Using Materials with Particle Array

There are a few different options for applying a material to a particle system.

The material that appears on the particles comes from one of three places:

Particles with various materials assigned to them

You make this choice in the Material Mapping and Source group near the bottom of the Particle Type rollout. Choose Icon to use the material assigned to the particle system, choose Picked Emitter to use the material assigned to the distribution object, or choose Instanced Geometry to use the material assigned to the instanced objects. Note that this third option is available only when Instanced Geometry is the current particle type (selected in the Particle Types group at the top of the Particle Type rollout).

NoteSuperSpray and Blizzard don't have distribution objects. PCloud has a distribution object but you can't get the material from it. In these cases, a radio button lets you use the material from the instanced geometry. Only PArray lets you get the material from the distribution object.
ImportantA particle-system object, like any other object, can carry only a single material at any time. Thus, if you choose either Picked Emitter or Instanced Geometry, an instance of the chosen material is actually copied to the particle system, overwriting the material assigned to the emitter. If you want to restore the emitter material, choose Icon, and then reassign the material from the Material Editor or the Browser.

No matter what choice you make, if the material used is not mapped, then all particles take on the surface properties of the material, regardless of which object is used as the source of the material.