In Ubuntu versions from 8.04 to 9.04 as I remember there was a tab called "Animation" when you clicked on "Change desktop background" which allow you to select:
In Ubuntu 11.10 I don't have that control! (Same in ubuntu 10.04 or newest versions.) In my Ubuntu 11.10 my animation is very static! I checked for drivers and I don't have to install any graphical driver.
My PC is a Dell 1558 with an I3 processor running Ubuntu 11.10 and Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit in both and my graphical card is an Intel HD Graphics. I don't know how much Graphical RAM I think between 512 MB to 1 GB, approximately.