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Make a Cat

For Warner Brothers’ new 3-D family movie Cats and Dogs: the Revenge of Kitty Galore, the special effects wizards at Berkeley’s Tippett Studio had quite a task: Creating a talking, scheming, hairless Sphynx for the titular feline role. Here’s the formula.


Courtesy of Tippett Studio

1/ Study hairless cats

“We always start by observing the creature we’re recreating,” says animation supervisor Will Groebe. “A woman who works in our studio has a hairless Sphynx as a pet—which was invaluable to the process.”

2/ Add Bette Midler

The diva lends the voice of Kitty, a spy intent on conquering the world. “We studied video of Bette and then watched a bunch of malevolent characters for inspiration: Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, and Norma Desmond.”

3/ Bust out the CGI

“The wrinkled skin on a Sphynx is amazing, so we could really play with the facial expressions. We create computer maps for each expression and can blend them together as the expression changes."

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