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Tech Company Rescues Student Projects During Covid-Mandated School Closures

Tech Company Rescues Student Projects During Covid-Mandated School Closures

Pre-visualization for architectural projection, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely,” a meditation on isolation in the time of COVID by CalArts student Kathleen Fox. Click here for high resolution images from the project.

Technology platform, disguise, provides licenses—and helps students at CalArts complete architectural projection projects.

A project of the Experience Design and Production Program in CalArts’ School of Theater, 3D models of the students’ projections will launch online at CalArts Expo on May 15. 

Valencia, CA, April 30—Students at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) are learning to transform familiar buildings with projected imagery. In the class Architectural Projection and Video Objects, they employ projection mapping to create large scale video images and motion graphics tailored to the exterior architecture of the Institute. In March, coronavirus closed CalArts and students began working from home. Without access to disguise, the creative technology platform housed on the school’s computer network, students were unable to realize their designs and complete their projects. Then the company came to the rescue.

“When I learned that we would be moving to online learning,” said teacher Peter Flaherty, “I reached out to disguise and asked if they could support us with licenses that our students could use at home. They immediately jumped in and mailed USB license keys to our students.”  Working in coordination with Flaherty, disguise was able to provide the students with high-end media servers to realize their ambitious, large-scale projects. Flaherty’s class is taught in the CalArts School of Theater’s Experience Design and Production Program.

“When Peter explained their situation at CalArts, we were happy to support the program with the extra dongles that the students needed in order to continue learning the disguise platform while working from home,” said Vickie Claiborne, Americas Training Manager for disguise. With the help of our US Sales and Support teams, dongles with Designer licenses were quickly mailed out, ensuring students could continue working on their final projects and complete them in time for their May 15 event.”

A highlight of the annual CalArts Expo, in past years, Flaherty’s students projected motion graphics onto the exterior and interior areas of CalArts’ Main Building. This year, the Expo launches on May 15 as an online event—and the students will present video fly-throughs that show fully rendered 3D models of their projects. The online version of CalArts Expo goes live on May 15:

Using disguise, students can fully pre-visualize CalArts Main Building, including the architecture and the projected imagery as it would look on the building itself. For her project, student Kathleen Fox is creating a visually arresting meditation on isolation in the time of COVID using collaged imagery and text relating to the search for human connection. Looking ahead to the reopening of CalArts, students are planning to exhibit full scale versions of their projects in the fall.

Peter Flaherty is the head of Interactive Media for Performance in the Experience Design and Production Program of CalArts’ School of Theater. As a director and interactive artist, his work is shown internationally in theaters, galleries, and museums. He conceived and directed The Dial, an interactive narrative combining AR and projection mapping, which premiered at Sundance in 2019. Flaherty has worked with Disguise on previous productions, including his interactive video design for The Flying Dutchman, which opened at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in March.

Housed in the CalArts School of Theater, Experience Design and Production converges studies in narrative, immersion, environments, behavior, dramaturgy, fabrication and interactivity.  Students approach the creation of projects and experiences from a diversity of perspectives, wrapped around a core design process that prizes experimentation, strong visual communication, rigorous iteration, and the ability to bring concepts to life in real-world applications and collaborations.

About disguise

disguise technology platform enables creative and technical professionals to imagine, create and deliver spectacular live visual experiences at the highest level. With a focus on combining real-time 3D visualization-based software with high performance and robust hardware, they enable the delivery of challenging creative projects at scale and with confidence. Turning concepts into reality, disguise has offices in London, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and Shanghai, with technical teams across all to support customer needs, as well as sales recorded in over 50 countries.

With an ever increasing global partner network and working alongside the world’s most talented visual designers and technical teams on global concert tours for artists including U2, The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, Pink! and Ed Sheeran, live events including Coachella and the Moscow International Festival, theatre productions such as Frozen and Harry Potter as well as an increasing number of films, live TV broadcasts, corporate and entertainment events – disguise is building the next generation of collaborative tools to help artists and technologists realize their vision. For more information, please visit