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I've been trying to come up with a way to do scales in Houdini for some time. It all began when I learned that VFX studio Animal Logic developed a proprietary tool called RepTile for the movie Walking with Dinosaurs. RepTile allows artists to both manually and procedurally groom scales. It also allows scales to be rigid and not stretch while the skin does.
A paper talks about the tool but doesn't show exactly how the process is done. 
A video shows an initial test of RepTile.
A video shows another test where the skin is colored red and the scales are colored green to show the range of stretch.
A video is a behind the scenes video for the Walking with Dinosaurs. It talks about RepTile at 0:19:12.
Here's what I want to know.
1. How to render a subdivision surface as a scale in render time?
2. How to generate scales on a surface, have them stay flat, and not stretch as the skin does?
3. How to use curves to influence scatter points on a surface.
4. Should I have a triangulated mesh for the scales to grow on?
5. How scales can be shaped to fill their polygonal outlines?
Any thoughts would be helpful.

RepTile.pdf

08_RepTile_Scale_Test_01_InitialTest.mp4

10_RepTile_Scale_Test_03_SkinStretch.mp4

fxguidetv-ep184-WalkingWithDinosaurs-Insider-embeded.mp4

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