SSRI is a close knit community, and where most of us have never physically met each other friendships are formed. Jeez when reading back that first sentence you ask yourself the question is this a dating website? Nope, this year we want to do a series of interviews with community members getting to know the person behind the screen name. First up our Denise Pope who’s reknown for her amazing liveries, next to custom liveries Denise has made several ACC game liveries for Kunos.
Name, occupation, age?
Denise Pope, Graphic & Brand designer for SimGrid, and occasional livery artist for Kunos, and I run a sim-racing team called Wild things Racing. 40 something.
What got you into simracing?
I’ve always been into racing games starting with Indy 500 and Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix on the Amiga, through to the TOCA games on PS1, Project Gotham on Xbox, and eventually Project Cars 2 and Assetto Corsa on the Xbox One. Around this time I got my first wheel and pedal set and decided to build a PC.
I’d never raced competitively until then, but I saw a post from Thea Musante about the first MoreFemaleRacers series and decided I would give it a go. I was pretty nervous and expected to be about mid-pack but ended up finishing 3rd overall. I also did my first Endurance Race and found that I could be fairly consistent if not always fast.
What was the first livery you made (maybe a picture?)
At the time I was running an independent design agency called Wild things and decided to use that as the sponsor of my MFR car. It took FOREVER to line up the logo across all the panels on the car, but it was totally worth it as it’s still one of my favourites.
The next one I spent a lot of time on was the McLaren livery inspired by the Gulf McLaren F1 GT liveries in the 90s. This was the one that seemed to get my work noticed and eventually led to the opportunity to work with Kunos.
What tools / software do you use when designing a livery?
I mostly use Adobe Illustrator as it gives me a lot more control over various elements than Photoshop, and it’s an application I’ve used for about 30 years so know how to get the most from it. Sometimes I’ll also use Blender to paint onto a 3D model directly, but I still prefer doing most things the old fashioned (and time consuming) way because I think the results are often more considered when you have to put more time into something.
Do you have tips and pointers for people creating a custom livery?
First tip is always aim for realism. People love sim racing because of the immersion it provides, so something odd with a livery (like painted window frames or full-colour diffusers) can work against that. Always consider if a real-life team would do the same.
My second tip is remember that racing car liveries are often viewed from a distance as well as up close. Does the car work as a whole, does it look like a coherent design from front to back, from side to side. I will often work at very close-up detail, and at a zoomed out view so I can see how the car looks when complete.
Tell us some more about your (recent) work for Kunos?
I was fortunate to be able to go to the Spa 24hr this year thanks to my work with David Perel and SimGrid, but at the time I had no idea Kunos were planning to produce a full livery pack from the event. So it was a nice surprise when I was asked to produce 4 liveries from the event itself.
I did the Heart of Racing Aston, EMA Porsche, TOKSport by WRT Porsche, and Earl Bamber Racing Porsche. Those last two were some of the most challenging liveries I’ve done, as their designs are particular complex and cover the entirety of the cars. I’m really happy with the results though, and I hope people enjoy seeing them in the game and racing with them.
We want to thank Denise telling a bit more about herself and how she turned her hobby into work. We obviously welcome other members to tell a bit more about themselves, show off their sim rig or tell us how they got into simracing. Who’s next?
– SSRI The Place To Race