Animating vertex paint / UV texture


I’m trying to visualize some data on the surface of a mesh (activation values on a brain surface). Basically, I have about 70,000 color values to map to 70,000 vertices, and I would like to animate those values (change them over time). I’m looking for advice on the best way to do this.

If I create a colored mesh in my analysis application and import it into Blender, the imported mesh is colored using vertex painting. This works just fine for static shots, but I haven’t been able to find a way to animate vertex paint values (based on Blender 2.5’s statement that you should be able to animate everything, I suspect there is a way - I just haven’t found it).

Alternately, I suspect there is a way to map color values to particular vertices using UV mapping, but I need an automated (python-scripted) way to map a long list of colors to a long list of vertices, and I haven’t been able to find a way to do that with the python API yet… (no way am I going to map 70,000+ values by hand).

So: Does anyone know (a) how to animate vertex paint values, or (b) how to do complex UV mapping using the python API?