Originally Posted by johnnyblotter
Is it a matter of having the background behind the balloon be pixel-dead on perfect with the gradient to maintain the illusion I'm going for
That's the way I'd do it, maybe a tad finicky, but certainly doable.
You shouldn't really run into any problems with the background - as it's static anyway (as opposed to fixed).
But you can avoid all that, by going for the method quoted above.