Is it a good idea to make the characters, and the environment, of a cartoon extremely simplistic, and not to pay to much attention of details?
I could answer this with both YES and NO. First of all, you must take in to consideration the target-group of the cartoon. If it is marketed toward small children, you shoul draw characters that are made up of simple forms, the colors should be bold, and there is not need for using a very wide selection of shades, the colors need to be stereotipical (windows will be blue, roofs are red). If the targeted group is older, you can make more complex characters, with more well defined body features, the enviroment should be more complex. more 3D, with a variety of volumes and plans that overlap. The selection of shades should be more complex, you can give a more realistic appeal to everything this way.
Does it make really that much of a difference the way in which textures and lights in scenes of video games?
Yes, they can actually make a huge difference. Textures are used in order to minimize the amont of details that you need to model within the objects that you are working with, if we would not use textures we would have to put even more work in to out models, the file would become even heavier, and we would still not achieve a very realistic effect. The quality of the used textures is very important, and the way they can strach on the model's surface without becoming deformed. Lights increase the natural-realistic effect, they can add volume to certain volumes, and if they are managed correctly they can blend together more easily various objects that you used for contructing a scene.
I knew that anthropologists usually used photographs, old books and documents in their research, plus some of the stuff they they would collect from the fieldwork. Why should be begin to digitally recreate stuff my using CAD software and not stick to the old school method?
There are numerous reasons for doing so. When you digitally reproduce from sratch a traditional style of housing, or tools used around the household, you come to know their geometry, their proportions, the way in which the elemets which make up those object in a totally different manner. It is a more mands-on approach to studying human culture. Another very good reason for doing so is that after you gain some exprience with 3D modeling, you will have the capacity to analyze different objects in a more structured manner, you analysis will take on a more structured approach.