Thanks, I've found it now, though there is no layer shader there, just the xpShaderFalloff.
The problem is not a bug, it's a serious limitation in the Cinema SDK. For any animated shader to work, they must be given the current scene time. For almost everything else in Cinema, you have access to the scene and therefore the current time. With the exception of (you guessed it) falloffs. With a falloff there is simply no way to get the scene time, it just can't be done. I remember spending hours on this when writing the falloff before concluding it was not possible. So animated shaders are out, I'm afraid.
Re the other problem - PV render vs. the viewport render - my guess is that you mean the viewport appearance is different to the PV render, is that right? Because if you do an actual viewport render, it looks the same as the PV render. This is because in the skinner you have two settings, Polygon Size and Render Polygon Size. The first is used in the viewport, the second at render time. This lets you work with a low-poly mesh in the editor and a high-poly version in the final render, but as you found, if the render size is significantly smaller than the viewport size, the mesh can look very different. Make them the same, and the viewport mesh will look like the one in the PV render.