So I've done some work on my awn-cairo-effects branch in the last few days.
This initial work more or less involves replacing all the pixbuf related code in awn-effects with pure cairo code - a task that is progressing. I've decided to take a somewhat iterative approach to this work. Instead trying to completely replace the whole awn-effects engine I'm trying to replace bits and pieces.... I guess we'll see how that turns out.
At the moment there's no real point in trying my branch unless you modify an applet to specifically access the code in question. However, I expect within a few days the old awn_draw_icons() will become a thin wrapper to awn_draw_icons_cairo() in which case it'll be time for testing... whether all current effects will be implement at that time is up in the air ( saturate being real PITA I'm thinking).