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The Akatsuki members sit down and send out "thought waves" (思念波, shinenha), converted into chakra. These thought waves are then picked up by Pain, acting as a kind of control tower. This technique amplifies the thought waves and broadcasts them to a specific location through illusionary bodies. The illusionary bodies differ from being mere reflections. While Pain is relaying the members' thoughts, they can have conversation and use varying techniques.
These virtual images looked like the member they represented, the only difference being that they are standing up with their hands in a seal. The images were also transparent, save for the eyes. In the anime, the images were depicted refracting an array of spectral colours, much like a rainbow. Their bodies distort and flicker, as if receiving electronic interference, and the members' voices are altered the same way.