CG Society has an interesting article on Tippett Studio, who made the CG wolves in New Moon movie
The challenge wasn’t just to build a believable wolf, but to build five unique wolves of extraordinary size and weight, to portray that mass often with little more than the surrounding trees as comparisons, create believable fur and humanesque eyes that weren’t distracting. Nate Fredenburg, Art Director, helped to make sure those requirements were fulfilled, combining real-world attributes and CG magic.
“At Tippett Studio, we always look to real-life creatures for reference on how to design our characters, real or mythical. For New Moon, we had a special opportunity to travel down to wolf sanctuary in Southern California to observe wolves up close and personal. The key to looking at live reference is to form a knowledge base, study the creatures, their quirks and behaviors, the language between the pack. We looked for signs of what the creature was about and added those to the visual effects to make them believable.”
whole article here : http://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php?story_id=5390