Cats & Dogs Bond in Kitty Galore
"Cats & Dogs was our first talking animal movie and now it's the mainstay of the business," remarks Blair Clark, the visual effects supervisor from Tippett. "We had to get Kitty Galore because not only is she a great character but she was going to be hard and push us in ways we haven't quite explored yet."
Indeed, the villainous Sphinx, Kitty Galore (voiced by Bette Midler as Carol Burnett doing Nora Desmond), represents everything that Tippett has struggled to conquer in a cat, and Clark says they're the stronger for tackling her.
"She's got all exposed skin and all the wrinkles and bones that you could hide under the fur before," Clark suggests. "But now we don't have anything to mask that stuff: how the joints appear and disappear out of this big bag of skin.
As noted in "Twilight Experiences an Eclipse," Tippett developed a new fur growth system for Kitty Galore that was leveraged on the latest Twilight sequel, in which replaced the black-and-white map technique with a node-based system that works more like a compositing package. Tippett can build a node-based tree that determines how much fur is grown by calculating length, width and curliness.
However, even though Kitty is basically "hairless," there is a layer of peach fuzz that covers her skin as well as short hair on her nose and long hair on her legs and tail.
"We found that when you just did skin, it didn't look right," Clark continues. "You'd have the subsurface scattering and translucency to the skin, but we had to grow peach fuzz all over her anyway. It needed that to bring it to life.