If I wanted to use your solution without modifying the animation itself, I'd probably try to constrain the gradient a little, because you get a lot of the green / yellow / orange part of the spectrum and not much of the red and purple parts.
For the unidirectional method, I'm thinking probably keyframes, so nice segue into CSS animations. I was already thinking of doing a part 2, so you gave me a pretty good idea for some other topics to hit on there.
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