wow, well that’s the million dollar questions isn’t it? about as big of question is, 2d or 3d cartoons better?
I don’t believe all actors dislike makeup, sure it takes time and may be unfomfortable, but I have seen where some like being “someone” else not only in acting but also physically. Some actors, say like for a Star Trek series type show may be putting on appliances and makeup for years, 20 some episodes a year, 5 days a week. Look at Michael Dorn, Warf from ST:TNG.
Are you looking for information specifics on wheter to use makeup of CGI for HUMAN actors, or anything? By anything I mean the comparision of say puppet Yoda from the original Star Wars or the full CGI Yoda from SW:EP2. Anything would include would you build a robot for Gollum or do it with CG. None HUMAN characters.
I don’t know exact budgets, but I’m pretty sure CG will cost WAY more than makeup effects (at this time) for say changing an actor into an old person. I have some video tutorials from http://www.moviefxmag.com/ that show how a good makeup effects artist can take a face cast, create a blank, scultp on top of it, create the appliances, paint them and apply them in a week or less (depending on what needs to be done and quality level) For CG the modeling and rigging alone on just a FACE is going to take while. Especially if you want a PHOTO REAL human with muscle simulations, skin layers, experession, etc. That doesn’t include animation, lighting, rendering, composisting compared to an actor, on set, with a mask, and when you yell cut, it’s done wtih.
I’m sure it took months and months for ILM to do 25 baby Sunny shots in Lemony Snicket. Originally they had near 100 shots, but realized the twin babies playing Sunny could do most of the shots themselves. check out this quaters www.cinefex.com magazine, Issue 100 for more on Sincket. plus look how many worked on just these 25 baby shots http://www.cinefex.com/index/100-03.html
And if you are doing digital appliances for a actor you need to either scan him or take a head cast, scuplt on that then scan that into the computer. There are good examples of this from ILM for the Mummy and Terminator 3. Tracking and removing parts of the actors face and body, replacing that with a digital form that couldn’t be humanly possible. This goes back a ways though, I remember stuff from Death Becomes Her when Meryl Streep breaks her neck falling down the stars, but gets up and her head is on backwords until she twist it back around. They used bluescreen elements and some early CG effects. But the actors still have to wear some sort of makeup or appliance with tracking marks on it.
This months Computer Graphics World www.cgw.com has an interesting article on recreating a documentary. I know, it sounds weird but they are doing a documentary about WW2 with digital recreations of people like Roosevelt, Churchill, and Hitler. Using look alike actors wtih tracking markers and these complex head gear tracking systems (something like the head gear worn when you get braces with little balls all over it) and using that data to control the digital version of the original historic figures to composiste back over the look a like actors.
Obviously this all depends on one big thing. How good do you want the final effect to be? I’m sure it cost a lot more for ILM or WETA to do something state of the art than a small garage studio to crank out something in a week for a TV show. I worked a while ago on a kids cartoon video and I know that budget, and we were doing it el cheapo, was hundreds of thousands for a 30minute video. And that wasn’t anything on the level of good visual effects seen in your average effects movie. It was pretty low quality stuff.
Also just take the look at a modern massive effects movie such as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. They still use models and some pratical effets, especially for large sets and structures. It’s just cheaper to do it, for now. I think some day, with the way computers get faster and faster and faster, one day you could realtime photo real stuff right on the set as the actors walk around on greenscreen. hmmm maybe one day they will act in a hologram
PS you may really want to pick up that #100 Cinefex as it has a giant round table discussion http://www.cinefex.com/index/100-01.html (go here for a list of all the artist) with doezen of makeup and CG artist like Rick Baker and Stan Winston, with some of the questions being related to what you want to know.