An image simulation system 20 for testing sensor systems 26 and for training image sensor personnel wherein synthetic image data is generated by a scene generator 21 and projected by an image projector 23. The image projector 23 uses a digital micromirror device array 27 to modulate the incident energy and create an image. Four modulation schemes are discussed including digital pulse-width modulation, phase contrast modulation, full complex modulation, and analog modulation. The digital pulse width modulation technique will typically require synchronizing the image sensor and the image projector. Phase contrast modulation, full complex modulation, and analog modulation do not require synchronizing the image projector 23 and the sensor system 26. Phase contrast modulation and full complex modulation have the capability to produce phase information within the image. The image simulation system 20 can produce high contrast images and is more flexible than prior art system.