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Holographic Disguise

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When a character uses a personal Hologram projector to disguise themselves. Often with no explanation of how they manage to keep it synced with their own body movements, especially if they are bigger or significantly smaller than the disguise.

Also covers instances of magic being used to project illusions, or uses of holograms as an Invisibility Cloak.

May involve Hard Light, often subject to Glamour Failure. See also Lie to the Beholder.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, Teana Lanster uses the Fake Silhouette spell to create multiple holographic copies of herself moving in different directions to hide her own movement. Since the copies are not perfect, she also distorts her own appearance to look like one of them.
  • In Psycho-Pass, this seems to be the most common choice of "clothing" for people in general. During an interview, Senguji, a cyborg, unnerves his interviewer by revealing his bionic eyes can easily see through them.
  • Wolf's Rain: The wolves use psychic illusions to pose as humans, but their bodies are physically unchanged.

    Comic Books 
  • Cleopatra in Space: To intimidate intruders, small orphanage owner Anna Mae has one of a large alien creature.
  • Deadpool: The titular character uses this to hide his scarred and tumor-infected face from the public.
  • Horizon: The protagonists (Coza, Zhia, Mariol, and Finn) all have clothes that project a holographic disguise over themselves, allowing them to pass off as humans.
  • In Jem and the Holograms (IDW), Jem is a hologram disguise over Jerrica Benton with a better reason — to prevent Jerrica from having super stage fright when in front of other people than her family.
  • Paperinik New Adventures has the A.I. named Two, who himself is a Projected Man. Being able to choose his own appearance, he has impersonated others in order to deceive on more than one occasion — including when he pretends to be his own artificial holographic twin.
  • In PS238, students who can't just change into normal clothes (because they're part-machine, or bright blue, or whatever) get image emitters to help them blend in with the oblivious above-ground muggles.
  • In The Private Eye, P.I.'s latest client enters wearing a "7000 dollar hologram job" in the form of a massive collar that gives her a holographic head of a tiger
  • Sins of Sinister: During Storm & The Brotherhood of Mutants, the team works with Mystique, thinking they can see through her shapeshifting. In the middle of a fight, super-speedster Loolo notices Mystique is flickering, and they learn a little too late Whiz-Kid is Mystique. The Mystique they've been dealing with was a hologram.
  • In The Super-Revenge of Lex Luthor, Luthor creates a device which projects a holographic disguise, but he uses it on Superman instead of himself to make people believe that his nemesis (whom he is gaslighting) has become a monster.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): After establishing the resistance group's experiments with captured holographic projectors, Wonder Woman uses one to disguise herself as the Emperor's advisor A'iir, who was captured by Diana's revolutionary group.
  • X-Men: Nightcrawler has an 'image inducer' to make him look human instead of demonic. Beast occasionally uses one as well, but mostly he likes the attention a bright blue furry humanoid gets. Other characters who've been on the team and can't pass for normal humans (such as Marrow and Stacy X) have also used them. And team members who don't have that issue will still sometimes make use of them in order to change what outfits they look like they're wearing (leading to a scene where Wolverine tried to do an Action Dress Rip on the Pimped-Out Dress he thought Storm was wearing, only to find out that it was just a hologram and she was actually wearing a far more practical outfit that he'd just ruined, to her annoyance).

    Fan Works 
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, Ringo wears a holoprojector in the Tipaan arc because he has to disguise himself as a G'heddi'onian, so he needs to lighten his skin and give himself a more appropriate face. (He also wears a voice changer.) Later in the same arc, Paul and John briefly wear cloaks that make them look like Svenjaya so they can travel into the Svenjaya tunnels without being stopped. It's explicitly noted that the cloaks make them look like existing Svenjaya who are laid up — the community is small enough to notice strangers among them — and their guide has to quickly explain to another tribesmember why a sick individual is suddenly walking around.
  • With Strings Attached: Paul's magical clothing illusion. At first, it was pretty fake-looking, but with practice, he got much better at making it seem reasonably normal. Even so, most people realize he's wearing an illusion. Which is not a problem, since he's only wearing it so that he doesn't appear naked all the time. He also gets use out of the illusion as an Invisibility Cloak.
  • Vow of Nudity: Disguise self is one of Haara's three spells, which she uses either to generate illusory clothes or disguise herself as another person or race.

    Films — Animated 
  • Mater gets a set of holographic disguises in Cars 2. Making an effective one is more complicated than originally thought because Mater's bumps and dents sometimes poke through the hologram.
  • LEGO DC Super Hero Girls: Super Villain High has Lena Luthor use a holographic covering to impersonate Principal Waller as well as disguise herself as Divide (a fake superheroine to encourage some of the less traditionally heroic students of Super Hero High into leaving their school) and Principal Taller (the nonexistent principal of Uber High, a rival school that's really a cover for Lena's latest plan).
  • Megamind: The eponymous supervillain uses a wristwatch-like device to create holographic disguises. It even allows him to become someone much shorter than his real self (Space Dad).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A variation in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Totenkopf appears as a giant floating holographic head before his room on his secret island, but the heroes immediately note something's off. That's because Totenkopf has been long dead. It was a prerecorded message.
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home: It appears that Quentin Beck rarely wears the full Mysterio costume; his "heroics" are done by a hologram he controls, and when he needs to interact with people, he just steps inside the hologram.
  • Total Recall (2012) has one used to disguise a person's head. Shame about the reliability.

  • Animorphs: Erek King and other Chee androids, combined with force fields.
  • The alien guests at Benny Summerfield's wedding in the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Happy Endings have these to avoid freaking out the good people of early 21st century Earth. This leads to complications as the four-foot-high alien gerbil disguised as a normal-height human woman has to try and explain that the extremely small bridesmaid dress is actually fine, thanks.
  • Drake Maijstral:
    • The darksuit used by allowed burglars when on the job is described as projecting a holographic "cloud of darkness". Very effective at night; not so much during the day.
    • In The Crown Jewels, the "Ronnie Romper" suits worn by Amalia Jensen's kidnappers are holographic. They make the two appear to be the same height, even though they're not, and move with their bodies, but don't allow for facial expressions — the fixed smile is mentioned as creeping people out.
  • In The Empress Game, Kayla and Isonde each have one of each other so that they can change places when it's time for Kayla to impersonate Isonde in fights. It takes a little work to get them right.
  • One of the first spells Aahz teaches Skeeve in Myth Adventures, as otherwise they'd really stick out in alternate dimensions.
  • Paradox: The Alliance has two versions. The "domino" is just a hologram and popular at parties, while "roquelaures" are exclusive to Fleet Intelligence and use a solidigraph that can be touched and alters the user's apparent mass and voice.
  • In The Pride of Parahumans, a bloodhound bounty hunter tries to lure Argentum in using a hologram to look like an attractive male fox. It doesn't disguise his scent, though.
  • In The Wheel of Time, magic can be used to create a hologram to change one's appearance. If the user is careless, bits of their real body or clothing may poke through the disguise. A more talented user can combine this with the trick for invisibility to make them look like someone smaller than themselves.
  • Xanth: Sorceress Iris does this in the first book to make herself appear young and attractive since her magical talent is Illusion.

    Live-Action TV 


  • Babylon 5: One such device is used in "The Gathering" by an alien attempting to assassinate the Vorlon ambassador Kosh and frame Commander Sinclair for it in the process.
  • Cowboy Bebop (2021):
    • In "Dog Star Swing", Spike and Jet are watching CCTV footage of Hakeem when they realize that he's Spiking the Camera to ensure that it has a good image of his face. Jet then realizes that he's using a Face Changer to alter his appearance — holographic technology used by sex workers to make them more appealing. They go to the Red Light District and activate a jammer so that Hakeem will return there to get his disguise fixed.
      Spike: [sees a young prostitute walking out with a customer turn into an old woman] He's in for a surprise.
    • In "Sad Clown A-Go-Go", Vicious plans to kill the leaders of The Syndicate by having his fellow capos Mao and Santiago hand him over as a Play-Along Prisoner, whereupon he will throw off his fake handcuffs and kill the Elders. They betray Vicious, and he's handed over gagged and in shackles — however, when Mao cuts off Vicious' head, she discovers that she's just killed Santiago, who was wearing a Face Changer. Vicious (wearing a Face Changer to make himself appear to be Santiago) knew that they would betray them, overpowered Santiago and swapped places, binding and gagging Santiago so that he wouldn't give the game away.
    • In "Supernova Symphony", Vicious kidnaps Jet's daughter and offers to swop her for Spike. Instead Spike and Jet try to Shoot the Hostage Taker only to find the bullets go straight through Vicious, as he and Kimmie are holograms transmitted from another location.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The End of Time", the Vinvocci use a device known as a "shimmer" to disguise themselves as normal humans.
    • In "The Time of the Doctor", the Doctor and Clara wear Perception Filter clothing so they can be naked as required by the Papal Mainframe without Clara getting embarrassed. It fails to achieve this, especially since only the two of them can see the clothes...
    • In "Time Heist", Saibra has a natural ability to mimic faces, bodies, and voices, but has a hologram generator to make sure her clothing looks like that of the original.
    • In "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror", the Skithra agents use these to appear human, looking like various people they've killed. It does not disguise their red eyes.
  • The Flash (2014): In the third season, we are introduced to technology from Earth-19 that allows H.R. Wells to disguise himself so that he can go out in public (since he looks just like the man who killed Barry's mother); he also makes it so that the team (and the viewers) can still recognize him. The disguises get used again later in the season, most notably when the Bad Future in which Iris is killed by the season's Big Bad is prevented by H.R. switching places with her and disguising themselves as each other.
  • Heroes: Candice from season 1 and early season 2 has the ability to cast illusions which make her appear different to people. In practice, it's the same basic ability as Voluntary Shapeshifting, but it's explicitly not that.
  • The Orville:
    • In "Krill", Captain Mercer and Lt. Malloy use holographic technology to disguise themselves as Krill in order to infiltrate a Krill warship. The devices are provided to them by Isaac, a member of the technologically advanced robotic Kaylon race. The holograms appear to be more than just visual, as when Mercer and Malloy get stuck in a doorway, you can hear the sound of two leather outfits rubbing against one another, implying either some kind of Hard Light or an auditory simulator.
    • When Claire and Isaac start dating, Isaac has the ship's simulator generate a human disguise, allowing his voice actor Mark Jackson to put on an appearance. Yaphit also briefly appears as his voice actor Norm Macdonald to hit on Claire.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In the episode "Skin Deep", a man steals his coworker's identity with a holographic disguise. The episode addresses the need to not move quickly, or else the hologram will flash and give the user away.
  • Star Trek has some episodes in which characters use holographic images to hide their identity when communicating with someone else via screen.
  • Stargate SG-1: In "Foothold" an unnamed and markedly non-human alien race uses holographic projectors to impersonate SGC personnel. Later in "Smoke and Mirros" a human assassin steals one of the salvaged projectors and uses it to frame Jack for murder.

TV Movies:

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Disguise self spell in Dungeons & Dragons.
  • In GURPS Ultra-Tech, the TL10/superscience holobelt projects an image that allows a person to disguise themselves as a tree or a large rock, or anything else bigger than they are. At the same tech level is the holo-distort belt, which blurs the wearer's face, as well as spoofing sensors. One tech level up is the clothing belt, which is able to create a hologram that follows the wearer's movements. It can be used to conceal the wearer's identity by programming it to cover the face but is too low-res to create a "realistic" disguise.
  • Mutant Future: A robot can have a Holo Screen device that projects a holographic image around it. The image can make the robot look like anything of roughly the same size, such as an outcropping of rock or an animal.
  • In the Paranoia adventure "The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues", one of the R&D gadgets in Mission 2 is the Autoresponse Imager. It creates holographic disguises around the wearer, such as a combot or Teela-O-MLY. When it malfunctions, it will create images like Peter Lorre (in black and white) and Wile E. Coyote.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Eldar use a variant as a form of camouflage. Their "holo-fields" don't bother to maintain a disguise over their bearers, but instead scatter light so that an Eldar grav-tank or Harlequin appears as a fast-moving swirl of colors that baffles enemy targeting systems, to say nothing of the naked eye.

    Video Games 
  • The Crystal Key has a small holographic projector, complete with an attached camera to create new disguises. You have to short it out in one puzzle to uncover a secret passage, and you can take the projector with you, later in the game.
  • Homeworld Cataclysm introduces Turanic Raider gunships with this ability, which the player's faction reverse-engineer and fit to Mimic suicide-ships. It's useful for a few campaign objectives but human opponents in multiplayer are less easily fooled than the AI even without the specific tech to counter it.
  • The Journeyman Project 3 has the Chameleon suit, time machine, and holographic disguise. The game prevents you from interacting with people while wearing their disguise, except with the pilgrim in The Shangri-La, who simply assumes that you're a spirit. The pilgrim actually turns out to be one of the Sosiqui.
  • Mofang technology in Obduction is capable of this along with general holographic projections. As it turns out, though, the projection still retains an all-over red shimmer, and this is even before the disguise-ee has a chance to fail at mimicking voice patterns.
  • In The Outer Worlds, the Holographic Shroud uses an ID cart to project a full-body hologram that changes your whole appearance to match another person's, including their biometric data, and even comes with a voice modulator. It lets you enter restricted areas more freely, but its power drains when you move and NPCs might approach you under suspicion, requiring a speech check to avoid getting caught.
  • Used frequently in the Ratchet & Clank series.
    • In Ratchet & Clank (2002), it's used to get past a robot factory.
    • In Secret Agent Clank, Clank can scan an enemy and produce a holographic disguise which will fool enemies other than the exact individual in question.
  • Red Alert 3:
    • The Imperial Sudden Transport can disguise itself as any vehicle. While the disguise is technically flawless (though animals and burst drones reveal it), sometimes the chosen disguise is the problem- no player is going to ignore the Mighty Glacier Apocalypse tank somehow zipping along at breakneck speed, or the Harbinger gunship on the ground, or the battleship moving on land. It also has to turn off the disguise to let troops out.
    • The Mirage tank uses a holographic projector to disguise itself as a random prop with nowhere near the dimensions of the tank (tree, civilian car, etc.). It can also turn off its own camouflage to cloak nearby allies, but this also causes a honking big visible cloud to surround it.
      • One mission has a Mirage manage to project both the cloaking field and disguise itself as an enemy. This Game-Breaker of an ability is never referenced again.
    • Subverted by Spies. While the interface effect looks like a hologram (to let the player know what unit the spy is currently disguised as), an in-universe interview has a spy claim that it's mostly acting like what the other person expects to see, which explains why animals see right through it. Again, nothing prevents the spy from having a perfectly inappropriate disguise like a swimming infantry unit (only commandoes, spies and ninja can swim) or a dolphin swimming on land.
  • Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek Away Team, the USS Incursion is a modified Defiant-class ship that uses an experimental system to sidestep the Treaty of Algeron (the one that prohibits the Federation from developing and using Invisibility Cloaks) in letter if not in spirit. It works by projecting another ship around the Incursion, while also transmitting the proper transponder signals.
    • The technology is stolen by the Romulans in Star Trek: Starfleet Command 3 and used to attack the joint Federation/Klingon Unity station. It's finally banned after that.
    • The Incursion makes a cameo in Star Trek: Armada 2.
  • In Tower of Fantasy, The Simulacrum AI are based on the original wielders of the SR and SSR equipment and can be equipped once their weapons are acquired on the special loot. This changes the player character to the chosen Simulacrum and the AI will even contact the player if they have enough awakening points.

  • Galatea in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! built herself a cute little beret hat that can holographically disguise her as a human. After her most recent space adventure left her stuck under house arrest on an alien planet, her sister Molly has now taken to using it.
  • In Jix, the Ambis and android characters often use either holo-watches or integrated projectors to pose as humans.
  • The alien main characters of Kila Ilo have holographic projecting bracelets to look human or, in Ferris's case, like a dog-rabbit.
  • The assassin "Mr. Graves" in Quantum Vibe uses holo-masks. When not impersonating a specific person, he prefers presidents.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Biker Mice from Mars episode "Hit the Road, Jack", Romana Parmesana uses a hologram projector to disguise herself as a human — the other Plutarkian villains rely on masks.
  • Scooter from Challenge Of The Go Bots is capable of using his hologram projector to disguise himself, at one point playing a trick on the Renegade Crasher by making himself look like Cop-Tur.
  • Get Ace: Ace uses a limited version of this in "Date with Disaster", to cover up a bad case of acne on his big date. The hologram slightly breaks when his mother kisses him and later completely dissipates at the worst possible moment, scaring off his date.note 
  • Invader Zim: Tak uses a hologram that perfectly disguises her as a human, in contrast with the Paper-Thin Disguise used by Zim (and all other Invaders seen in action on the show).
  • Jerrica Benton from Jem uses a pair of holographic projectors in her earrings and a computer bequeathed to her by her inventor father to become rock singer Jem.
  • In the Johnny Test episode "Johnny and the Amazing Turbo Action Backpack", Johnny has Duke wear a holographic disguise as one of Johnny's sisters to go on a date to distract Bling Bling Boy in order to get the backpack back.
  • The Megas XLR episode "Terminate Her" has the Glorft use holograms to disguise themselves as humans as part of a scheme to kill Kiva's ancestor. The credits sequence later shows Warmaster Gorrath having one of his lackeys use the device to assume the appearance of Coop so that Gorrath can take out his anger in the closest he can get to beating up the one who's constantly beaten him.
  • The protagonist of Phantom 2040 makes extensive use of holographic invisibility.
  • The Sidekick episode "The Maxum Switch-eroo" features several examples thanks to the Man-Of-A-Thousand-Faces' device: Trevor becomes Vana (twice), Eric disguises himself as Maxum Mom to catch the Maxum Man imposter, and Eric, Vana, Kitty, and Mayor Swift all turn into Trevor at the end after Vana destroys the device in a fit of rage.
  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the Chameleon does his shapeshifting through a holographic device on his belt that lets him take pictures of people and then copy those images (his ability to imitate voices seems to be a natural one, though).
  • An episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars featured "shadow holograms" that allowed bounty hunters to disguise themselves as guards in a kidnapping plot.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), one of the devices Krang has aboard the Technodrome is a Holographic Cloaker which can create a holographic illusion over whoever steps into it for up to two hours. It's been used on Bebop and Rocksteady a couple of times: once when they infiltrated Channel Six as their pre-mutated selves, and again when Bebop impersonated a missing Leonardo. In the season seven finale "Shredder Triumphant", Donatello ends up using it against the villains when he disguises Michaelangelo as Krang so he can order Krang's army throughout the city to return to the Technodrome.
  • Transformers:
    • This is technically Mirage's full special ability, though in practice he almost invariably ends up using it to camouflage himself into invisibility. He does use the disguise ability at least once, in conjunction with Windcharger's Magnetism Manipulation, to allow several non-combining Autobots to impersonate Menasor. It doesn't hold up for long against the real deal, but it does confuse Megatron long enough for his new superweapon to blow up in his face.
    • In Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015), the Autobot High Council turn out to be Decepticons using Light Benders — devices that project holographic illusions — to masquerade as Autobots to manipulate the public.
  • Commander Keith uses one when infiltrating Wade's secret base in the opening episode of Voltron Force.