I had another inspiration about this feature too…
What is described so far is like a one to many type relationship. You change one frame and it is reflected across the many (mirrored). But what about adding to that a many to many type relationship where you can select a sub group (multiple frames) from among the total number and the changes you make to that set of frames is reflected across the other sets. For example…
Suppose you have 1,224 screens (each one a frame). That can also break down to 17 sets of 72 screens. Now suppose there is some element across each set of 72 screens that repeats from set to set. Maybe you have an objects displaying a number from 0 through 23 and you place one on every 3rd frame of the set (0, 1, 2, … 23). 23 will land on the 70th frame and then there will be 2 frames with no number at the end. It’s a volume control.
So that is one set of 72 out of 1,224 frames. The remaining 16 sets of 72 frames need to repeat this pattern (displaying the objects showing the numbers in the same manner across each set).
Wouldn’t it be great if you (using a many to many mirroring concept) could select groups of frames (17 groups of 72 to be exact), make all changes across the one group of 72, and have that reflected across the remaining 16 groups of 72 (repeating the patter across all groups of frames).
Those are just numbers I chose from a project I’m working on and were used to create some kind of example to convey the idea. ( You get the picture ).
I think something like that would be really powerful and save lots of people lots of time and effort. It’s a pretty common situation to make a bunch of duplicated frames, thinking you have done everything you need to to the first one before duplicating, and then realize you missed something or get a new idea that you want to implement - but its too late and you have all those frames to make the change to. In that circumstance you would have to delete all the additional frames (leaving just one), make your changes to the one, the duplicate again up to the original amount. What if your situation is such that there is some small difference (maybe to one object in each frame) that carries across all those frames. Then you would not only have to be re duplicating all those frames but going through each one and making the tweak to each one as well. This kind of situation puts you in the kind of conundrum that a feature like this would be perfect for!
In a way this feature is like peeling back the hood of components and variants and allowing you to kind of manually manipulate across whole groups of objects. Yes components and variants already do this but it requires you to get it right from the beginning and not get into a situation like this - and that just doesn’t happen…
People get into a situation like this all that time and this is a feature that would powerfully solve that circumstance.
Actually you could go even further from there and have an ability to create a single component from many objects (not multiple components from multiple objects like we already have but one component from many objects). This could be the culmination to the bulk changes that were made using all the aforementioned about this feature. Once you were happy with all you changes made to one set you could incorporate the set into a component, Figma would recognize that it is just one set in a situation with a repeating pattern (the other 16 sets that repeat that pattern in them) and would prompt you to make variants from the sets (variant for each of the 17 sets). To clarify, I’m not talking about a component containing 72 frames (in this example) but components / variants derived from the 72 frames because Figma recognizes a repeating pattern across the 17 sets.
You could even incorporate this into already existing components (something like an “explode component” or “explode variant” feature? There’s even an application of this explode variant part of the feature that could allow you to apply each of every variant in a variant set to an entire group of objects. At that point it would be past manually manipulating whole groups of objects in one fatal swoop, past saving multiple objects into a single component, past saving sets of objects into variants, and finally being able to toggle back and forth between this feature being described hare and the existing components and variants feature we have now (being able to enter into both modes back and forth as desired).
PS: A couple of those plugins you mentioned are great (since we don’t have a feature like this right now).