What it's like to study Animation at RUBIKA

What it's like to study Animation at RUBIKA

Ysaline Debut shares her experience studying Animation at RUBIKA in Valenciennes in France.

Whether you’re already at school, looking to find a new school or even considering moving overseas to study, nothing beats hearing from the students themselves! We speak to  Ysaline Debut about the ins and outs of studying at RUBIKA.

The Specifics

What’s the name of your school?

My school is called RUBIKA.

What’s the name of the neighbourhood?

It is located in Valenciennes, in the North of France.

Closest train station or public transport option?

There is a tramway line at five minute walk from the school, and a train station a twenty minute walk away.

How long have you been there?

I am currently in Fifth year, but it is only my third year in the school since I joined at the beginning of third year.

Why did you choose to study here?

Before joining RUBIKA, I already studied 3D animation in another school. I found that the diploma I was given after those two years wasn’t enough to begin my professional career, therefore, I took interest in schools that offered a masters degree. RUBIKA was my first choice, because I could specialise in 3D animation

Adding to that, the students' diploma movies were the most original, graphically and narratively, in my point of view. Having the chance to work on a short movie motivated me to pass the exams.

How do you know what your professors want? How do you break down tasks?

There is great communication between students and teachers, so our tasks are clearly told and written down automatically in our online agenda.

What was the latest design or tech challenge you have faced?

It was last week. We had a masterclass and had five days to build a 3D scene: textured, shaded, lighted and then rendered and composited!

What is your greatest takeaway from your studies so far?

I have learned how to be organised and to follow a pipeline. I have always worked on projects, but I never realised how chaotic a schedule to create a 3D scene would be!

What advice do you have for students thinking of studying for your degree?

It would definitely be to accept criticism. The reviews you get on your work is only to help you and can only be an opportunity for you to grow.

The Scene

The first thing you see when you walk outside your school?

When I step outside, there is basketball arena where students play after lunch, there is a pond with fish, and a large parking lot. Just beyond, there is the Canal that separates the town in half, and a family neighbourhood.

Tell us a bit about the Neighbourhood. What is there to see and do?

The school isn’t located in the centre of the town. It is surrounded by family houses. If you go one way from the school, you can easily access a forest where you can enjoy a walk. If you go the other way, you can reach the town in a twenty minute walk. Therefore, you can easily find places to eat close to the school; there are restaurants, fast food restaurants and supermarkets.

A mandatory stop for anyone new to your city:

The Beaux Arts museum is certainly worth a stop. It is well known for its beautiful statues.

If you pass by the city, it's a must to go see the heaps surrounding the city! Valenciennes is a former working class town, and there are many remains of this period.

Your school is great, but you wouldn't mind a bit less:

I wouldn’t mind a bit less staircases, my cardio hates them.

The unofficial uniform of your school is:

Everyone has such a unique style that it is impossible to define. Maybe the unofficial uniform would be the jumper of one of the school clubs that organise all the party events!

What clubs or extra-curricular events are offered at your school?

The students create their own events. Therefore, there are clubs that organise sport events, others that organise movie nights in the school auditorium etc. There are balls and dancing nights out that take place in town, that are established as well.

How would you describe the school community?

The school community is very friendly. There are three different specialities in the school: animation, video games and design, but everyone knows each other. Even if the school is big, the town is less, therefore, all students meet one another at some point.

A common myth about your school is:

It would probably be that everyone knows each other, as I have just said.

A massive night out for students at your school is likely to be:

It is likely to be organised by one of the student clubs, and probably at the nightclub “Le Paradis” or at one student's apartment.

The Superlatives

You won’t find a better place to eat than at:

Negishi! The best Japanese restaurant in town. Unless you want a taste of the local food and the ambiance, you absolutely have to go try out Chez Mon Vieux.

The strangest thing you’ve ever seen at your school is:

Probably Nerf battles at nighttime between students and teachers.

One thing you’d never change about your school is:

It’s location. I love the fact that this school is in a small town in the North of France. Never in the world would someone have the idea to go live in Valenciennes, but being all here as one big student family is amazing.

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing changed is:

The building is great, but not really designed for activities. It would be great to have a proper library, maybe some sport courses etc.

Someone gives you $1M to pimp out your school. You use it to:

Organise school trips. Use the money to offer the possibility for each student to go to Annecy’s Animation Festival at least once in their scholarship.


What have you learned as a result of participating in activities above and beyond your coursework?

School projects are essential for the foundations and the essentials. Personal projects and activities on the other side are necessary if you want to practice and try out these new skills. They help understand clearly what you learnt and brings comfort and control.

Why do you take part in challenges?

I find it important to regularly see what I’m capable of, and to always go further in my apprenticeship. I find that challenges help me improve and bring me confidence in my work.

How do you combine school work with your own creative work?

The projects we work on in school are directly ensued from personal projects. School and teachers are here to give us tools that we then use on projects we each build. In every homework given, can be added our own creative touch.

Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you implement this in your own work?

My inspiration comes from everything that surrounds me. It can be a stranger with a funny gait, a tune played at a supermarket, a recently watched movie etc.

The stranger’s gait can then be transposed in an animation, the music can inspire a certain mood, a colour, an ambiance etc.

What personal projects are you working on at the moment?

I started a project with a friend over the summer and we continue to work on it at every lunch break. It is an animation loop with music we created. I also work on a travel diary when I come home to continue drawing regularly.

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

I did an internship in a Parisian animation studio over the summer, it would be superb to officially join the crew after I graduate!

You can find Ysaline Debut's work on Instagram and ArtStation.