Matrix Wiki
Matrix Wiki

Your appearance now is what we call residual self image. It is the mental projection of your digital self.

― Morpheus to Neo[src]

A self image refers to one's own physical appearance. The usage of the term is typically observed while in the Matrix (or within such similar digital constructs) where the self image can be greatly altered.

Digital self image[]

The digital self image or DSI is the appearance and bodily structure of an entity while inside a digital world like the Matrix.

For bluepills, the DSI is typically generated by the pods through a feedback system called Semblance[1] which generates the self image based upon scans of the actual human while inside the pods; allowing bluepill DSIs to anatomically match their Real World bodies and allowing the DSI to adapt with the Real World body's age and development.

DSI loop hacking[]

With greater administrative control over the Matrix, the Machines were capable of completely changing a bluepill's perceived appearance by hacking directly into the bluepill's DSI loop. In order to hide both Neo and Trinity from the Resistance, for example, the Machines modified both of their DSI loops such that each of them perceived themselves normally while, at the same time, appearing completely different to everyone else and virtually unrecognizable to the Resistance.[1]

Residual self image[]

The residual self image or RSI refers to a redpill's initial DSI. It was observed that, even after being freed from the Matrix and after seeing how they looked like in the Real World, redpills who jacked into the Matrix still appeared like their bluepill selves rather than their Real World appearances.


Typically, alterations to the self image were superficial and limited to clothing, hair, piercings, and markings. Without administrative help from the Machines, anatomical alterations to the DSI are greatly restricted.


The self image was strongly tied to the individual and the base image (or body) itself could not be greatly altered.[2] However, any part of the self image not personally tied to the individual, typically clothing and anything not part of the body, could be easily changed. Neo, while standing in the empty Construct with Morpheus, was first seen wearing regular street clothes that were not much different from what he wore in his apartment. Then through time, Neo's outfit periodically changed.

The outfit may also be defined by the locale where the operative appeared, though it had only been seen in locations outside the Matrix, much like a theme or a uniform automatically applied to anyone entering a certain location. Neo's self image in Mobil Avenue station appeared in clothing very similar to that of The Merovingian's after Neo's mind was accidentally diverted there.

After her resurrection, Trinity's outfit more suited her new life. However, after recovering her memories, she had regained her original clothes by the time that she confronted The Analyst with Neo.

Anatomical alterations[]

Anatomical alterations and enhancements are restricted to redpills who understand the nature of the Matrix and, even then, the alterations and enhancements are greatly limited and often only extending to normal human function.

Some redpills, for example, who have Real World physical disabilities like a broken leg are able to still fully walk within the Matrix.[3] Thus far, the only exception observed has been Hope, a potential who was able to change her own DSI at will and who, at one time while trying to escape pursuit from Agents, completely changed her appearances from her original DSI as a child into that of an elderly woman, then transforming into a middle-aged man, and then eventually becoming a creature capable of flight before returning back into her normal DSI.[2]

Other terminologies[]

The outward appearance of a program was referred to as a shell.

Behind the scenes[]

  • Early drafts of the script showed that Switch's RSI was female while her real-world body was male

See also[]