Not surprisingly there is an overlap between visual effects veterans choosing their best CGI animals and best CGI characters as the former is a crucial member of the cast in being able to achieve the desired cinematic vision and scope. And let’s face it, there is a Hollywood adage that animals and children are the hardest to direct and for a medium where every nuance counts in suspending the disbelief of the audience members then why not use a computer where every pixel can be precisely controlled?

That being said nothing is achieved for free as everything has to be created from scratch and fur and feathers remain tough simulations to achieve, especially when extra interactive environmental elements like light, dirt, and water have to be added. (No matter how good Houdini gets.)