Even though the lack of native Qt Creator support of a Color Picker might make me discard this workflow altogether and build my UI directly with Python, in order to keep up with my schedule (and since UI and functionality are independent in my code), I decided to use the UI created in Qt to implement the first pass of the functionality. This consists of being able to swap meshes and control blend shapes through the slider in the interface. A demonstration of the current state can be seen in the next video.
Since the current state of the UI lacks the Color Picker to accomplish one of my tasks for this week, I decided to instead address the issue of automating the inclusion of the transparency information as an alpha channel instead of as a separate texture caused by Maya's 'Convert to File Texture' command. The options I had available were:
Since the first two options involved having the end user install additional software and possibly do some troubleshooting to make them work correctly with Python (I had trouble myself with win32com), I opted for the third one.