Before I switched to Ubuntu, I used to have some cool boot screens for windows and now I want to create some for Ubuntu, but I have no clue where to begin.

What I do know:
- text input and output in C
- animation in Java
- using PhotoShop

What I want to know
- how to create a splash screen for ubuntu
- animation in c
- how to properly position things on the screen
- how to produce a loading bar
- how to produce a segmented load wheel (similar to mac when it boots)
- how to deal with multiple resolutions for the splash

No offense but isn't it all very ambitious on your part? If you're really feeling up to it I'd suggest looking at the original source code.