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I saw a conversation on BlenderArtist.org where someone posted a node setup that supposedly would change the color of particles over time based on the Particle Info node's Index value. This is the graphic they posted:

enter image description here

However, when I tried to duplicate this effect, the particles don't change color over time.

Here is my blend file.

Here is the original conversation

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Related: blender.stackexchange.com/a/1910/599 –  gandalf3 Mar 27 at 6:26

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Two Techniques to Have Particles Change Color Over Time

I discovered two ways to have particles change color over time, but they both start the same way:

  1. First, create an object to be the particles for the particle system. I used a sphere in the videos below.
  2. Create an object (I used a plane) and add a particle system to it with these settings:

    • In the Emission section for the videos below, I have:
      Number = 1000
      Start = 1
      End = 200
      Lifetime = 200

    • In the Velocity section, set Normal to a desired value. I used 7.0 in the videos below.

    • In the Render section, select Object and then for Dupli Object select the object you made for the particles in step 1.
  3. Now add a material to the particle object. Here is where I discovered two different node tree configurations to create two different effects:

Effect #1: Each particle is a different color & stays that color over it's entire lifetime

enter image description here

For this technique the node tree for the particle object's material is made like this:

enter image description here

NOTE: For this effects, the Divide node's Value must be set to the number of particles in the particle system (here, it's 1000)

This technique was developed by kubo on BlenderArtists.org.

Effect #2: All particles change color over the course of their lifetime

enter image description here

This is the node tree for this technique:

enter image description here

NOTE: For this effects, the Divide node's Value is set to a low number (here, it's 50), not to the number of particles

This technique was developed by Vader and Greg Zaal here on StackExchange.

Previewing the Effect

If you want to see the colors changing in the 3D Viewport, the display mode must be set to Rendered

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To avoid having all your color ramp segments all squished together like that, don't divide by such a big number - not entirely sure, but I don't think the age is related to the number of particles. –  Greg Zaal Mar 26 at 6:12
    
Thanks Greg, you're right...that helps a lot! –  Thom Blair III Mar 26 at 12:15
    
Greg, I edited my answer to reflect your point. Should we delete our comments now since they would no longer make sense to future readers? –  Thom Blair III Mar 26 at 12:50
    
Sure, but one question - what is the lifetime of your particles set to? –  Greg Zaal Mar 26 at 15:44
    
Greg, it's set to 200. (I updated my answer to have that too) –  Thom Blair III Mar 26 at 16:10

I am assuming you mean change color over lifetime.

The problem with your node setup is simple to fix. Simply use the Age output instead of the Index output.

enter image description here enter image description here

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This method you describe here makes each particle change color over time, which is indeed a neat trick to know. However, if the Index value is used, it causes each particle to remain the same color throughout it's lifetime, but each particle is a slightly different color from the last one. –  Thom Blair III Mar 25 at 23:52

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