Software packages capable of simulating complex optical systems have the power to shorten the design process for non-imaging illumination, projection display, and other imaging illumination systems, Breault Research Organization's Advanced Systems Analysis Program (ASAP) and Robert McNeel and Associates' Rhinoceros computer aided design software, together, allow complicated optical systems to be simulated and analyzed. Through the use of Rhinoceros, an optical system can be accurately modeled in a 3D design environment. ASAP is then used to assign optical properties to the Rhinoceros CAD model. After the optical system has been characterized, it can be analyzed and optimized, by way of features specific to the ASAP optical analysis engine. Using this simulation technique, an HID arc source manufactured by Ushio America, Inc. is accurately represented. 2D CCD images are gathered for the source's emitting-volume across its spectral bandwidth. The images are processed within ASAP, via the inverse Abel command, to produce a 3D emitting-volume. This emitting-volume is combined with an accurate model of the source geometry and its optical properties, to finalize a functioning virtual source model. The characterized source is then joined with a simulated optical system for detailed performance analysis: namely, a projection display system.