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(2.79 & 2.8)

When using Dupli Object option in a hair particle system, the Vertex Groups -> Length influences the object's size correctly. enter image description here

When I use the same particle system by Particle Instance Modifier, the Vertex Groups -> Length is ignored (only Density parameter works). enter image description here

Is this a desired behavior or a bug? But most importantly, does anyone know how to get Particle Instance Modifier working with Length parameter?

I need this to vertex paint the size of my vegetation (populated by a particle system) where I avoid using Dupli-Objects because of many reasons (poor performance, converting to a single mesh issues, need of pre-rotating the models etc.).

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This is an intended behavior. The length property only influences the particles from the particle instance modifier if you use the Create Along Paths option, but that doesn't scale them like you want.

They key here is to use the Size parameter. The issue with this is that it only exists for emitter type particles, and not hair. So you cannot control the size of particles if you are using the hair option (as far as I am aware).

Switching to emitter will allow you to control the size of each particle. This is not done with vertex groups, but with textures. Why that is I'm not sure. If you scroll down to the bottom of the particle settings there is a texture panel, where you can create a new texture. Go to the texture tab and create a texture that will define the size. Blend works well for the gradient on your example. There may be ways to convert vertex group values to textures, but I'm not sure about that.

Once you've got the texture created, under the Influence heading in the texture panel there is a Size option. Check that and you should be good to go.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a great answer - thank you! I will test that texture method and if this works, I will accept your solution. Can I ask you - are you a Blender developer? If so, do you think you could suggest implementing this "Size by a vertex group" feature to Particle Instance Modifier directly? The Create along path almost do this, so maybe it shouldn't be difficult to add this support? I am going to spend around a year on a work that would benefit from this heavily... would life-saver for me. $\endgroup$ – Jan Kadeřábek Feb 23 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ Not a developer, sorry. It does seem like it would be an easy enough feature to add though. $\endgroup$ – Brenticus Feb 24 at 3:46
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, I will try to create a feature request somewhere... :) $\endgroup$ – Jan Kadeřábek Feb 24 at 17:34

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