About the hard lines if you have different start and end colour, you are right. I forgot to add a note about that. In my examples I use exactly the same colours for start and end colours. (I shall add this to the tutorial so it does not create any confusion).
I haven’t looked at the velvet shader from pixho, but I did look at the ramp color one this morning, and the step with the vector products etc that I use and then the input to the ramp is essentially using the same method. They have gone further though, with luminosity nodes and the likes.
On a side note: Out of interest I tried the rampColor script out, and it works great in maya’s renderer, but crashes when I try to use it in Mental Ray… It seems like the extra attributes that are added (the min max stuff) is what causes it… Does anyone know why? Is this a bug in mental ray?