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In Blender Internal, there's an option in the Particle System Texture panel to let the texture affect the Size of the particle. But nothing for the Rotation. A gradient texture can be used this way to control the size of a particle as it is spawned, lives and when it dies. Having a particle rotate when it is spawned but stop rotating after awhile, or slow down and speed up the rotation speed (of each individual particle, not the whole system) doesn't seem to be possible because of the above reason.

Is there any other way to do this?

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You can use the Animation Nodes plugin to create your own particle system instances and use a node setup to control their rotation.

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control_particle_rotation.blend is a simple example which sets particle rotation to their age. You can create more complex rotation control with more nodes. You can find an AN download on github. You can find discussion and AN examples in the blender artists AN thread.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've accepted this as an answer but as a reference to any (Blender) developer or anyone curious, I am just going to learn how to do what I need in After Effects. The above plugin, while powerful, has some drawbacks: 1) the documentation/thread is cluttered, 2) it is confusing/complex for such a simple task, 3) it is an unofficial plugin, and unofficial plugins have their drawbacks (arguably slower maintenance, risk of being abandoned by devs, aruably less responsive support) so I believe this really should be supported natively. Otherwise I might as well spend the same time and learn it in AE. $\endgroup$ – Leo Ervin Jun 6 '16 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ Understood. I recommend you at least experiment with AN, as it's very powerful not only for motion graphics, but also for generative modeling. Hopefully it'll eventually be a core part of Blender. $\endgroup$ – David Jeske Jun 6 '16 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ The file is no longer available for download... Could you please give us a short how-to in your answer or re-upload the file? $\endgroup$ – prubini87 Jan 4 '18 at 21:17

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