It appears that starting with 11.04 Plymouth starts so late in the boot process. Sometimes I only have a split second to see it before it transitions to the login screen. This is the same for 11.10.
Compared to 10.04 and 10.10, Plymouth starts only a couple seconds or so after Grub and is very visible within the entire boot process.
Is there something that can be done to have Plymouth run earlier? I have experienced this on 3 different machines and on 2 of these machines, I've been running Ubuntu since 10.04. So it's not just my notebook's hardware that is causing this.
*One a side note, the boot process is one of the ugliest parts of modern Linux. Ubuntu is not excluded. After almost a decade, (I forget but was bootsplash the first?) this still has only been partly solved. For a couple of seconds ugly text is still seen when shutting down. On several ocassions, the same ugly text is seen when logging out of a session. It's never as smooth as you want it to be.
Splash themes are great, don't get me wrong. It's just the transitions that are way off and you get glimpses of what's underneath. I'm used to this but for those new to Ubuntu and coming from Windows. It is a turn off.* pardon the rant. :)