I can live with that. Vector images or large PNGs should be functional for most screen resolutions, and shouldn't be too much data since they'd just be simple gradients.
I toyed around with those a bit and they seem promising. I'll probably have to use that for most of the animations themselves, with minor adjustments to get unique movement instead of using the default movement curve.
Nah. My personal website only uses a bit of that to make layout work: at the deepest, it's page wrapper, section wrapper, content wrapper, content. I'll need to spend time thinking about colour schemes and how to make things look glassy or embossed. This kind of creative stuff doesn't come easily to me.