Ah, so you are using raw LEDs and the ws2801 chip and doing the soldering yourself as opposed to getting the chips built in.
The WS2803 with 18 channels looks great - checked out the specs - looks like the control protocol is the same - killer! The WS2803 looks like a nice cost saving way to implement strips and matrix form factors. Even on ebay they can be had as little as 1.39 each at the 100 level .. and that runs 6 RGBs each.
That may be the most cost effective solution yet - thanks for the info.
Here is a temporary display we setup at a local art gallery where we are light artists.
This is three white Christmas trees with the normal lights turned off and strings of WS2801 LEDs wrapping them. We created snowflake-stars out of foam / paper board and attached them to a long PVC pipe and added the same LEDs.
One arduino runs the 267 LEDs / patterns. Pattern details cycled through in the video are stored on eeprom using custom application. Side Note: The window shown at the start of the video is a LPD6803 based strip on another arduino, not part of the temporary Christmas display.
At 100% saturation and 100% value/brightness the color is what you may call "full color", like the outside of that circle. If you want to make it darker, change the value/brightness to a lower value. To make it washed out then change the saturation to a lower value. Zero value/brt is black. Zero saturation is white or gray depending on value/brt.
You can use the following calculator to get the degree from the color wheel and plug it in. Use 100 for saturation and 100 for value/brightness and enter a color value from 1 to 360 and you will get the RGB value for any color. http://www.csgnetwork.com/csgcolorsel4.html