, have upgraded the Cygnus from 2000 kg of cargo to 3,200 kg in it’s pressurized cargo module. The rectangular accordion solar panels have been replaced by the lighter Ultraflex solar arrays. You can view my illustration of the previous version here

The background is drawn or painted on the Apple iPad using the Sketchbook Pro app and the Apple Pencil. The foreground is modeled and rendered in Lightwave 3d. Photoshop was used to create some texture maps.

cygnus-enhanced cargo spacecraft

Introducing the BB-Series – Animation

Introducing the BB Series from Raymond Cassel on Vimeo.

I wanted to create a project that uses the physics engine within Lightwave 3D the program I use for my illustrations. I was inspired by the droid in the recent Star Wars movie. I thought I could use the physics engine to animate the ball moving along a rugged terrain then animate the head on top of it. I used a modelling program, Sculptris by Pixologic to create a terrain model. I tilted the model, dropped the ball over a set number of frames which created the rolling animation. The program calculated the collision of the ball and the terrain and created a path for the animation. The head is keyframed to match the position of the rolling ball. The sequence is about ten seconds.

I decided to create a couple additional sequences to make a 30 second video introducing the BB-droid in the Star Wars universe. Imagining the company that makes the R2 droids now had to show off their latest model. This was a fun little project that taught me some new skills. I hope you enjoy it.

This project is NOT affiliated with Disney or Lucasfilm.

AEAC SunFlyer – Updated Product Illustration


Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation (AEAC) continues to make progress on their aircraft design. These updates needed to be reflected in the product illustrations that I had created for them. My previous work can be seen here. The most noticeable change can be seen in the canopy. This updated design allows for better and safer egress of the cockpit. A more efficient, less noisy propeller was added and more rugged landing gear. The fidelity of the cockpit has improved as well. I created illustrations in vertical and horizontal formats to easily fit in various publications. This artwork is used on their website and posters for events. Learn more about AEAC by clicking here.

Sun-Flyer-PreVisualization from Raymond Cassel on Vimeo.

Farewell Pluto


The New Horizons spacecraft has flown past Pluto and it’s moons. Oriented so that it’s instruments capture data as the system of moons and Pluto become silhouetted by the sun. There is a subtle glow as Pluto looses it’s nitrogen atmosphere to the solar wind. This image created with Lightwave, Sculptris, Sketchbook Pro and Photoshop.

Pluto and New Horizons

close to Pluto
Today the New Horizons spacecraft passed by the dwarf planet Pluto at a distance of about 7,000 miles. While the New Horizons team did receive the signal that all systems are fine, the data and images will take some time to get back to Earth. I have created this image based on the images that we have seen so far. The Pluto surface was painted on the iPad using Sketchbook Pro and composited with 3-D models that were built and rendered in Lightwave.

This image is available as a print on Redbubble.