Particle Flow provides three operators for applying materials to particles. To give the same appearance to all particles throughout an event, use . If you're using a compound material such as , you can assign different sub-materials to different particles with the . And to assign materials that change in appearance over time, use the .
Related to this is the , which lets you give the same mapping coordinates to the entire surface of each particle in an event, thus using a single pixel from a material to color the particles. By animating the mapping coordinates, you can cause the particles to change color over time. This is particularly effective with a gradient material.
The Mapping Object operator assigns mapping to particles by taking mapping values from one or more reference objects. For every particle, the Mapping Object operator finds the closest point on reference geometry, takes the mapping values and material ID from this point, and then assigns these values to the particle.
The Material Static operator lets you give particles material IDs that remain constant throughout the event. It also lets you assign a material to each particle based on its material ID. The operator can assign the same material ID to all particles, or different IDs to successive particles on a cyclical or random basis. The most common usage of this latter capability is with a Multi/Sub-Object material, for applying a different material to each particle.
The Material Frequency operator lets you assign a material to an event, and specify the relative frequency with which each sub-material appears on the particles. Typically, the material is a Multi/Sub-Object or other compound material, and you specify the frequency by setting a percentage for each of up to 10 different sub-materials (or material ID). Particle Flow assigns IDs to particles in a random sequence, based on these percentages. You can also use other materials that use sub-materials, such as Double Sided and Top/Bottom.
The Material Dynamic operator lets you give particles material IDs that can vary during the event. It also lets you assign a different material to each particle based on its material ID. When used with an , this lets you assign a different frame or map to each particle based on its total age or the amount of time it has spent in the current event. In this context, one example of an animated texture is a material that uses a multi-frame bitmap, such as an AVI file, as the Diffuse . Other examples of animated textures are materials that use the or the . Alternatively, you can use different sub-materials from a compound material such as Multi/Sub-Object.
The Mapping operator lets you assign a constant UVW mapping to the entire surface of the particles. It works in conjunction with a map specified in a material operator in the current event. By animating the mapping coordinates, you can vary the location on the material map from which the particle color is taken, thus changing the particle color in a predictable way over time.