Is the 'Cats' movie live-action or CGI? Here's what's actually going on - Insider
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People can't figure out if the 'Cats' movie is live-action or CGI — here's what's actually going on

cats movie trailer
The cast of the upcoming "Cats" movie includes Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Jennifer Hudson, and Jason Derulo.
Universal Pictures
  • After the trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation of "Cats" the musical dropped on Friday, people were left wondering how the filmmakers were able to transform human actors into their feline characters. 
  • While the film appears to be a mix of CGI and live-action, filmmakers revealed in a behind-the-scenes featurette that they used something called "digital fur technology" to transform actors into cats
  • According to filmmakers, the technology creates "the most perfect covering of fur" on the actors, but people have mixed feelings after seeing the trailer. 
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The "Cats" trailer received mixed reactions from people after it was released on Friday, with many wondering how exactly human actors were able to be transformed into their feline characters. 

According to a behind-the-scenes featurette released on Wednesday, filmmakers were utilizing a new combination of CGI and motion-capture technology to bring the "Cats" characters to life. 

"We've used digital fur technology to create the most perfect covering of fur," one of the filmmakers said in the featurette.


In early April, behind-the-scenes footage from the film was presented at CinemaCon, and showed the actors wearing "motion capture suits" and VFX dots on their faces. According to IndieWire, "the VFX will add fur onto the actors and make their faces appear more cat-like," which seems in line with the "digital fur technology" mentioned by filmmakers in last week's featurette. 

cats trailer digital fur technology
Universal Pictures

It seems the "digital fur" technology touted by filmmakers is a combination of motion-capture and CGI, with the sets being live-action, for the most part. 

rebel wilson cats
The sets of "Cats" were built to fit the actors' feline proportions, as demonstrated by Rebel Wilson, who appears in the film.
Universal Pictures

Despite filmmakers' best efforts, however, the digital fur actually comes off as more distracting than innovative. Considering the fact that most of the cats seen in the trailer have human faces and bodies, with fur, ears, and tails as their only feline attributes, the whole thing feels a bit off — and people took notice. 

cats movie taylor swift
Taylor Swift will play Bombalurina in the upcoming "Cats" movie.
Universal Pictures

Even though it seems that filmmakers used pretty cutting-edge technology to give human actors feline characters, many felt that the "digital fur" was distracting and disturbing. 

Read more: People are terrified by the new trailer for 'Cats' that stars A-list celebrities as anthropomorphic cats


And some felt that the original manner of styling the characters — which involves costumes and makeup instead of CGI  — would have been more effective. 


"Cats" will premiere in December 2019. You can watch the trailer here.

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