Both streamers and viewers on Twitch would be familiar with overlays. Trust us, you’ve definitely seen one, even if you didn’t know what it was called at the time. Ever notice all the streamers have custom screens as they stream their content? The screens may be customized differently for different streamers, but they all serve the same purpose: make the viewing experience more visually appealing while giving important information alongside. This is what we call Twitch overlays!

A sample Twitch Overlay screen. The streamer’s face or content is displayed on the top-right window, while the entire screen will also have other content that can be customized according to the streamer’s wishes!

Twitch Overlays are graphic design and animation templates that are applied onto a stream while it is broadcasted live. They constantly present relevant information such as the streamer’s bio and donation options to the viewers as they watch the stream, in a seemingly pleasing manner instead of garishly shoving the commercial aspects of streaming into the viewers’ faces.

Overlays often achieve this by being designed according to the theme and color scheme of the entire channel of the Twitch streamer to maintain aesthetic consistency. They can potentially be an asset to the streamer’s brand by making the stream presentations more aesthetically attractive while also communicating relevant information to the viewers simultaneously. Overlays may be graphics (.jpg/.png format) or animations (.gif format).

HOW DO I ADD OVERLAYS TO MY STREAM?

Overlays and Alerts for Twitch, YouTube and Facebook Live Streaming |  StreamElements

It is important to note that overlays are not added directly to the stream, but to the streaming software that is used by the creators to stream videos on Twitch. Some popular streaming softwares used by creators include OBS Studio, Streamlabs OBS, and Streamelements OBS. Overlays can be added to these softwares, which in turn apply them to the content while it is being broadcasted.

ADDING OVERLAYS TO OBS STUDIO:

NOTE: For purposes of this tutorial, we assume that you have already configured OBS Studio with your Twitch account and are able to stream on Twitch. If this is not the case, refer to our article on setting up a live stream on Twitch first. Overlays cannot be added unless streaming software has already been configured with your Twitch account first.

  1. Adding Overlays is a step-by-step process that involves adding the overlay image, then adding the game to be streamed, the webcam (if you stream with your face visible in a corner of your screen), information such as donation options and other alerts, etc.
  2. To add the Overlay image, select the ‘Scenes’ option in OBS Studio and click on the ‘+’ button to add a new scene. Name the new scene and click ‘OK’. Each scene will refer to a single Overlay template. If you use multiple overlays while streaming, you can toggle between different templates via keyboard shortcuts/mouse clicks.
  3. Once the scene is set up, sources for the elements to be added onto the scene (overlay, information tabs, etc.) need to be added. To add a source for the Overlay template, click the ‘+’ option in the ‘Sources’ box and click on ‘Image’. Select the Overlay image you want to use by choosing its file from your computer.
  4. To add the game that is to be streamed, create another source element and select ‘Game Capture’ from the same list you selected ‘Images’ from previously. Make sure that the game you want to stream s already running, and then go to ‘Mode’ and choose ‘Capture Specific Window’. Now, you can capture the window in which the game is running, to stream it!

Few more steps

  1. If you use a webcam to stream your face in addition to streaming the game, go to ‘Sources’ again, and create a new source by selecting ‘Video Capture Device’ Select your webcam when asked to choose a ‘Device’, and adjust the settings (size of the cam video in the stream, video clarity, etc.) till you are satisfied that the webcam streaming is appropriate.
  2. To add information such as your bio, or donation links, choose the ‘BrowseSource’ option from the ‘Sources’ tab and give the required name (such as About Me/Support my Channel). This information will be applied to the appropriate area in the Overlay template.
  3. The streaming screen can be customized and the placement of images, information tabs, and the face during the stream can be adjusted according to the streamer’s liking.

There are other options to further customize your screen in your quest to achieve perfect stream presentation, and it’s a lot of fun to play with OBS and experiment with possible screen options. We highly recommend that you give Twitch Overlays a try and add a new dimension to your streaming!

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