What is a "Project"?

I’ve been using DxO Photolab for about 2 months now… I really like it in many ways, and am getting settled into ways of using it with my older file organization system. The biggest thing I’m not understanding so far is “projects”.

So… Can someone tell me what a “project” is? How is it different from a folder full of photos? What benefit is there to making a “project” vs. just having a folder called “20230117_ZooVisit”?

Thanks in advance.

Hi welcome on this forum.

A project is a “virtual folder”.
You can make a project in two ways.

1 internal by creating a project and select in the dxo library your photo’s who you want in this group.
2 by , atleast with AdobeBridge, select a group of photo’s and send them towards dxopl.

Afterwards you can add or delete images in this project.
(deleting doesn’t delete your image but only the virtual thumbnail inside the project.)

Main use is every time you like to work on images which are seated in different folders you don’t need to copy them towards a new folder in order to have them visible in one place.
And an other advantage is that your edit state of the photo in the original folder isn’t touched when you re-edit inside the project. All images inside the project are Virtual Copy’s.
(a virtual copy is like a frozen moment of your editted masterphoto, from this point you can edit or reset or apply a filter close the program and open after a week and your master isn’t changed.
Best use is trying allkinds of edit’s and choose from x amount of VC’s which is your favorite. Then delete all not needed VC’s and by copy paste all adjustments towards the master you have again one edit.


Project is a tool to collect images from different folders (search result or manual selection) into one set of images. I use this tool to sort photos from different folders before they are processed. I also use this tool to reorganize images from different folders. I give you the link to a tutorial that explains concretely what the project tool is, hoping to have helped you.


Thank you, I never noticed that

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Just checked – the edits in the original folder do change (PL5.7, 6.x),
but as if to me it had been different.

@danielfrimley – see online manual …

what you can do
The project being a virtual folder can contain pics from different sources.
To edit the pics in the project independently copy them into a new ‘real’ folder …

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The major downside to the concept of Projects, Jeff - is that it makes you absolutely dependent on the integrity of the database. If, for whatever reason, your database is lost/corrupted/whatever - then you’ll lose the information that defines the content of your Project (tho, not the images themselves).

John M


For projects, that is. I don 't get why you folks are falling into panic mode when it comes to databases?

As edits are saved in separate dop files, you don’t loose them when the database would go South. On the contrary, if you mess up with dop files (which is easy as they spread like viruses all over the place) then some edits could get lost - yet never all edits which is the cool thing of having them as a sidecart.

Btw., I’m working for years with a database in Capture One. If one is careful and knows what to do, knows how to backup all this super big fear of Godzilla stampeding through your database gets a bit ridiculous. But have it your way and if working like the ancestors makes you feel safer, it’s best to stick with it.

That’s wrong as in it shouldend do that then a project isn’t disconnected and the virtual folder isn’t truely virtual.
Maybe not a bug but it is a wrong effect.
A project is an unique task and shouldn’t effect the image in the original folder.(dop wise) maybe a project should create a VC in that folder called “imagename_projec x”
@sgospodarenko could you investigate this?
Thanks.(edit,it can be sounding wrong in translation, it’s a friendly request not an asignment. :slightly_smiling_face: )

@John-M true, projects only live in the DB.
An other reason to have VC’s with project name as _project xxxx because those VC’s live as i remember correctly in the dopfile’s.

No, @OXiDant you are wrong.

A link to a RAW file is never independent of its source. So, anything you do edit to it, no matter in which project has to affect the DOP of the RAW file. A project is not an isolated, disconnected thing. If you need to make various edits, do it by variants.

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I don’t say it doens’t happen, the effecting of the rawfiles masters developementstate.

I ment if you create a project and add images in there those images should take over the present development state of the image but NOT update that developmentstate , when you edit from that project a image,in the original folder where you selected the image for the project.
Or atleast not without a question update image in original folder yes/no.

I tested project few versions back projects and i assummed it was really a disconnected task.
If i was using projects i would suspect that i don’t need to make FIRST a VC and then select that new made VC for the project.

That’s why i ask, suggest that making a project provokes creating VC’s of the selected rawfiles. So the earlier developed state isn’t effected.
(same as the softproofing popup.)

This is the same for any software on any platform for any purpose that creates ‘virtual’ collections of anything. The perceived weakness or danger is not unique to DPL.

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Please leave it how it is now, it is working perfectly fine and is very consistent with all software on the market.

An image of a project should directly link to the image that I select in the folder. Why would I want to create another virtual copy? If I want that, I can always create a virtual copy before and add that one to the project.

For me, a project is meant to be as a place where I can organize my pictures differently then in folders. Let’s say I would like to print a photo book. I will add pictures from different folders to the project, there is no need to create another virtual copy. Cause if I add the virtual copy in the project, it will also mean there would be another virtual copy created in the folder view. Every picture would appear twice for nothing.

(I’d rather have the option to manually sort pictures in projects! That functionality is really missing!)

Maybe the same as with softproofing?
A popup to remind you to create a vc if you don’t want to change the state of the image?

Why would collecting images into a project should provoke unnecessary variants? You’ve still thinking the way, somehow the images are copied into projects, right?

Wrong. The images will physically stay were you put them. A project collects various images, if you want also of various folders the way that the project is basically a list of links to those images. Meaning whatever you do to an image collected in a project has excactly the same effect as if you’d doing it while the focus of the library is not on the project but on the folder.

No i don’t.

Yes i know.

Exactly this.

And this is thus only a good thing IF those images(raw or oocjpeg) arn’t processed earlier or you want to overwrite/update the development state.

Example: Say i want a imagecollection of rocks, stones, and such so i can create some new collage.
So i search for keyword “stones”
Thus dxo shows all images which are tagged “stones”
Most of them are editted and exported earlier.
So i select the one’s i want and put them in project “stones”
And now the might be a problem starts.
I don’t want the earlier processed images development state changed by my fiddling in the project.
And now we have:
option 1: Just physicly copy paste the selected rawfiles in a new folder.
(this means x amount of copied files with the same name in an other folder. Confusion could be raised which is the original file?)(yes group renaming and add suffix can solve that but not the double amount of storagespace)
Option 2: Select images then hit “create virtual copy” and use those for your project.
(we can’t add a suffix to the VC so we don’t know why we have that VC.(ok iptc could help.)
I would like a option 3
You drag the images thumbnails inside a project
Present development state goes with it.
Yes as in the action “create VC” would provoke.
But these “VC’s” don’t show up in your filmstrip unless you select “show project images”

So no extra big raw files multiple times stored on your hardrive.
No rows of VC’s without any context in the filename. (i stil want a possibility to add a suffix in a vc name.
Image 0001.rw2 => vc would be : image 0001_creative filter fp101.rw2.)

Thus project stones would provoke image 0001_stones.rw2

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I disagree. I use projects to collect images I want to edit as a group. Doesn’t mean I want in explicit virtual copies of those images.

This would be a very unintuitive behavior if the edits didn’t copy over.

Make virtual copies if you want virtual copies!!

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@HumanJHawkins ‘Projects’ are Collections, favourites, individual images from the same or multiple directories with the same or similar edits or the same or similar subject matter or the same or similar “problems” etc.

As has been stated in this topic and elsewhere ‘Projects’ are pointers, nor more and no less.

@OXiDant while I understand the desire to make them more than they are, ‘Projects’ currently do not create VCs but a specific image VC can be added to a ‘Project’ after it (the VC) has been created.

So a ‘Project’ is not a VC and an image can belong to hundreds of ‘Projects’ but (currently) there will only be one DOP containing the edits for the [M]aster and none or one or more VCs, but not one for each of the image or VC entries in one or more projects.

As has been stated the ‘Project’ data is very “light” on resources, both processing and storage but it is only stored in the database, the reference(s) to the multiple instances of an image in multiple ‘Projects’ are not added to the DOP of that image. Hence, there is no recovery available for a ‘Project’, it is “only” as strong as the database in which it resides and the backups of that database, of course.

The database contains a record for each ‘Project’

and a related structure that points to the Table entries of the image(s) in that ‘Project’ but as I have stated there will only be one database Table entry for each [M]aster or VC regardless of how many ‘Projects’ it belongs to. In addition those database entries have an external representation in the DOP, where one DOP will hold the edits and metadata for the [M]aster followed by the edits and metadata for each VC (if any) in turn.


which looks like this to the user

No additional comments can be added to the project, i.e. it has no “metadata” other than what can be captured in a project name!

@BHAYT and @MikeR I understand the present behaviour but didn’t expect the overwriting of the dopfiledata without warning.

Maybe just a popup to remind you it’s does that like softproofing activation does is enough.

If a project should make a VC attached to the master then it’s recoverable because the data is writen inside the dopfile right.

My main point is projects can be used as selective manner to manage editting in big loads of rawfiles out of different folders.
Apperently this is the usecase now.

But i would like have a project form that can be used as secondairy edit state.
Like project black and white.
Which don’t mean i want to override all selected file’s to be black and white in my library.

By creating a question " do you want to create a Virtual Copy_projectname?" Wile making a project we can have both worlds.

In order to make a “Project B&W”, one needs to create virtual copies of the files and add those VCs to a new project. Without VCs, all edits will be applied to the original files.

A project does NOT create virtual copies. It simply presents views of the files one added to the project.

When I use projects, I use them sparingly and mostly within the scope of one editing session and a very limited number of folders from which I collect images.