After settling in the company, my university studies were going well and what I thought I'd do with the abysmally scarce free time I had left was to spend it doing freelance jobs. This, to an extent, explains why I haven't got a family.
My personal issues aside, working on architectural visualisations isn't terribly exciting. It's not something you'd do for fun in your spare time. It is something you'd do for money though. And that I did. Most renders here come from projects which weren't wholly my work as I work collaborating with a friend on them. Misery loves company and he was a man with contacts (ergo contracts).
I'm being overly harsh on visualisations here. Maybe because my experience was marred by a solitary hiccup on one of them - but let me talk about it a little later on.
The actual job is pretty straightforward but demands a completely different approach than low-poly modelling. Geometrically correct meshes are less important and there is no budget for polygons or textures (within reason of course). It's more important to keep the mesh tessellated evenly than it is to optimise it for the poly-count.There's not a lot of place for improvisation. Working from exact plans is the bread and butter of these. They also very rarely include dragons. Or lasers. Bright neon lights is as exciting as it gets.
I Worked on many projects like that and was at the same time moonlighting as a web designer to supplement further my income - university fees aren't cheap. There's not a lot more to say about that period - it bled outside of 2006 as I would help out with projects like that whenever I had the chance and more importantly the time. Most of the time it would turn out worth the effort but freelancing isn't as safe as a full-time job. That's like saying russian roulette isn't exactly as safe as playing solitaire.
When doing freelance jobs you always take a risk. And sometimes you lose when a job goes sour. I was lucky enough to only ever hit a snag once (but once is all it takes to make a young trusting lad a bitter, jaded old bastard) when I was doing a small job for a friend's friend. This is usually when you're lax on formalities and generally trust the other person. In the end I finished the job and never got paid a penny. I was pretty bitter about it at the time and frankly I still remember it not very fondly indeed but I guess I learned the lesson as I never hit the same problem again.
The job itself was pretty trivial - a start-up company (I think) was making chairs and they wanted some renders for their catalogue. I made a dozen of those on a short deadline. No idea what happened to the company or if they every used them - but if they did I have a feeling I didn't get credited for them.