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Ok, I am trying to achieve animated, particle like leaves (low poly not realistic) like this - https://youtu.be/cKS3VM1a3TU?t=4m8s

Obviously my idea was to make a group with some leaves and make a particle system to randomly distribute the leaves, then Apply to make them objects so I can tweak/rearrange, and eventually animate.

Problem is (in cycles, version 2.79) hitting Apply ends with indefinite loading as WAY too many objects. This later needs to be brought into Unity, so thats an issue as well. In Blender the only thing that worked a little bit was just adding group instances, but that isn't a feasible solution for animating or for unity:

enter image description here

Whats the most efficient/correct way to do this? How can I make a game-ready/Unity ready "cloud of leaves" like in the short?

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