Here's how far you can go without using CGI!
Good CGI is so realistic that you don't always know when you're looking at it. So, Ironically, CGI artists take it as a compliment when their work goes unnoticed.
The term 'Uncanny Valley' was originally coined by Japanese robotics professor Masahiro Mori back in 1980 and suggests that as we get close to human realism a huge dip in a ‘familiarity’ graph occurs, indicating a sudden negative response. Now the Digital Human League, a superteam of Hollywood visual effects artists and researchers, is looking to bridge the gap with the creation of convincing synthetic humans.
If I told you that User Interfaces play a large part in modern film-making, you might think I'm exaggerating. But I don't think I am
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has stupendous motion capture and CGI. It wouldn't have been possible without either of these techniques. But does this mean that you can make better films with better technology?
Baz Lurhmann's The Great Gatsby is built not around expensive sets but probably some of the best CGI ever seen (well, we should probably say "apart from Gravity" - which, although it's in a CGI league of it's own, is not exactly a historical costume drama)