Glad you liked the movie and the effect. I have to admit, it's quite amazing.
I found the effect in (get this!) the help section of iMaginator. Personally, I find Help to be one of the great secrets of using my Macs. I read through the entire help section, and when I saw that effect, I read the instructions and played around with it for a while until I got it.
Look up Shaded Material in iMaginator's help, and you'll find it there.
The other thing that I did was Control-Click on the iMaginator icon in my applications folder, and opened up the package. It was there that I found a folder of images that included the sphere (and other images and effects) that is used in the effect.
So to answer your other question, I would suggest the Help in iMaginator as a resource to learn what CoreImage does. I learned quite a bit as I read it through, and I'm still learning as I read and re-read help sections.
I can honestly say that one of my big secrets to being a computer user is to read the Help screens. I never know what I might find there
Thanks again for the kind words. Good luck with iMaginator!!