The projection display of the present invention employs a light source, a spatial light modulator such as a deformable mirror device having a plurality of individually electrically deformable mirror cells and Schlierin optics to project light from deformed mirror cells onto a viewing screen. An optical system forms light from the light source into a substantially collinear beam. A Schlierin optical device composed of alternating reflecting and transmitting portions is disposed at an angle to this beam. Light reflected or transmitted by the Schlierin optical device is focused by additional optics to a point near the deformable mirror device. Light reflected from undeformed mirror cells passes through the Schlierin optical device back to the light source. Deformed mirror cells reflect light at least in part to differing portions of the Schlierin optical device to follow a different path to a viewing screen. Control of the deformation of individual mirror cells thus enables control of illumination of corresponding spots on the viewing screen. A color picture may be formed using multiple deformable mirror devices and color filters. A three-dimensional image may be formed using multiple projection systems and a directionally reflecting screen or polarizing filters for differing deformable mirror devices with matching polarizing glasses.