A Life Changing Decision

I’m no stranger to making ballsy decisions.  I’ve made a few in my time but I definitely thought those days were firmly behind me.

Until today, that is.

Allow me to set the scene.  At present, I work full time in the Northern Ireland Civil Service and provide a freelance 3D Visualisation service on the side.  I’ve been juggling this arrangement for approx. 2 years.  It all started when I enrolled with the National Design Academy to study their Interior Design Diploma (so really, my life changing decision is all their fault).

I hadn’t really thought about what I was going to do after I attained the Diploma.  At that stage, I had a great interest in and passion for all things Interior Design and was very eager to learn more about the subject.  During my study of the Diploma I had my first ‘a ha!’ moment when I stumbled upon 3D modelling and photo-real rendering and before I knew it, my interest in this subject was all consuming.

After I attained the Diploma I immediately signed up for the Interior Design degree.  Again, I had no firm thoughts as to what I was going to do after attaining the degree.  I had become so used to studying in my spare time that the thought of NOT studying felt…weird.

Plus, I was incredibly unsatisfied in my office job and my part-time study was a great way to release my frustrations but most importantly, to rediscover my creativity and learn new skills.

Through my studies, the realisation that I had an aptitude for 3D Visualisation was an EPIC discovery!  As a result, I found myself holding down a full time job, studying a degree AND paving some sort of freelancing career in the 3D Visualisation field.

As you can imagine, my love life was in tatters.  But I didn’t care.  I had found something that intrigued me so much that I wanted to learn more.

Much more.

Everything changed when I had my defining moment where my 3D Visualisation work was concerned.


I felt that I had finally produced a photo-real 3D visual that was visually captivating and something to be proud of.

The industry had the same opinion.  To this day, the above 3D visual is used by Maxwell Render as a cover image on many of their social media channels.

Validation from the industry can’t be ignored.  I started to feel that maybe I could actually do this INSTEAD of my office job.  This was an exciting and unbelievably SCARY realisation.  My office job was secure and stable.  I knew it inside out and whilst I was grateful for the stability it offered, I had become complacent and highly demotivated.

I decided to withdraw from the degree and focus on refining my 3D Visualisation skills and technique.  My professional commissions started to become more frequent; I could SEE the gradual improvement in the quality of my work and the industry continued to validate me: SketchUp started to take notice, Maxwell Render afforded me the title Xpert AND my work was being published.  PUBLISHED!

And then something unprecedented in the history of the Northern Ireland Civil Service happened.

Voluntary Redundancies had been announced.

Today is my Birthday.  Today I handed in my 3 months notice.  Today I confirmed my intention to leave my office job of 17 years (17 YEARS!!) so that I can fulfill my desire to do a job that I actually enjoy.  A job that gives me a great sense of satisfaction and feeds my creativity.

If all goes to plan, from 30 November 2015, Anita Brown 3D Visualisation will transition to a FULL TIME business!  There will be a rebranding and relaunch of my website.  You’ll witness HUGE changes around here but don’t fret, my (sometimes kooky and possibly inappropriate) ramblings will continue via my blog!

This life changing decision isn’t about 3D Visualisation, it’s about seizing opportunities.  It’s about improving the quality of your life and having the bravery to try and fulfill your potential.

It’s about feeling the fear and doing it anyway.  

And I can only hope that you join me on this roller coaster ride!

Steve Jobs


  1. Jecks Lea says:

    Good luck with your new journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stefanie Raw says:

    Hi Anita. I have also just finished studying at the NDA and am finding myself at the point of…. what do I do now? I have also loved the 3d visual side to the course and would love to take that side further. Well done you for taking the plunge, I know it will be the best decision you will ever make! Hopefully we can stay in touch! Stef x

    Liked by 1 person

    • anitadesignstudio says:

      Hi Stef, thanks for taking the time to read my post! It’s easy to sign up for further study without giving thought to what you’d like to do after you’re holding that cherished certificate!

      Taking my 3D Visualisation work into the direction of a full time business just feels so natural. I mean, I’m petrified at the prospect of throwing myself into the unknown but I feel the need for a new challenge.

      I’m sure after a bit of strategic thinking you’ll have a better idea of what you’d like to do now that you’ve finished your studies. The world is your oyster!



  3. Wow! The stars aligned and now your path is clear! Fantastic – I hope to use your services or at the very least refer your services. What a wonderful birthday present to yourself. All the very best – your work is beautiful so I’m sure you will do very well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • anitadesignstudio says:

      Hi Anne-Louise! Thank you for stopping by and for your words of support and encouragement. I need all the positivity I can get my hands on! I felt the universe was telling me something when the voluntary redundancy offers were made: I couldn’t say no! I hope you continue to read my blog and say hello now and then 🙂


  4. Paul Crow says:

    An inspirational read, good luck and don’t let the bumps in the road jolt you too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • anitadesignstudio says:

      Hey Paul, thank you for your comment. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a bump or two, I just hope I can withstand them in my quest for world domination!


  5. Averil George says:

    Oh, Anita – what a great future you’ll have! I’ve loved your work and wish you so much luck. All the very best.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. anitadesignstudio says:

    Averil, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m clinging to all the positive messages of support and encouragement! I hope my future in 3D Visualisation continues to flourish (it better!!).


  7. Stefan Batorijs says:

    Hi Anita
    I love what you have written, and your very extensive website, it’s inspirational. I completed my degree in Spatial and Interior Design a year ago, as a Mature student, and have been renovating and designing the interiors of an old Victorian Town house. We finished Yesterday and did a professional photo shoot. It was so pleasing to see the final product look even better that the basic sketch up models I did a year ago. CAD was not my strong point at Uni. and so maybe I can call on your services for future commissions. I will post some images soon and link to my website.
    Best of Luck,


    Liked by 1 person

    • anitadesignstudio says:

      Hi Stefan,

      Thank you for the great feedback on my website! Hopefully you’ll like it even more when it undergoes major refurbishment. It’ll still have similar content but it’ll look more polished and less ‘bloggy’.

      Congratulations on attaining your degree! It must have been a great feeling to finally reach the finish line. Yes, please come back and attach a link to your website showing the imaages of your recent designs. I’d love to see them. Sounds like a great project.

      Absolutely, if you ever need photo-real 3D visuals you know where to come!



  8. cormac mcgowan says:

    Your name alone tells me you should be in design !! Having worked in architectural interiors ( mainly Hotel design) for most of my adult life, I can only gaurantee you’ll love it…even the frustrations and the deadlines and the craziness…after a project is done somehow we forget the pain ha!
    The way you stumbled into this is so natural and so wonderful: I wish you all the luck in the world and obviously your talents are already getting you noticed….and as our fellow Irishman and poet extraordinaire Mr. Heaney’s epitaph says: ‘walk on air even against your better judgement”…(or something similar) and you will be fulfilled beyond your dreams.
    Go for it gal !! hey and i bet that wacky lovelife will totally improve if you doing what you want !

    Liked by 1 person

    • anitadesignstudio says:

      Hi Cormac,

      With a name like that, you’re most definitely a fellow Irishman!! 🙂 Thank you so much for your amazing comment: it’s better than my entire blog post! My discovery of 3D Visualisation really was amazing, right? When I started my interior design studies, I had never heard of ‘rendering’ before. And now I’m going to set up in business as a 3D Visualiser! Weird how things can change direction and quite dramatically!

      That was a very apt quote you used from the esteemed Seamus Heaney! How deep and profound of you! 🙂

      Thank you so much for your positivity – it’s greatly appreciated.


      P.S. As for the wacky love life. I’m hoping it’ll straighten itself out at some stage in the not too distant future but it’s unfortunately beyond my control. Here’s hoping!


  9. orlene kavanagh says:

    well done! bravery pays off! Best of Luck to you

    Liked by 1 person

    • anitadesignstudio says:

      Orlene, thank you for your comment. Yup, people keep telling me I’m being brave (which scares me even more!) But in my (clearly insane) mind sticking with the secure office job isn’t an option. It’s a soul destroying thought! Thank you for your kind wishes ☺


  10. Erik Thorsen says:

    Hi Anita,
    Long-time occasional lurker, first time poster here. Congratulations on your decision – sounds like a wise move to me. And thanks, in general, for the generous helpings of excellent information and great humor you provide on this site/blog of yours. Great stuff.
    Background info: I’m an architect who, for various reasons, hasn’t been practicing on a serious level for decades. Slowly clawing my way back into the profession, though (or at least, trying to) and so far, my weapons of choice happen to be Sketchup and Maxwell. I’m pretty much trying to teach myself the use of both – and struggling mightily, so far – but making (slow) progress, I think / hope… A lot of the info I’ve come across on your blog has been very helpful and hugely inspirational. So once again: Cheers – and best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • anitadesignstudio says:

      Erik, it’s a pleasure to meet a long time, occasional lurker! Just out of curiosity, how long have you been lurking?!

      You’re very welcome, I’m glad that you’ve found some of my posts useful. And obviously I’m just as pleased that you appreciate my dollops of humour. Have to keep my readers engaged, right?!

      I know only too well how challenging it can be to self teach 3D software. In my experience, once you’ve reached a certain level of competency, the sky is the limit. You WILL reach this stage as long as you continue to research, refine and practice! I can’t underestimate how important it is to continually practice and set yourself new challenges.

      Thank you for your kind wishes where my ‘life changing’ decision is concerned. I can only hope that as a 3D Visualiser, I can continue to evolve and increase my profile.

      Please don’t hesitate to say hello in future! You’re more than welcome to do so ☺



      • Erik Thorsen says:

        Hi again, and thanks for the reply!
        I stumbled across your site… oh… half a year ago, at a guess (i.e. around the time I purchased the Maxwell plugin for Sketchup, and started trawling the interwebs for anything to do with the SU-Mx combo)
        Earlier this summer I was working on a little project (a competition entry) and I was a frequent visitor at the time – but after submitting my entry, life – as they say – and my everyday job got in the way again. :o)
        The good news: I’ve been mucking about with Maxwell for the past two hours or so earlier this evening – and just managed to generate a (clumsy) image with an HDRI sky actually visible in the render. Yay!

        For the record: I have every intention of dropping by on a regular basis. Keep up the good work!
        All the best and good night,

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Marion McCourt says:

    Anita, Happy Birthday from one Virgo to another!! I find that there are many Virgos that work in the design field. I enjoy your blogs, thank you. Our regrets seem to be with what we have never done. If you never try you will never know. Only the very best wishes with your next journey. You will do wonderfully!

    Marion McCourt, Orlando, Florida

    Liked by 1 person

    • anitadesignstudio says:

      Marion, thank you for taking time out to leave a comment! You considerate Virgo, you! And thanks for your encouraging words: what a lovely message!


  12. Ritianne says:

    Amazing story! I just read this from LinkedIn groups 🙂 Goodluck for your new venture! No one should settle even if they had found what they love 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. johnfeehan says:

    hi anita,

    good luck to you on your new venture adventure. I have been getting your emails for some time now. hopefully soon we will be able to pass some work your way soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • anitadesignstudio says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and for your words of support! I look forward to working with you in the not too distant future.



  1. […] been keeping up to date with recent events around here, you’ll be very aware that I left my office job of 17 yrs at the end of November to start my own Belfast based 3D Visualisation […]


  2. […] made an announcement on my blog a few months ago, of my decision to leave my office job to start my own 3D Visualisation […]


  3. […] I entered the world of self employment in January 2016. […]


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