Insider's Guide - Yoobee College

Insider's Guide - Yoobee College

Third-year animation students Kerri Wheeler and Katherine Santos share their experiences and take us on a journey through the vibrant world of studying at Yoobee College's Christchurch Campus.

Welcome to Yoobee College, where passion and creativity thrive! In this insightful article, third-year animation students Kerri-Lyn Wheeler and Katherine Santos share their experiences and take us on a journey through the vibrant world of studying at Yoobee College's Christchurch Campus.

Kerri-Lyn, a Bachelor of Animation student specializing in Worldbuilding and VFX, has a deep love for storytelling and environmental design. On the other hand, Katherine's passion for animation, storyboarding, and comics has been a lifelong pursuit. Together, they provide an inside look into the specifics of life at Yoobee College and the surrounding neighborhood.

The Rookies - Yoobee Colleges
Yoobee Colleges officially formed in May 2019. The creative minds and legacies of South Seas Film & Television School, Animation College, Yoobee School of Design, AMES – The Institute of IT and Design & Arts (Canterbury) joined forces to become Yoobee Colleges, an interdisciplinary college with seve…

The Specifics

What’s the name of your school?

Kerri-Lyn: Yoobee College - Christchurch Campus

What’s the name of the neighbourhood?

Kerri-Lyn: The campus is in the Christchurch CBD just a five-minute walk from the heart of the city. The area is known for its shopping, food, and nightlife.

Closest train station or public transport option?

Kerri-Lyn: The main form of public transport in Christchurch is the bus system which many students utilise. The Christchurch Bus Interchange is within walking distance from the campus.

Katherine: Yes, the Christchurch Bus Interchange is about a 2-3 minute walk away which is super nice!

How long have you been there?

Kerri-Lyn: I have been at Yoobee for the past three years.

Katherine: I have been here for three years.

Why did you choose to study here?

Kerri-Lyn: I chose to study with Yoobee after seeing their past students’ work being displayed at an expo in Wellington. I was impressed by the quality of the work displayed and contacted the campus to have a chat about the courses they offered. After I learned that all of the tutors were industry active or had industry experience, choosing Yoobee was a no-brainer.

Katherine: I chose to study at Yoobee after I learned more about them from their website and after visiting the school on several occasions on their open days.

The Scene

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

Kerri-Lyn: Across the street from the campus, there are a lot of cool little restaurants and cafes. In the mornings it is common to see people walking to their offices in the city and students coming to campus. After class on Friday evenings, we often hear live music coming from the nearby pub A Rolling Stone and see people on their way to Riverside Market (an indoor market filled with street food vendors).

Katherine: There’s a couple restaurants, one Greek and one Japanese, right across the road. There’s also a big mural on an old bicycle shop and student artwork on the campus windows as you walk down the driveway, which really brightens the day.

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

Kerri-Lyn: Because Yoobee is right in the centre city there are a lot of places to explore and things to do surrounding it. A little further down Colombo Street there is a movie theatre with an attached mini-golf course, bowling alley and arcade as well as a large number of shops. Several cafes surround the campus that help keep all of us students sufficiently caffeinated. This is a bit of a lifesaver when it comes to late-night rendering sessions at the end of the semester. Further down Columbo Street is Catnap Cafe, Christchurch’s cat cafe which offers a great place to relax and does events like cats and crafts and movie nights.

Yoobee is also within walking distance of the Canterbury Museum and the Arts Centre, as well as the Te Puna o Waiwhetū Art Gallery. All of which are great places to go and be inspired by the local art and culture.

Katherine: Not too far from campus is the city center so there’s plenty to do. You could go down to the Avon River and go punting, or even just take a seat along the banks and watch the river go by. There’s also the Central Library, Tūranga, where you can wander the bookshelves, use the Production Studio, or play with lego at the Imagination Station. On your way there is plenty of street art to see.

A mandatory stop for anyone new to your city:

Kerri-Lyn: Rollickin Gelato would absolutely be my mandatory stop for anyone new to Christchurch. It's a local gelato shop where all of the flavours are made on-site. They are constantly creating new flavours and offer other sweet treats too. There are two Rollickin’s in the city centre and both have cozy spots to hang out and listen to their consistently banging playlist.

Katherine: I’ve been to the Canterbury Museum so many times, there’s so much to look at with a new exhibition pretty frequently. It covers a good bit of New Zealand and Canterbury history. There’s also Quake City which is a great place to start if you want to learn about Christchurch’s history and the earthquakes that affected the city.

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

Kerri-Lyn: I wouldn’t say we need less of anything but a couple more vending machines for when we have late nights wouldn’t go amiss. It would be cool if the campus had more clubs.

Katherine: Academic writing, but that just might be me wanting to draw some more! Though, I have come to appreciate the importance of research and documentation.

The unofficial uniform of your school is:

Kerri-Lyn: I wouldn’t say that there is an unofficial uniform on the Christchurch campus. While you will see a lot of hoodies around most people have their own distinctive styles. I’ve seen people wear everything from bowties to sweatpants and the variety is part of the campus's charm. As long as you’re comfortable and being yourself you’ll fit right in!

Katherine: The unofficial uniform is whatever you feel like, whether you want to express your personality or just be comfortable, or both.

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

Kerri-Lyn: While there are no clubs on Campus there are a large number of extra-curricular events offered by Yoobee. There’s weekly yoga sessions, presentations by industry professionals and events held at the end of the semester and for holidays such as Halloween. In addition to this Yoobee has a partnership with the New Zealand Game Development Association and students are encouraged to go to their monthly meet-ups to network and hear talks.

Katherine: There aren’t any clubs but we have notices for events outside of school that might be applicable to us. There’s also always hangouts at the end of the year like a nice barbeque or food truck to celebrate and welcome the summer

How would you describe the school community?

Kerri-Lyn: I’d describe the school community as diverse with many of the students and tutors coming from different backgrounds. This means that you are surrounded by different perspectives and influences. The tutors are incredibly supportive and knowledgeable which creates a really positive learning environment. The class sizes are also small which means that you get to create meaningful connections with both your classmates and tutors.

Katherine: A great mix of people of various backgrounds and experiences come together with the shared love of whatever it is we do, be it film or 3D modeling, or drawing, is always a welcome vibe.

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

Kerri-Lyn: Yoobee is really close to all of the nightclubs in the centre of the city. So a massive night out for the more extroverted among us would probably be a long evening of club hopping around the terrace. For people who aren’t into clubbing, it would probably be hanging out with friends at the entertainment centre down the road from campus.

Katherine: Entx, or the Entertainment Centre, is just a walk away from campus. There’s a bowling alley, mini golf course, places to eat and a cinema all in there so, plenty to do!

The Superlatives

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

Kerri-Lyn: El Quincho in Riverside Market is an easy win here. They’re an Argentinian Barbeque place and it’s my go-to place to take people out for a meal. The Quincho Parrillada is a great way to try a bit of everything they have to offer just make sure you wear your stretchy pants!

Katherine: Riverside Market has plenty of options ranging from baked goods and food from around the world. Sweet Revenge has you covered if you feel like spoiling yourself with a nice slice of cheesecake.

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

Kerri-Lyn: Yoobee offers a make-up artistry course and seeing the models walking through the halls with special effects make-up on their faces while still in their street clothes can take a little bit of getting used to. It can be especially spooky when they’re doing horror make-up.

Katherine: I helped shoot a short about a vigilante called Milkman who shoots milk out of a water gun. Seeing the whole costume put together was probably the strangest.

What is your greatest takeaway from your studies so far?

Kerri-Lyn: That passion and hard work are more important than natural skill. When I started this degree I had never used 3D modeling software before, I had always loved to draw and create but my skills in the software we use were very limited. In the first class I had I was intimidated by the talent of everyone around me and by how much they knew about the software we were using. In the end, through persistence and hard work, I was able to quickly catch up to my peers.

Katherine: Feedback is very valuable. I might spend a lot of time looking at my own work so seeing any ways that it might be improved becomes difficult because if it looks how I planned, then I’d call it finished. So, getting other people’s opinions is a great way to push myself further.

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

Kerri-Lyn: Don’t be intimidated if you don’t know everything before you go into the degree the tutors are there to support and guide you. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can pick things up if you’re willing to put in the hard work!

Also, be prepared for there to be hard work! I think there’s a common misconception that when you do this degree it will just be drawing whatever you want to draw all of the time and that’s not what the degree is. Do your research! Talk to the campus to make sure you’re enrolling in the course that’s right for you.

Another big thing is to be ready for and willing to accept criticism and feedback. You’ll be getting it constantly! Just remember that people are trying to make you the best artist you can be and the only way that’s gonna happen is if you get honest feedback. Try to take it in your stride and use it to improve.

Katherine: Be aware of time. Making your own schedule is really helpful, but don’t forget to slot in some free time. Also, take lots of notes. You never know when you need to remember a very specific thing which would be very helpful!

What have you learned as a result of participating in challenges above and beyond your coursework, like the Rookie Awards?

Kerri-Lyn: First and foremost time management! personal projects with coursework can be a bit of a juggling act so it does force you to prioritise. Personal projects are important though they allow you to expand on the fundamentals laid out by your coursework. They allow you to prove to yourself that you can do the things that you are being taught and help you to develop your own style.

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

Kerri-Lyn: The people! The campus staff and tutors are all really lovely and supportive. I wouldn’t want the good environment that Yoobee has to change. I also hope that future classes are able to grow as close as mine has.

Katherine: The people and general sense of community and collaboration. It always feels nice to enter a place where everyone, including tutors, is welcoming, passionate about what they do and ready to help out.

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

Kerri-Lyn: It would be nice if the campus had a room set aside for people who want to work on campus outside of class time. Currently, you can ask tutors to stay in the class while they teach another class (it’s usually not a problem) but having a dedicated room for this would be a lot nicer.

Katherine: I think it would be really interesting to be able to better see what other departments are working on, maybe on our Facebook page or campus Teams channel. This might be a good source of inspiration and encourage more collaboration.

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

Kerri-Lyn: The campus is pretty small so I’d probably use it to create a cool and cozy space for people to hang out before and after classes. A room dedicated to testing VR would also be pretty awesome!

Katherine: Expand the size of the campus a bit more, maybe have some spaces for hanging out or taking a break. Even trees or a place to sit outside and take a break from computer screens.

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

Kerri-Lyn: After graduation, I’m hoping to be a Junior 3D Artist working in game development! Hopefully, I will be helping to create games with an emphasis on story.

Katherine: I see myself taking time to work on my own long-term story projects using everything I’ve learned over the past three years, and also working for other projects whether it’s in TV or book.

Katherine Santos: The Rookies | Instagram | ArtStation.

Kerri-Lyn Wheeler: The Rookies | Instagram.